Are Cowboys fans finally getting what they want?
By Brian Martin
Part of being a Dallas Cowboys fan, or any sports fan for that matter, is the right to play general manager, coach, or even scout.
We as fans like to discuss and speculate what we would do if we were in the driver seat, especially when it comes to making team decisions.
One topic discussed on a regular basis is the running back situation for the organization.
Nearly one month ago America’s Team acquired former Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael, who was selected in the second round in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Seahawks. Since the acquisition, fans have been wondering when Michael might get his chance to contribute and be a part of the running game.
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Michael’s chance might just come to fruition against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday when he could possibly be activated for the first time since joining the Cowboys organization.
It’s been reported that Michael has received some opportunities to work with the first-team offense this week in practice leading up to the showdown with the Saints.
So, what exactly does this suggest for the running back situation for the Cowboys?
This could possibly mean that head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan are either unhappy with the current running back by committee approach or it could mean that they’re looking for Michael to add a different dimension to the running game that currently isn’t there.
The running game thus far this season has been somewhat inconsistent and although each running back has their own different skill set to add to the offense no one has really been able to prove to the coaching staff that everything should stay status quo.
Both Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden have shown flashes of their talent the first three weeks of the season that would suggest that everything is fine with the running game. But on the other hand, neither one of them has been able to pick up the “dirty” yards in short yardage situations. It’s simply not one of the attributes that either one of them possess.
If there is a bright spot for the running backs it would have to be Lance Dunbar‘s contribution on offense and what the coaches are asking him to do. Dunbar has been sensational out of the backfield as a receiver and has been giving opposing defenses trouble since week one.
The downside to Dunbar’s game is that his skill set as a running back also is not suited to grinding out those tough yards when needed, much like Randle and McFadden. Even though he may be limited to the third-down role, he has by far the most consistent of the running backs on the active roster so far this season.
This is where Michael can come in and contribute immediately to the offense. Michael has the running style of a north-south runner and starting this week against the Saints he could come in and contribute as the short yardage/goal line running back.
At 5’10” tall and weighing 221 pounds, Michael is a strong and compact running back that offers a physical running style much like last year’s leading rusher for the Cowboys, DeMarco Murray
This week offense of coordinator Scott Linehan was asked to compare Michael to the other running backs on the roster.
"“They all have their own strengths. His is size (is different),” Linehan said of Michael. “Very explosive back. I think he might be a guy can be utilized when we’re going against some of those big-boy hard-boxes. His running style and his run training can help him move along in our offense.”"
Now I’m not suggesting that Michael comes in and is able to boost the playing level of the running game, but he could come in and help in the short yardage situations.
I for one am one of those fans that is excited to see what Michael can do behind the Cowboys talented offensive line, especially after the way the running game seemed to disappear in the second half last week against the Atlanta Falcons.
I admit that I was both ecstatic and surprised that the Cowboys were able to trade for such a talented young running back and can’t wait to see him in a game situation.
Whether or not Michael indeed makes his debut this week against the Saints doesn’t really matter, but the fact that he is starting to receive practice reps with the first-team offense suggests that his time is coming in the near future.
So, all of you fans that are chomping at the bit to see Michael in uniform on game day, you can all breathe a sigh of relief that his time is coming soon.
I actually didn’t think we would see him until after the bye week, but the injury situation to so many key contributors might have pushed up that timetable.
For some reason or the other I keep thinking of the well-known phrase “Be careful what you wish for”. I just hope that feeling passes and we are not let down.
Only time will tell if Michael can be the running back that we all hope that he can be and that his talent will finally be unleashed in the NFL.
What do you think? Can Michael come in and immediately contribute to the running game?
Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.