IRVING, Texas -- Let's get this point clear right now – this isn't a cheering section for the Cowboys' running back position.
I'm certainly not going to sit here and say everything is Ok with the backs and that they don't miss what they had last year in DeMarco Murray.
This isn't what anyone expected and there's a lot of reasons to point to.
But I don't think anything that has occurred this week will have a direct effect in the production from the backs. What I'm really saying is that having Joseph Randle on the team or not doesn't change much.
What I keep hearing now is, *"What if Darren McFadden gets hurt?" *
Well, it doesn't sound like playing Randle was going to be an option anyway. Right now, he wasn't available to play and who knows what happens if and when the NFL steps in and levies a suspension.
And you can play the "what if" game to about 20 of your 22 starters. That's how it goes in the NFL. When guys go down, you feel it. Lord knows the Cowboys are experiencing that right now.
But I just don't think Randle's departure changes my views at all about the running backs. And that stems from the simple fact that he just wasn't a productive player, at least not one that can't be replaced.
To me, Randle's role for any team, should be a No. 2 back who gets about 6-10 carries a game, provides nice quickness and a burst in a limited role, and also plays on special teams. He had that last year and I think he could've been even more productive had DeMarco come off the field a little more last year.
Randle needed to be on a team with a pretty good back, and could rotate in, perhaps staying in a little longer if he had a hot hand.
But chalk him up to a long list of Cowboys running backs who looked a lot better as the backup than they did as the starter. Since I've been covering the team, and maybe a little before that, you always hear the fans and media screaming for guys like Sherman Williams, or Troy Hambrick to play more. I remember when it was ReShard Lee who needed to get more carries, and that was when Emmitt was still playing.
I remember when everyone wanted to see Marion Barber instead of Julius Jones, and then it was Felix Jones instead of Barber and then it was Murray instead of Jones – and let's not forget a lot people thought it should've been Tashard Choice ahead of all of them.
It's just a vicious cycle that always occurs. And then this offseason, there were a lot who thought Randle could handle the load just fine with no drop-off.
Once again, we can't judge what we see running backs do in a limited role and just expect it to carry over when they get more touches.
Ok, so that's my rant on Randle. It's too bad he didn't take advantage of the opportunity but as I said, maybe it wasn't the right role for him.
As for this team, I just think Christine Michael can do whatever Randle was doing, and maybe even a little better.
What this team isn't lacking at tailback is power. Michael has some, as does McFadden and certainly Rod Smith should be able to bring some thunder at 245 pounds.
They might miss the quickness Randle brought, but overall, I just don't see his removal from the roster changing the outcome.