IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys were without Joseph Randle for all but one drive in the last two games. By waiving him Tuesday, they're officially moving forward with Darren McFadden and their other running backs.
Head coach Jason Garrett believes in the current group.
"We have a lot of confidence in Darren, first and foremost, but we feel good about the other guys," Garrett said Wednesday.
Randle was granted an excused absence last week to handle a personal issue and subsequently was inactive for last Sunday's 13-12 loss to the Seahawks. The previous week against the Giants, he had two carries for 24 yards before exiting in the first quarter with a strained oblique.
Garrett said the Cowboys evaluated the "full body of work" in deciding to waive Randle. The team will continue to try to offer support for Randle as he works through personal matters, Garrett said, but he's no longer with the team.
"Ultimately every decision we make here is made in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys," Garrett said. "No individual or player or coach or anybody in our organization comes before that. That's the guiding principle that we use. We just felt like at this time it was most important for him to get some of the issues that he has in his personal life squared away and important for us as a football team to focus on the task at hand that we have going forward without him."
The Cowboys believe their running game has found traction in the last two games with Darren McFadden as the featured back. He rushed 49 times for 216 yards and a touchdown against the Giants and Seahawks, and although he only averaged 3.2 yards a carry against Seattle, an illegal motion penalty wiped out a 25-yard run that would have given the Cowboys a first down at the 5-yard line in the third quarter. He also had a team-high six catches for 49 yards.
In the first five games, McFadden had 37 carries. Can he carry the sort of full workload DeMarco Murray had in 2014?
"We take it day by day and week by week, but he's certainly given us every indication over the last couple weeks that he can handle the load," Garrett said.
Christine Michael, now McFadden's primary backup, had a season-high five carries for 20 yards against Seattle. Rod Smith, claimed off waivers from Seattle during the bye week, was active for the first time last Sunday but did not have a carry.
The Cowboys filled Randle's roster spot by signing rookie running back Trey Williams off the Redskins' practice squad. Williams (5-7, 190) was a versatile contributor in three years at Texas A&M, rushing for 1,343 yards, catching 38 passes for 330 yards and returning 70 kickoffs for a 24.1-yard average.
"A productive guy," Garrett said. "He's a smaller back, but he's almost small in stature more than he is a small guy. He's one of those short guys who's got some thickness to him, but a guy that I think has a good feel for playing the game."