If you were an NFL rookie running back, and were given a choice of teams to make your first NFL start against, which team would you choose? The Detroit Lions? That would probably be a good choice. The Lions porous defense yields 176.9 rushing yards per game. Yeah, that might be a good debut. Or how about the Oakland Raiders? You’d probably rack up a lot of rushing yards, and your team is almost guaranteed to leave with a win. Maybe you’d choose the Kansas City Chiefs. They surrender 163.7 rushing yards per game, and you’d probably get the opportunity to outshine Larry Johnson. Not a bad first start.
Now, if given the opposite choice, and asked which team you WOULDN’T want to make your first NFL start against, which team would it be. I think that every rookie running back would make the same choice. The unanimous pick; the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers are the #1 defense in the NFL. They are the #1 scoring defense. #1 against the pass. #1 against the run. They lead the league in sacks. They have the NFL’s leader in interceptions roaming their secondary. Going against them is about as much fun as sticking your hand in a meat grinder. Or cutting your tongue out with a pair of scissors. Or repeatedly stabbing yourself in the eye with a knitting needle. Or castrating yourself with a dull steak knife. Or slicing your throat and watching the beautiful red spray splash happily on the wall. REDRUM!!!! Ooop, sorry about that. I forgot to take my medication today, but I’m back now.
Anyway, as I was saying, facing the Steelers’ defense wouldn’t be fun. Just ask LaDainian Tomlinson. The Steelers held him to 57 yards rushing. Or ask Joseph Addai. The Steelers held him to 34 yards rushing. How about Clinton Portis? 51 yards. Brandon Jacobs? 47 yards. Willis McGahee? 42 yards. Fred Taylor? 19 yards. Starting to get the picture?
The Steelers’ defense hasn’t let a running back rush for 100 yards since dinosaurs roamed the earth. So a rookie running back making his NFL debut against the Steelers should expect to rush for 12 yards? 13? Maybe 20 if he’s lucky?
Well, that is exactly the unfortunate situation that Cowboys’ rookie running back Tashard Choice finds himself in. The Cowboys have made it official that running back Marion Barber will not make the trip to Pittsburgh. Backup RB Felix Jones is on the injured reserve list. So starting duties fall to backup backup (you know, the backup’s backup) Tashard Choice.
Tashard Choice is a 5’10″ rookie RB from Georgia Tech. He only weighs 208 lbs., but he is a powerful runner. He’s averaging 4.9 yards per carry. That’s an impressive number, even for a veteran RB. His best game came against the Seattle Seahawks, where he gained 57 yards. Of course, the Seahawks’ defense doesn’t instill fear into anyone. Against the New York Giants, Choice gained 27 yards. Yeah, that’s probably the neighborhood he should expect to be in against the Steelers.
All signs indicate that Tashard Choice is a promising young running back. The Cowboys have high hopes for him. Unfortunately, he has to make his first NFL start against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Where are the dull steak knives when you need them?
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