Joseph Randle took the majority of the first-team reps at running back during training camp but does not yet know if he will be start when the Cowboys take the field in Sunday’s season opener against the New York Giants.
According to offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Randle and Darren McFadden have split reps in practice this week and a final decision might not be made until Saturday night. But Linehan said both backs will play... and play a lot.
The good thing for Randle is that the Cowboys’ delayed decision on the starter is more about the options available than a lack of trust.
After being arrested last October for shoplifting, and being involved in a domestic dispute that ultimately brought no charges in Febuary, and then upsetting the coaches in May by saying the departed DeMarco Murray left “meat on the bone,” Randle had to regain the confidence of the coaching staff and organization before he would even be considered for the job as Murray’s primary replacement.
He believes he has done that through words and deed in training camp and the preseason and is hoping to make the most of the opportunity ahead of him on the field.
“You’ll have to ask coach that,” Randle said. “In my eyes, I feel like I’ve done the things necessary to earn trust, but you’ll have to ask them and figure out what they think, because what I think and what they think can be two different things. I do look at it as ancient history. I think we are moving forward, and I’m excited for the opportunity ahead of me and blessed for the opportunity ahead of me.”
Randle rushed 54 for times for 343 yards and three touchdowns last year in limited reps behind Murray.
The opportunity to have a larger role as well as start has him admittedly more excited heading into the 2015 season, starting Sunday against the Giants.
He knows he can run, and he has no interest in worrying about the running back distribution or trying to top Murray, the league’s leading rusher last season.
His focus remains on being a player who can be trusted, one the Cowboys can rely on.
“We are going to make sure of take advantage of the opportunities that I got,” Randle said. “If there is a hole I’m going to make sure I hit that thing and do what I do. I’m going to make sure I’m doing the right thing without the ball and make sure I’m doing the right things all together. I’m just going to make sure I’m Joe Randle and make sure I’m doing what I have to hold up my end of the deal.”
His end of the deal is simply worrying about being the best Joe Randle he can be and do what he can to keep his job, which is why had no comment about the team’s decision to trade for Christine Michael and add him to the running back mix.
“They are going to do what they got to do,” Randle said. “That is their job. That's way above my head. I’m going to make sure I do what I got to do to stay on the team.”