IRVING, Texas –While, the fourth and final preseason game has always been designated for the younger and rather unknown players, the Cowboys have brought back a familiar face for Thursday's game with Denver.
Although his chances of making the 53-man roster appear to be slim, running back Phillip Tanner will be re-signed by the Cowboys to handle most of the running load Thursday against the Broncos, along with a healthy dose of special teams.
The Cowboys will need to make another roster move to make room for Tanner, who likely won't be the only player signed on Wednesday.
Tanner made the Cowboys' roster as an undrafted free agent in 2011 when he had a stellar preseason. But he's always been either the second or third tailback on the depth chart. Last season, Tanner's third on the squad, he received just nine carries for a total of 12 yards, to go along with his second career touchdown. [embedded_ad]
Tanner was among four running backs on the roster, providing recent history the Cowboys have elected to keep four on the roster at one time.
That has been a hot topic for the club with DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar having strong roles on this team. Joseph Randle is a fifth-round pick in 2013 who has flashed some potential already in the preseason. But an oblique injury he sustained last week in Miami sidelined him all week.
Ryan Williams is battling Randle for a spot, but suffered a groin injury in that game and might not be able to play a full game. In the touches Williams has received, he's made the most of the opportunities, running well in the second half of games, showing why the Cowboys were high on him coming out of college as a second-round pick.
With Williams signed this offseason, the Cowboys elected not to re-sign Tanner as a restricted free agent. Tanner spent some time with the Colts this offseason and training camp.