Look at this list and tell me what year it is:
- A Hall of Fame quarterback retired in the offseason.
- Tom Brady is going to miss time to start the season.
- The Cowboys will play the AFC North this season, with road games in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
- The Cowboys will be in Philadelphia during their season finale.
- The Cowboys will have a first round and late round running back on their roster.
Tell me what year it is. I dare you!
If you’re thinking 2016 you’re right, but it’s also oddly reminiscent of the 2008 NFL season when: Brett Favre retired (then unretired), Tom Brady tore his ACL in Week 1 and missed the rest of the season, Dallas played the AFC North on this rotation, Dallas visited Philly in the regular season finale, and the Cowboys had first and late round rookie running backs.
It’s that last point that I want to talk about today.
There’s a narrative built up about how the Cowboys struggled to find a franchise quarterback between the Aikman and Romo eras, but the same could arguably be said about the team’s primary running back. It’s been a slew of “eh he’s decent” type of guys since the days of Emmitt Smith with players like Julius Jones, Marion Barber, and DeMarco Murray giving us small glimmers of a potential return to that elite level of greatness.
The Cowboys tried to rectify all of this in 2008 when they spent one of their two 1st Round draft picks on one of the, supposedly, best ball carriers in the class – Felix Jones. Many people believed this was Jerry Jones finding a way to get his hands on an Arkansas Razorback as Darren McFadden alluded him. Funny how things work out, right?
While the hype was certainly high around rookie running back Felix Jones, he wasn’t the only halfback that the Cowboys took in the draft. The other running back taken by the Cowboys in 2008? Current Dallas Cowboys Coach Tashard Choice.
It’s funny how things with the Cowboys seem to have reset eight years later. Instead of Felix Jones it’s Ezekiel Elliott with the 1st Round accolades, and just like Tashard Choice then… Darius Jackson is among the Dallas Cowboys rookie running back group.
What’s even funnier is the rookie seasons that Felix Jones and Tashard Choice had:
|2008 Season||Felix Jones||Tashard Choice|
Now now now I’m not condemning all Cowboys running backs taken in the first round here. Obviously we all hope and believe that Ezekiel Elliott will be a success, but it’s nice to know that in emergency situations the Dallas Cowboys typically can find success at the position in the late rounds (even though they’re terrible in the 2nd Round).
Given the wide amount of talent that the Cowboys have at running back Darius Jackson is going to be in for a tough test early on in his career. A great sign of hope for him, and for the Cowboys, is that there’s someone coaching him up that knows how to do it in Tashard Choice.