Lance Dunbar had his two most explosive plays of the year against the Giants, giving the Cowboys a burst of juice to mix in with DeMarco Murray. It is close to what the Cowboys envisioned for him coming out of training camp, before an early-season injury derailed him.
“We really wanted to get that rhythm going where we could spell DeMarco and feature their strengths and do what they do best,” offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said. “They both run the ball well. They both catch it well. Just having the changeup, I think is a real positive.”
Callahan has experience with a change-of-pace back from his days in Philadelphia.
“We had Ricky Watters and Charlie Garner at one time,” he said. “It was a pretty good combination; pretty good 1-2 punch. I think that helps your running game. It keeps the defense off-balance. They don’t get in the rhythm of the back and his eyes and his reads. So having that changeup, I think, is a real positive.”
Dunbar said he was encouraged by the way he was used.
“Of course. I want to be a part of this offense,” he said. “I’m going to try my best to gain their trust, continue to make plays – just help this offense move the ball and score, which is the ultimate goal.”
But Dunbar said he has to be careful not to play outside of himself. He remembers the preseason fumble and injury he suffered in Arizona.
“I’m letting the game come to me,” he said. “I’m not trying to go out there and break the game open every time I get the ball. That’s when bad things happen. I learned my lesson. I’m just going to go out there, protect the ball, try to get yards, not try to do too much.”
Still, the second-year back remains confident in himself and won’t think of himself as only a change-of-pace back.
“I think I’m just a good football player,” he said. “I feel like whatever they need me to do, I can go in and do it. If that’s coming in and changing the pace or starting the game, I have the confidence in myself to go out there and do what they need me to do.”
-- Carlos Mendez