|With the Cowboys' top two running backs battling injuries, Phillip Tanner is likely to carry a heavy load Sunday against the New York Giants." (US Presswire)|
The Cowboys' top two running backs -- DeMarco Murray (sprained foot) and Felix Jones (bruised knee) -- both missed practice Wednesday. That means Phillip Tanner will likely get a heavy dose of the action this week against the Giants, and rookie tailback Lance Dunbar will also get some reps.
Jones hasn't been ruled out for the game and is a likely game-time decision. Murray isn't expected to play, but Jerry Jones said Wednesday he sees Murray returning in the “foreseeable future” and didn't call it a long-term injury.
Murray had his best game of the season against the Giants in Week 1 when he rushed for 131 yards in the Cowboys' 24-17 upset win. The next three games, Murray rushed for only 108 yards, but it seemed like he found his groove in Baltimore on Oct. 14. Murray had 90 yards at the half but suffered the injury and couldn't play more than one snap in the second half.
Felix Jones started last week in Carolina, but after he was hobbled in the second half, Tanner took all of the carries at the end of the game with the Cowboys playing conservative and settling for field goals in the 19-14 win over the Panthers.
“We like all of our backs and we will get them ready,” coach Jason Garrett said. “You never know when your number will be called. We have to make sure guys like Tanner and Dunbar are ready. We know they will be.”
Lee will be missed: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said linebacker Sean Lee is the quarterback of the defense, so going on IR because of scheduled toe surgery is a huge loss to the team in a variety of ways.
“It's not only a setback (to not have him on the field) after the ball is snapped, but before the ball is snapped,” Jones said. “He's a leader on the field, and he gets these guys organized. We're going to miss him extremely. But the nature of the NFL is to have guys step up.”
Moorman excited but feels for Jones: Punter Brian Moorman spent 10 years in Buffalo and said he was punting better than ever when the Bills decided to cut him three games into the regular season last month. So he understands the business side of things. That's why he said Wednesday he feels for Chris Jones, who was placed on IR with a sprained knee. The Cowboys will go with Moorman for the rest of the year.
“I never really viewed it much as a competition coming in,” Moorman said. “I came in to spell him and get him healthy. I knew my place. I told him right from the start, 'I'm not here to replace you; (I'm) here to help you as much as I can.' I think Chris is a great punter and will have a great future in this league.”