Cowboys running back Lance Dunbar (knee) was placed on injured reserve Saturday, ESPN's Todd Archer reports. This comes as no surprise as Dunbar had surgery earlier in the week to repair a torn ACL and he also has a partially torn MCL. The Cowboys signed wide receiver Vince Mayle to take Dunbar's spot on the roster.
Cowboys running back Lance Dunbar is slated to undergo surgery to repair his torn left ACL, ESPN.com reports. Per the report, Dunbar -- who is a candidate for IR -- also suffered a partially torn MCL during Sunday's game against the Saints. Now that he is no longer in the Cowboys' backfield mix, Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Christine Michael are left to handle the team's running back duties going forward.
Lance Dunbar led the Cowboys with 10 catches on 10 targets for 100 yards in Sunday's loss to the Falcons. He also carried the ball once for 5 yards. Brandon Weeden made almost no effort to look downfield, confining himself to short routes and check-downs with Dunbar emerging as his favorite option. Expect the undersized back to remain a big part of the passing game as long as Weeden is under center.
The Cowboys finished with 22 carries in Sunday's season opener against the Giants. The trio of DeMarco Murray, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar averaged 29.5 carries per game last season. Murray is now with the Eagles, but Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Monday the team would like to see more carries per game from Randle, Darren McFadden and Dunbar moving forward. "Our goal is still to get up there running the ball 25-30 times a game," Jones said, per The Dallas Morning News. "I think we ended up rushing about 22 times, so we'd like four or five more rushes on there, but this group is very productive." Randle led the charge Week 1 with 16 carries for 65 yards, while McFadden added six carries for 16 yards. "Joseph played well," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He had some good runs, some tough dirty runs where things weren't really clean, but he made a dirty, 3-4-5 yard run. When he had a little more space he made some plays."
The Cowboys played their first regular-season game Sunday against the Giants in the post-Demarco Murray era. While the run game had their moments, Dallas netted just 80 rushing yards and 3.5 yards per carry in the 27-26 win. After much speculation, Joseph Randle started at running back for Dallas. He had only 39 rushing yards on nine attempts and one catch for 6 yards by halftime, but he was a key factor in the second half. Randle would finish with 65 rushing yards on 16 attemps and three catches for 42 yards. Darren McFadden didn't get a lot of opportunities. He rushed for 16 yards on six carries and had one catch for 19 yards. Lance Dunbar, however, was a major factor in the passing game. He led Dallas with 70 receiving yards on eight catches. All in all, Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan seemed pleased with how the running backs played. "I thought when we ran the ball it was efficient," Linehan said, per NFL.com. "We'd like to pop a few long runs, but I didn't think that our running game was a concern at all. There were some things that were there. It was just a weird game." The Cowboys lowest rushing total in 2014 was 92 yards on 25 carries. "We got the dirty yards we needed to win the game," Randle said of Sunday's performance.
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