After reading Kegbearer pour out some love for Marion Barber it got me motivated to write something about Tashard Choice. To me it seems like the writing is on the wall for Tashard Choice as well. I believe he will be in Dallas for his final season of his contract and will leave for a lead back (or more involved) type of role elsewhere. For whatever reason or reasons, Choice has never won the type of playing time most think he should receive for his level of play when given prime opportunities.
What honestly makes this situation a big mess in my eyes is that we tipped our hand yet again. We did this with TO, Greg Ellis and Patrick Crayton. Every team in the NFL knows that we simply do not want Tashard Choice on this team. Think about this for a second. Choice would have a generous trade value had we somewhat toned down that we don't want him in Dallas. Choice has proven time and time again that he is a valuable player, especially when injuries occur. Choice has absolutely zero trade value now because a team will just wait until he is a free agent in 2012. The most we could receive is a 6th round pick in my opinion.
I also have a beef with the Cowboys brass on this issue. Going into last year it was evident we needed another cornerback and we still do. The rumor was Tashard Choice for Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie has cleaned up his off the field issues and seems to be a more gracious family man. Yes, people will bring up the Hard Knocks episode where he couldn't remember all his kids names. Could you remember 8 different kids names? I don't know but I think I would slip up there too. Cromartie is one of the better cover corners in the NFL and to think we could have traded Choice for him turns my stomach.
Now I love Tashard Choice's game on the field. He is a gritty runner that gets the job done and is great at finding the pay dirt. But if you know as a franchise that your not going to give this guy playing time and you can get in return one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL I am making that trade. For whatever reason Choice is not even going to be the #2 RB on this team, so they should have taken top trade value when they had the chance. When the time comes and trades are allowed again, Dallas will not receive anything more than a 6th round pick for Choice. The NFL has ears and eyes, every team knows about our situation.
How Will You Remember Tashard Choice?
How will you remember Tashard Choice? For me that is a difficult question because Choice really has not been a Cowboy for that long. I will remember him for his amazing 2008 performances. He stepped in against three of the best defenses in the NFL and produced big time. He had HUGE games against the Steelers, Giants and Ravens. I remember when we drafted him in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. I believe we got great value with Tashard Choice. It also goes to show you how easy it is to find quality running backs in the draft.
I will also remember the 2009 season Choice had for us. He again average over 5 yards per carry with 5.5 yards per carry. When he played he made big plays and got the job done. When Choice was given opportunities in 2009 he produced. It was cool seeing him run the wildcat formation too.
2010 was a mixed bag for Tashard Choice. His YPC dropped to 3.7 but I blame most of that on the offensive line and lack of carries. The one game he shined was at the Colts and he had a great game. He was given the starting job and had 100 yards on 19 carries. He had a big time 26 yard touchdown. That was his only game as a feature back last season and he showed why I believe he has game.
The bad always sticks to peoples minds, so lets cover that as well. In the season opener Choice really made a huge error that led to our loss. Instead of going down or out of bounds he battles DeAngelo Hall and gets stripped. Hall returns it for a touchdown and we entered the half embarrassed badly. I know he is trying to make a play for his lack of playing time, but that wasn't a good decision. Basically that play summed up our season, a bunch of bad decisions and mental errors. I just want to point out that this was his first fumble of his career. Choice is very secure with the football. Just this one time he messed up, but he messed up big time.
The there was a big time situation at the end of the Eagles game where we just lost a really close game 27-30. Choice was seen on national television going up to Mike Vick and getting his autograph. This was so controversial at the time and has really died down but people will not forget that. I really didn't have a major problem with it at the time, but after really thinking about it I don't like the move. We just lost a heartbreaker against a bitter rival. It was said that Tashard was getting the autograph for a nephew or something, but wait until afterwards in the locker room. It made Tashard look like a fan, or a "Stan" as some people would call it.
Those two events possibly play into the reason why Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett do not like Tashard Choice. I really believe something is going on behind the scenes. There has to be more to the story than we know about. From the outside looking in, Choice looks like a warrior to me. But I am not at the meetings in the film room and I am not in the locker room. Choice was known to be a TO guy when he was here also. So maybe Choice isn't the fun loving passionate player we know and is different behind the scenes. Maybe he isn't a hard worker in practice. Maybe he falls asleep in offensive meetings and film sessions. I really don't know what it is, but there is something going on behind the scenes in my opinion.
Jerry Jones called Choice out publicly for his poor special teams play. Well I got news for you Jerry, not every 5'10 200 pound guy is cut out for special teams. Most of the time he is taking on guys twice his size and they are stronger. The plays Jerry was referring to I saw on www.dcfanatic.com because DC broke it down in a video. Choice wasn't awful I can tell you that much, he did his job and did what he could against a 350 pound guy. So the whole Choice sucks at special teams bit is a lame excuse.
Then there is the whole Choice sucks at pass blocking theory. I know when I watch games Choice throws his body around out there. He is a willing blocker who at least gives it his all out there. I am not really a believer in this theory either. I have seen him miss blocks, but he is giving full effort. I have seen a few missed blocks, but nothing that has made me to believe he is awful at it. The player we should harp on for this is Gronkowski, he ended our season last year not Choice.
Basically this whole situation is a big sloppy mess. Its like you're eating ribs drenched in savory BBQ sauce without the napkins on the side. Since 2008 the situation has brewed into a full time disaster. Now I may be over reacting because Choice is only a 4th round pick, but I believe the guy has starter potential. What makes this whole ordeal even worse is not getting anything in return. Choice will be here this year but he will leave next year. Basically we played our hand the wrong way and now we have cornered ourselves into limited options. Marion Barber is likely the first to go, but Choice may not be that far behind him. Yes it would not shock me to see the Cowboys sign an UDFA RB (good class this year) or sign a low level free agent RB. That would make Choice even more expendable to a trade. We gave away Crayton for peanuts so why wouldn't we give away Choice for peanuts?
Personally I believe Choice is the next Michael Turner. Choice was buried behind Adrian Peterson at OU and transferred to Georgia Tech. The same thing happened to him in Dallas as he is buried behind Marion Barber. Choice will find a team that needs a running back and will succeed with more playing time. Fortunately for us we have Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray to carry on with. Those two are exciting players and I love the combination of those two. It shouldn't be hard for the Cowboys to find another Tashard Choice, it really shouldn't because you can find quality running backs deep into the draft.
What we need to do is just handle the situation better if this occurs again. Also I would not rule out Choice yet, there is a small chance he regains Garrett's confidence again. That chance is really slim but you never know. I just think the way this situation has played out is a shame. Like I said I don't know if there is something going on behind the scenes, but on the field Choice is a warrior. He seems like a great guy, but who knows if he isn't like that off the field. Hopefully this gets resolved but I seriously doubt that. Felix Jones is a former first round pick with the game breaking speed you want on the field. DeMarco Murray has the same game breaking talent and is better suited as a pass receiver out of the backfield.
I wish Tashard Choice the best in the 2011 season. I also wish him the best in his career moving forward. If he leaves for another team (which he will) in 2012 I will root for him there. The whole Tashard Choice career as a Cowboy started off bizarre and will end in bizarre. I just hope this is the end of these type of situations in Dallas.
This has been a ChiaCrack Production