KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 11: Tashard Choice #23 of the Dallas Cowboys breaks away for a touchdown during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 11, 2009 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Tashard Choice has acted as the glue that has held Dallas' running game together for much of the first five games of the season; in limited action, Choice has proved to be Dallas' most reliable back, stepping in seamlessly when injuries have shelved his running mates, the more heralded pair of Marion Barber (who's missed one game with a quad injury) and Felix Jones (who's missed two with a sprained PCL).
The Georgia Tech product is currently tied with Barber for the tenth-best yards-per-carry average in the league, at 5.1. And yet, Choice gets little respect, particularly in the context of national media coverage.
Case in point: Recently, Sports Illustrated published a cover story about the week four match-up between the Cowboys and the Broncos, in which the second year runner was referred to as "Rashard Choice." Fact checking be damned, this is basic stuff.
Hopefully though, as Calvin Watkins writes at ESPNDallas, this slight will only further motivate Choice, whose desire seemingly derives from a history of being overlooked with no good reason. Watkins points out that, despite leading the ACC twice in rushing, Choice was never named to first-team all-conference.
"Sports Illustrated is terrible for that," Choice said. "I don't even care. What I care about is things like leading the ACC in rushing and you're not first-team ACC. That's what's disrespectful to me. That's what I took away from those things. It's just motivation to prove people wrong."
If he keeps up his pace, he'll likely do just that. Choice's performance this season in limited time has much of Dallas clamoring for an increased use of the "third back," and some even contend that he should be Dallas' primary back. Considering the history of injury between Barber and Jones, one would be hard pressed to argue that this is a bad idea.
Until then though, Choice will likely remain overlooked in Dallas' backfield; however, if such passive disrespect is responsible for the level of performance seen by Choice through the opening five games, well, perhaps overlooked isn't such a bad thing to be.