It looks like many Dallas Cowboy fans (myself excluded) finally got their wish: Tashard Choice was waived today. I am in the minority, but I always thought that Choice deserved more chances. Everyone seems to forget how incredibly well he filled in at the end of the season 2 years ago when both Jones and Barber were injured. Choice was let go to make room for this year’s second round draft pick LB Bruce Carter.
Carter set school records (maybe college records?) for blocking kicks; he is widely regarded as a special teams demon. He also has tremendous speed. He was a finalist for the 2010 Butkus Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top college LB, but he lost to Von Miller. He finished his final season as a Tar Heel with 57 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. Carter was again voted to Second-Team All-ACC. Click here to read about why I thought Bruce Carter could help this defense.
Carter was projected to be a top-20 pick this year until he injured his knee, which required surgery. As a result of surgery, he has been on the PUP (physically unable to perform) and/or NFI (non-football injury list) since being drafted. Carter will be activated this week. It will be interesting to see whether he plays exclusively on special teams, or whether Rob Ryan has already created a package or two for him to play on defense.
Many fans will undoubtedly, and justifiably, be questioning why Choice was waived when David Buehler is still on the roster. Given that Felix Jones is still injured, the Cowboys will only have two rookie RB’s active for the game against the Eagles. All of the rushing duties will fall on DeMarco Murray (3rd round draft pick and current record holder for most yards in a single game by a Cowboy) and Phillip Tanner (undrafted rookie who did an impressive impression of a helmet-less Jason Witten in the pre-season.)
Many fans have been demanding that Phillip Tanner get more carries; I think it is safe to say you will get your wish. Tanner looked pretty good in his 6 or 7 carries last week.
My biggest concern about this roster move is: which rookie can be trusted to pick up blitzers to ensure that Romo isn’t injured again? I assume that it will be DeMarco, but the idea of a rookie RB being responsible to make reads and identify the appropriate man to block doesn’t leave me with a peaceful calmness. As I wrote this week, being an effective RB in Garrett’s system is about much more than carrying the ball (click here to read that). It is obvious that Garrett trusts DeMarco and Tanner to get the job done; hopefully they make his decision look wise.