Yesterday on the Hardliners, Todd Archer said he wouldn’t be surprised if Tashard Choice ended up being cut from this football team. Not that Archer is expecting it, but he thinks it’s within the realm of possibility. Archer is a man in the know, so I doubt he was making those comments off the cuff.
Tashard is a decent running back, but he’s not special. He has nice vision, can break some tackles, and is serviceable in pass protection. However, he’s an awful special teams player, providing the Cowboys with absolutely nothing in that department. If he were their featured back, that wouldn’t be a problem. But, Choice is a role player and the fact that he can’t do anything besides be a second string tailback causes a bit of a vacuum on the Cowboys’ roster.
Right now, Choice is on the sidelines with a calf strain and DeMarco Murray is out with a hamstring issue. In step Lonyae Miller. If Miller’s name sounds vaguely familiar that’s because he played in five games last year, all on special teams. You may also remember when he recovered a Bryan McCann fumble against the Colts. So far in training camp, Miller has made quite an impression. He’s a big, powerful running back with respectable speed and he runs hard.
Miller is an intriguing player. The Cowboys signed him in 2010 as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State. He saw very little playing time at Fresno as he was behind Ryan Matthews. But, the Cowboys might have found a diamond in the rough. He battled his way onto the practice squad last year and eventually ended up on the active roster, making plays on special teams. To keep him around like that, the Cowboys must have seen something in Miller.
At over 230 lbs, Lonyae is obviously a big back, and, with Marion Barber now departed, he might be a good fit in short yardage. Not to mention, his size and relatively little wear and tear make for a guy that might be able to shoulder some of the load this year. Again, I’m not advocating that the ‘Boys cut Choice, just saying that if they think Miller can be an effective NFL runner, it’s a definite possibility. Every day that Choice misses, Miller takes another step closer to supplanting him on the roster.
Personally, I love that Choice isn’t guaranteed a spot on this team. Under Wade, Choice didn’t have to worry about something like this happening. But, there is a new message being sent. Players are expendable and no one is entitled to anything. Hungry players make for hungry football teams and Miller might have enough hunger to find a role. If not, he’s at the very least providing some serious motivation for Tashard.