Friday, September 27, 2013
Rookie Joseph Randle nearing Dallas debut
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING, Texas -- The only draft pick not to play for the Cowboys this year is fifth-rounder Joseph Randle.
But it seems that the running back is nearing his debut when the Cowboys visit the San Diego Chargers on Sunday afternoon. Randle has sat the first three games because the team trusted Phillip Tanner more on special teams and used five safeties on the units.
Randle needed to get up to speed on special teams and improve his blocking in the passing game, which sometimes can be an adventure for any rookie running back.
But with an injury to wide receiver Miles Austin, the return of linebacker Ernie Sims and the possibility of Mackenzy Bernadeau moving to a backup role, an opening has developed on the 46-man game-day roster.
The Cowboys could play with four running backs against the Chargers and use seven offensive linemen. Phil Costa has been the backup center but with Brian Waters taking over for Bernadeau, it's moved him to a backup center spot.
Finding opportunities to insert Randle into the game-day roster has been difficult at times, but now it seems things are clearing up for him.
"I'm getting more into the special teams a little more," said Randle, who will participate on two units. "That's what they wanted from me and that's what they got."
Randle had to bide his time this summer after the Cowboys drafted him. There was a thought Randle would emerge as DeMarco Murray's backup but Lance Dunbar and Tanner proved to better at supporting the starting running back.
Randle wasn't bad in the preseason -- pretty good, actually -- showing good vision and power during the course of five games. But when it came time to put the game-day roster together, Randle sat.
"I don't think its frustrating. I'm in this program and I believe in the program 100 percent," said Randle, who hasn't had a full-time special-teams role since his freshman season at Oklahoma State. "Whatever they feel is best for the team, I'm with it."