Breaking down DeMarco Murray's fumbles

Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray was not a fumbler in his first three seasons. In the first three games of the 2014 season, he has three fumbles. 

To stretch it back to Week 17 of the 2013 season, Murray has fumbled in four straight regular-season games. 

"I think you have to evaluate the individual plays," coach Jason Garrett said when asked if there was a common trait in the miscues. 

Here goes: 

Week 17, 2013 vs. Philadelphia 
Situation: First and 10, Philadelphia 28 (first series of the game) 
The play: Murray takes a Kyle Orton handoff to the right side of the Cowboys’ line as he breaks through the line, the ball is held low in his right hand by his hip. Philadelphia linebacker Mychal Kendricks hits Murray low and the ball pops free to cornerback Bradley Fletcher for the turnover. 

Week 1, 2014 vs. San Francisco 
Situation: First and 10, Dallas 33 (first series of the game) 
The play: On a stretch play to the left, Murray is gang tackled but as he is going to the ground the ball is away from his body. Niners linebacker Dan Skuta rips Murray’s left hand off the ball to create the fumble. Chris Culliver returns the fumble for a touchdown. 

Week 2, 2014 at Tennessee 
Situation: First and 10, Dallas 43 (second series of the game) 
The play: Murray runs to the right side of the Dallas line and cuts to his right after getting through the line. As he is about to get tackled, wide receiver Devin Street is pushed back into Murray and his elbow pokes the ball away from Murray, who did not have the ball secured to his chest. 

Week 3, 2014 at St. Louis 
Situation: Third and 4, St. Louis 45 (first series of the game) 
The play: Tony Romo checks a pass to Murray, who picks up 9 yards for a first down. As he makes a move, cornerback Janoris Jenkins trips Murray and his right arm separates from his body. Linebacker Alec Ogletree hits and strips Murray from behind to knock the ball free. 

"High and tight" is a common refrain for coaches at all levels. Who can ever forget former tight ends coach John Garrett reminding Martellus Bennett of it every day on "Hard Knocks"? Murray hasn't had the ball high and tight on his turnovers. 

Garrett said the Cowboys do ball security drills, watch film and have other ways of preaching the importance of holding the ball. For the bulk of Murray's career, he has not been a fumbler, but with three in the first three games this season teams will know they can rip the ball free from him and will make even more attempts to do so going forward. 

“There’s no question that people in this league understand guys that have had trouble with ball security, and they go after it," Garrett said. “But I think players in this league -- defensive linemen, linebackers, DBs, guys on special teams -- I think they're masters at going to get the football. I think everybody has a responsibility to understand that they're a target and certainly a guy like DeMarco Murray, who’s carried the ball as many times as he has in his career, understands that. He has to do a better job. We'll continue to do everything we can as coaches to make sure he secures the football better."
Breaking down DeMarco Murray's fumbles Breaking down DeMarco Murray's fumbles Reviewed by Mr. DCStands4 on 12:42:00 PM Rating: 5

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