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Homer: Why Redskins fans should like the Tashard Choice signing


themurf

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(photo by Larry French)

The Washington Redskins made an interesting move this week – claiming Dallas running back Tashard Choice off of waivers.

Choice was placed on waivers by the Cowboys to make room for rookie linebacker Bruce Carter and became expendable because of the emergence of DeMarco Murray.

The fourth-year pro has been saddled with nagging shoulder and hamstring injuries this season, which explains his limited production – 75 rushing yards in five games this season.

But the Redskins were willing to roll the dice on Choice in hopes that he’ll eventually be able to step in and fill the void left after Tim Hightower was lost for the year.

“Obviously, we needed some depth at the backfield position,” said head coach Mike Shanahan. “We’ve watched him through the years [and] we think he has a chance to come in and help us once he learns the offense and gets over his hamstring injury. So we’ll wait a week or two and see how he is.”

Washington was the only NFL team to put in a claim for the injured Choice, even though they’re nowhere near the only team in the league that could use a boost at running back.

Shanahan wasn’t concerned with why other teams shied away from the 26-year-old though. He made the move because he still thinks Choice can be a solid contributor once he fully recovers.

“First of all, you’ve got seven guys that are going to be inactive, so you have to make a decision there on who’s going to be active and who’s going to be inactive,” Shanahan said. “And you have a chance, if you need a running back, to let somebody go and move him down for the game and bring somebody else up.

“What we’re trying to do is get the best football players long term,” he added. “We looked at a lot of backs that were out there and we thought he could help us the most. That’s why we brought him in.”

Choice, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 218 lbs., was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Coming out of college, the Georgia Tech standout was considered by many to be a quality product.

Looking back on some of the scouting reports that were published prior to the ’08 draft, there was a lot to like about Choice.

For example, here’s the write-up that SI.com posted:

POSITIVES: Well-built, productive runner with solid instincts. Runs with good lean, patient, and waits for blocks to develop. Finds the running lanes, quickly gets through them, and creates yardage on the inside. Displays outstanding vision, makes defenders miss in the open field, and shows a burst. Can turn the corner and stays on his feet off the initial hit.

NEGATIVES: Not a smooth cut-back runner. Was nicked up with minor injuries last year and may not be able to take a heavy workload at the next level.

ANALYSIS: Choice made the most of his opportunities at Georgia Tech and gets a lot out of his abilities. He may never be a starter at the next level, but he has enough skill to be a productive backup.

Random side note that may only be interesting to me: Choice was drafted 17 spots ahead of Ryan Torain and 27 spots ahead of Hightower.

Admittedly, I haven’t seen much of Choice during his time in Dallas. In fact, outside of his fumble that was recovered by Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall and returned for a touchdown during the first game of the Shanahan Era, I can’t even say Choice has done anything to stand out one way or the other in the games I’ve seen him play against Washington.

So I reached out to one of my closest friends, a guy who happens to be a diehard Cowboys fan,* to get a little insight on the newest member of the burgundy and gold.

*I’m convinced his parents didn’t love him enough as a kid. Why else would he openly cheer for that team?

Here’s what he had to say about Choice:

“Tashard has always produced in his limited role, and I think he’s going to make the Cowboys pay for releasing him. He’s got great vision and he’s a smart runner. He’s probably the most durable and well-rounded back we had. He was having a bad year, but that’s because (head coach) Jason Garrett only brought him in when everyone knew it was a running situation. And he only had 28 carries. For the record, I picked Choice up on my fantasy football team. He’ll be good for you guys, if you remember that you are a running team and not a passing team.”

Click here for the full article.

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Sorry Murf, but I'm not impressed with this guy at all. From what I've seen he doesn't have a second gear or breakaway speed and is constantly run down by defenders.

But, I guess we needed to fill the void left by Hightower. What does that say about Royster though? He knows the playbook already. Not a good sign for a draft pick.

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Sorry Murf, but I'm not impressed with this guy at all. From what I've seen he doesn't have a second gear or breakaway speed and is constantly run down by defenders.

But, I guess we needed to fill the void left by Hightower. What does that say about Royster though? He knows the playbook already. Not a good sign for a draft pick.

Why should we rush to judgment if the Shanahan clan wants to give a rookie more time to adjust to life in the NFL? What's wrong with giving Royster time to develop and show what he can do on the practice field before throwing him into the fire?

Like I said, people who pay a lot more attention to the Cowboys than you or I speak highly of Choice. He's young, he doesn't cost anything and he seems to have a lot of upside. Why wouldn't the Redskins take a chance on the guy?

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I like the Choice signing. Like you said murf, its a low-risk, high-reward move. I mean the Cowboys were getting trade offers for him around the trade deadline but for some reason didn't move him. I thnk Choice is a solid guy to pair with Torain and Helu. Will he ever be a 20-25 carry feature back? I don't think so. But we don't need him to be.

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Why should we rush to judgment if the Shanahan clan wants to give a rookie more time to adjust to life in the NFL? What's wrong with giving Royster time to develop and show what he can do on the practice field before throwing him into the fire?

Like I said, people who pay a lot more attention to the Cowboys than you or I speak highly of Choice. He's young, he doesn't cost anything and he seems to have a lot of upside. Why wouldn't the Redskins take a chance on the guy?

Well I guess if we keep throwing **** against the wall eventually it has to stick, right?:D

I'm all for bringing in guys if they think it can help the team. All I said is I'm not impressed with what I've seen from Choice thus far. Doesn't mean I'm writing him off already.

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Well I guess if we keep throwing **** against the wall eventually it has to stick, right?:D

I'm actually a huge fan of the **** wall. Seriously. I'd rather throw a bunch of rookie linebackers out there to see who can make plays than watch Rocky McIntosh catch tackles/blocks like a glove and never step into a hole and hammer somebody. I'd rather watch us chuck passes at Hankerson all day than watch us draw up some well designed plays that go to Stallworth for god knows what reason.

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I'm actually a huge fan of the **** wall. Seriously. I'd rather throw a bunch of rookie linebackers out there to see who can make plays than watch Rocky McIntosh catch tackles/blocks like a glove and never step into a hole and hammer somebody. I'd rather watch us chuck passes at Hankerson all day than watch us draw up some well designed plays that go to Stallworth for god knows what reason.

Unless the football Gods strike down a miraculous turnaround, this season is a loss cause and I am with you. See if these youngsters can play. But it ain't gonna happen for various reasons.

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I like the Choice signing. Like you said murf, its a low-risk, high-reward move. I mean the Cowboys were getting trade offers for him around the trade deadline but for some reason didn't move him. I thnk Choice is a solid guy to pair with Torain and Helu. Will he ever be a 20-25 carry feature back? I don't think so. But we don't need him to be.

I like it as well. It will be interesting to see what he can do when healthy.

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Why should we rush to judgment if the Shanahan clan wants to give a rookie more time to adjust to life in the NFL? What's wrong with giving Royster time to develop and show what he can do on the practice field before throwing him into the fire?

Like I said, people who pay a lot more attention to the Cowboys than you or I speak highly of Choice. He's young, he doesn't cost anything and he seems to have a lot of upside. Why wouldn't the Redskins take a chance on the guy?

Because generally, RBs don't take a lot of time to develop, and it would be nice to see what you have in terms of RB here before going into free agency and next years draft.

He isn't going to play for a week or two any way. How many weeks are you going to give Royster (keep in mind Choice was cut because he was essentially pass by a rookie RB)?

It is one thing if the guy has been in the league for a year or so and is pretty much stuck behind an entrenched starter or just hasn't really been given the oppurtunity to show what he can do, but that isn't the case here.

Is there any REAL reason to believe Choice has upside greater than what he showed in Dallas? It isn't like he didn't get a chance to play in Dallas (even beyond this year).

Is there any reason to believe that the Cowboys have had a guy for a couple of years, where he's played pretty regularly and have been looking to stablize the RB position just COMPLETELY missed this guys upside?

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Tashard Choice is what he is, he isn't a spectacular probowl runner, but he is a solid back that can contribute, he's not explosive but he can get 4 yards for you consistently. He's kinda like Hightower in my mind, nothing spectacular or explosive but he will get the yards you need and continue to move the chains. A good solid pickup that's being analyzed by our fans and criticized because we didn't pick up the new Adrian Peterson waiting on the waivers or the new Russ Grimm.

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Tashard Choice is what he is, he isn't a spectacular probowl runner, but he is a solid back that can contribute, he's not explosive but he can get 4 yards for you consistently. He's kinda like Hightower in my mind, nothing spectacular or explosive but he will get the yards you need and continue to move the chains. A good solid pickup that's being analyzed by our fans and criticized because we didn't pick up the new Adrian Peterson waiting on the waivers or the new Russ Grimm.

Those sorts of backs though are a dime a dozen (right, we got Choice for nothing and Hightower for almost nothing). If you decide you need that kind of back to really compete, then you can always go out and get one.

This team isn't in that situation. They should take a gamble. Likely, they'll strike out, but maybe you get lucky and hit a homerun.

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Because generally, RBs don't take a lot of time to develop, and it would be nice to see what you have in terms of RB here before going into free agency and next years draft.

He isn't going to play for a week or two any way. How many weeks are you going to give Royster (keep in mind Choice was cut because he was essentially pass by a rookie RB)?

It is one thing if the guy has been in the league for a year or so and is pretty much stuck behind an entrenched starter or just hasn't really been given the oppurtunity to show what he can do, but that isn't the case here.

Is there any REAL reason to believe Choice has upside greater than what he showed in Dallas? It isn't like he didn't get a chance to play in Dallas (even beyond this year).

Except that Shanahan does know where Royster is in his development. Unlike us, Shanahan doesn't need to see Royster in a game to know what he can do right now. Meanwhile, the only way to evaluate Choice is to sign him to the regular roster.

Is there any reason to believe that the Cowboys have had a guy for a couple of years, where he's played pretty regularly and have been looking to stablize the RB position just COMPLETELY missed this guys upside?

It wouldn't be the first time where a change of scenery was good for a player, where he moved to a team that used his skillset more effectively than the previous team. Again, I don't see the downside here.

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Because generally, RBs don't take a lot of time to develop, and it would be nice to see what you have in terms of RB here before going into free agency and next years draft.

He isn't going to play for a week or two any way. How many weeks are you going to give Royster (keep in mind Choice was cut because he was essentially pass by a rookie RB)?

It is one thing if the guy has been in the league for a year or so and is pretty much stuck behind an entrenched starter or just hasn't really been given the oppurtunity to show what he can do, but that isn't the case here.

Is there any REAL reason to believe Choice has upside greater than what he showed in Dallas? It isn't like he didn't get a chance to play in Dallas (even beyond this year).

Is there any reason to believe that the Cowboys have had a guy for a couple of years, where he's played pretty regularly and have been looking to stablize the RB position just COMPLETELY missed this guys upside?

You made some very valid points here and pretty much sums up what I've been thinking.

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And if Royster is't the answer, it is really no big deal. A what, 6th round pick? It's not like he was drafted in Ka"jonna Carter's spot a two overall. You all keep sayin we need to bring guys in and see what they can do. Well....that's what we did.

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It wouldn't be the first time where a change of scenery was good for a player, where he moved to a team that used his skillset more effectively than the previous team. Again, I don't see the downside here.

I'd be curious if you can list the last time that happened at RB. I mean you can point to somebody like Priest Holmes going to the Chiefs, but Holmes had already rushed for 1,000 yards in Baltimore and left as a freeagent. Who is the last back to be with a team for 3+ years that was cut or traded, and then went on to really exceed what he'd done with the team he was with originally? Especially for a team w/o a really great RB (right no probowl RB in Dallas, except maybe the rookie).

The downside is you've limited a roster spot to a guy that has limited upside and isn't going to play right away.

I think in general any football coach will tell you, the best way to judge a player is to see what he does in a real game.

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I'd be curious if you can list the last time that happened at RB. I mean you can point to somebody like Priest Holmes going to the Chiefs, but Holmes had already rushed for 1,000 yards in Baltimore.

First name that comes to mind is Ruben Droughns, drafted by the Lions, signed by the Broncos and he manages to be a 1000+ rusher for them. I don't think anyone here is thinking he'll be a great RB, but if he can do the job (and until you bring him in to look at him, you don't know.), then I don't see the problem.

The downside is you've limited a roster spot to a guy that has limited upside and isn't going to play right away.

Nor is Royster, more than likely. Also, if you use up his PS eligibility and he's not ready for the NFL, you've severely limited his career. (See Marko Mitchell)

I think in general any football coach will tell you, the best way to judge a player is to see what he does in a real game.

But first, you'd like to see him do the right things in practice on a consistant basis. If you don't practice well, you are not going to see the field.

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Is there any REAL reason to believe Choice has upside greater than what he showed in Dallas? It isn't like he didn't get a chance to play in Dallas.

I'm fairly confident that if Tashard Choice comes to town and simply matches his stats from his time in Dallas -- 250 carries 1,139 yards with eight touchdowns (4.6 yards per carry average) -- fans would be thrilled. Give him the football, see if he can simply remain the same exact running back he's been and, if so, the Redskins will be lucky to have gotten him for nothing.

---------- Post added November-3rd-2011 at 12:46 PM ----------

I'd be curious if you can list the last time that happened at RB. I mean you can point to somebody like Priest Holmes going to the Chiefs, but Holmes had already rushed for 1,000 yards in Baltimore and left as a freeagent. Who is the last back to be with a team for 3+ years that was cut or traded, and then went on to really exceed what he'd done with the team he was with originally?

Off the top of my head, Cedric Benson, Willis McGahee, Peyton Hillis, LaDainian Tomlinson and Thomas Jones are a few running backs I can think of who did just fine after a change of scenery. Clinton Portis wasn't too bad after leaving Denver either ... but I'm guessing you already knew that.

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Why should we rush to judgment if the Shanahan clan wants to give a rookie more time to adjust to life in the NFL? What's wrong with giving Royster time to develop and show what he can do on the practice field before throwing him into the fire?

Like I said, people who pay a lot more attention to the Cowboys than you or I speak highly of Choice. He's young, he doesn't cost anything and he seems to have a lot of upside. Why wouldn't the Redskins take a chance on the guy?

Murf, not gonna get into a comparison duel with ya on this one; IMO the jury is out until he proves himself one way or another.

BUT, ya gotta admit, in your words "Why should we rush to judgment", does kinda point out the irony in the thread title, being you're making a statement that we should "like" something, which is being judgemental; if it hasn't already confused you yet, gimme a few more minutes and i'll confuse everyone...lol

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Choice is not a bad back at all. He was very good at Georgia Tech and was very effective in the run game. Not every back needs to have breakaway speed to be effective. Choice has above average speed and is hard to bring down. When healthy he will produce if given a chance. I say we give him a chance to show what he has and you never know he may be a long time Redskin.

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