While the players and owners dilly-dally over how to best split 4 billion dollars, life goes on for die-hard Cowboys fans like us.
The well has been pretty dry as you all know with hardly any football activity to talk about, but some are making an effort to pump out some good content that has nothing to do with a persons pants hanging so low that they were giving free previews of their Joe Boxers (or was it Hanes?).
Nick Eatman and Rob Phillips at Dallas Cowboys.com are doing a nice feature to pass the time and take a look at some key players that are at a crossroads in their Cowboys career. Tashard Choice is one such player.
Key stat: While Choice still received limited touches last season, his averaged dipped down to 3.7 yards per carry, with 66 attempts. In his first two years, Choice had 5.1- and 5.5-yard averages, respectively. But with more of a presence in short-yardage and the goal line, Choice saw his average decrease by nearly two full yards. His longest carry was also just 26 yards this past season.
2010 Impact: There were six games last year in which Choice didn’t receive a single carry, and four more when he had two or less. So clearly, Choice wasn’t a big factor in the running game last season, especially in the first part of the schedule. Toward the end, when Marion Barber got banged up some, Choice had an increased role. He had one of the team’s two 100-yard rushing games when he went for a career-high 100 against the Colts. Choice also had three touchdowns in a four-game span.
Where He Fits: That question will depend on what the Cowboys do in the offseason, particularly with Barber, whose future with the team is in question because of his high salary and lack of production. If the Cowboys decide to part ways with Barber, then Choice would likely slide into his role and split some time with Felix Jones. That would be a huge opportunity for Choice, considering Jones has been injury-prone during his three seasons.
Nick Eatman: Everyone always wants to see what the backup can do. And right now, it’s Tashard Choice’s turn for that. He’s shown enough in limited opportunities that fans and media are excited about his potential. Clearly, the coaching staff has their opinions of Choice and there was a reason he remained as the No. 3 back. Then again, if Barber is released, it would probably be because the Cowboys feel like Choice can step in nicely. I still think Choice is the third-best back on this team, but like everyone else, I’d be interested to see what he would do in an increased role.
Rob Phillips: Big year for Choice, a free agent after 2011 who has been in a frustrating position for three years. He probably could start on a lot of NFL teams, but the Cowboys clearly haven’t ranked him ahead of Felix Jones or Marion Barber because he has only 222 carries in three seasons. In 2010, he didn’t have the same impact in limited duty as he did in 2008 and 2009, and the Cowboys want him to be more consistent on special teams for as long as that’s his role. But he does have good vision and deceptive speed, and I think he’s good enough between the tackles to complement Jones well. Whether he’ll get that chance, depending on Barber’s much-speculated future, remains to be seen.
As most of you know, I’ve been a huge Tashard Choice supporter since the day we drafted him and I called him the sleeper of the draft.
It’s about time we pass the torch and give Choice the chance he deserves to show what he can do in a featured role. As long as we’re changing things around here, let’s not stop now.