IRVING, Texas - Just a few days before the first game of the season and the Cowboys have yet to announce their starting running back for Sunday's game with the Giants.
Key words there being "yet to announce."
One would think the Cowboys have a good idea which back will be lining up first come Sunday night, but as head coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday, "It doesn't matter."
Garrett said Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden shouldn't even worry about who gets the start, or even versatile role player Lance Dunbar for that matter.
"The only thing that matters is everybody getting ready to play," Garrett said. "And if their number is called up, they go out there and be their best."
On the Cowboys' unofficial depth chart, which is sent out from the public relations department as an official game-day release, Randle is the first-team back, followed by Dunbar and then McFadden. Randle also started the third preseason game, which was used as the dress rehearsal.
There have been national media reports that suggest McFadden might get the first carries, but it appears Randle continues to get the first looks in practice this week.
So far in the locker room, all of the backs have been silent when it comes to the media. Even the newcomer, Christine Michael, has spent the open locker room period in the film room this week, trying to get a crash-course on this offense.
Maybe that's a sign Michael could be getting ready to play on Sunday as the fourth back.
"He just needs to get in here and learn what we're doing," Garrett said of Michael. "Like with all the new guys coming in, their big challenge is to get acclimated to how we do things, our systems of football. So there's going to be a lot of work initially just to see where they are. And then we'll integrate them into practice, and we'll make our evaluations from there."[embeddedad0]
Regardless if the Cowboys dress three or four backs Sunday night, it's looking more and more like a committee approach for this position. Garrett was asked Wednesday about the advantages of rotating more than one "bell-cow" back, as he likes to call the primary rushers.
"When you have a couple or three different guys involved running the football over the course of a game, I think the benefits are many," Garrett said. "There's a freshness that each of those guys has. Maybe they have different styles, they can attack defenses different ways. And maybe over the course of three of them you're just more versatile than one guy might be. They have a lot of different strengths you can tap into over the course of the game. I think freshness and versatility are probably the biggest things."