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Philadelphia Eagles News

News » NFL 2008-12-27


NFL 2008-12-27


NFL 2008-12-27
Tashard Choice's chin is always up when he's doing interviews.


It's the pose of a player who's loaded with confidence and wants the world to know it.

Unfortunately for Choice, scouts were more concerned last February with his legs. After running the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in a disappointing 4.52 seconds, the Georgia Tech alumnus was projected as a second-day pick.

Sure enough, 10 running backs were selected before the Dallas Cowboys grabbed Choice in the fourth round. Feeling slighted over his draft position, Choice plays with a chip on his shoulder bigger even than 6-foot-6, 353-pound teammate Leonard Davis' appetite.

"The draft is full of crap," Choice told reporters in Irving last week. "They put me down. They can say what they want to say, but they can't judge me as a player."

With leading-rusher Marion Barber slowed by the dislocated pinkie toe he sustained on Thanksgiving and first-round pick Felix Jones out for the season with hamstring and toe injuries, Choice has proven the last three games that the Cowboys got a significant bargain when they selected him 122nd overall. He's been the team's top offensive performer down the stretch, amassing 424 total yards and two touchdowns.

"It's pretty amazing what he's done in a short time," Dallas coach Wade Phillips said.

He might have added improbable considering Choice rushed for 88, 90 and 91 yards against three of the league's top defensive teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens.

That sub-par 40-yard dash time at the combine? It was all but forgotten when Choice had a 50-yard catch-and-run against the Steelers, a 38-yard TD jaunt against the Giants and a 29-yard scamper against the Ravens.

"It's because of how I prepare," said Choice, who has 416 rushing yards for the season. "When you prepare that way, you just go out and play the game. I don't think too much. All I do is go out and play. It's me handling my business off the field, and it just carries onto the field."

With Barber still hobbled and forecasts calling for a 40 percent chance of rain in Philadelphia, the Cowboys' offensive game plan for Sunday's win-or-go-home game against the Eagles is expected to call for Choice to handle the ball plenty.

And once again, he'll be facing one of the best defenses in the league. The Eagles rank third overall and sixth against the run, yielding an average of 92.6 yards per game.

"It's Football, man," Choice said Tuesday. "A defense is a defense. I know all of them are really good, so I just go out there and play. I don't worry about how good they are because I know we are good ourselves."

What makes Choice good is his vision and burst.

"He's got acceleration," Phillips said. "There is a difference in speed and acceleration. That burst to get away from a guy, he can do that. That's what good backs do."

Good backs also block, something Choice did well against the blitz-happy Steelers.

Bottom line: He's a complete player.

Said NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk, one of the league's best-ever all-purpose backs, "There are a lot of teams watching him saying, 'Damn, we passed on him.'"

Notebook: Quarterback Tony Romo missed practice Wednesday because he was sick. "We think he'll be back tomorrow," Phillips said. "We did have an extra day this week, so if he gets back in the groove tomorrow, I don't think he will have missed anything vital ... Tight end Jason Witten (ankle) and guard Montrae Holland (ankle) did not practice. Running back Marion Barber (toe) had limited participation.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 27, 2008

Juqua Parker Name: Juqua Parker
#75
Position: DE
Age: 30
Experience: 8 years
College: Oklahoma State
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