Michael could make Cowboys debut Sunday night

Published 12:05 am Friday, October 2, 2015

IRVING (AP) — Christine Michael is getting work with the first team out of the Dallas backfield, an indication the third-year running back from Beaumont West Brook could be close to his debut with the Cowboys.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said Thursday that Michael was taking snaps with the regulars after working mostly on the scout team since coming over in a trade with Seattle a little more than three weeks ago. Linehan didn’t say whether Michael would be active for the Cowboys (2-1) on Sunday night at New Orleans (0-3).

“He’s making a lot of progress,” Linehan said. “We’re excited to see in the future here, I don’t know how near that is. We make those decisions in the upcoming days of when he can get his first action.”

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Joseph Randle has started all three games after NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray signed with Philadelphia in free agency. Michael came in a trade with Seattle three weeks ago.

Randle had 85 yards on his first three carries, but just 2 on his final 11 runs last weekend against Atlanta. Dallas couldn’t hold a two-touchdown lead in a 39-28 loss.

The Cowboys boosted their per carry average from 3.4 yards to 4.1 with decent numbers against the Falcons, but had minus-4 yards rushing in the second half. Darren McFadden has been the second option behind Randle, and hasn’t had more than 10 carries in a game.

Michael was a second-round pick by the Seahawks in 2012, but never came close to supplanting Marshawn Lynch. The Cowboys gave up a conditional late-round pick for the former Texas A&M player.

“Physically I feel like I’ve been ready,” said Michael, who had 254 yards without a touchdown in limited action over two seasons in Seattle. “I had to get my plays down, which have been coming along pretty well. But for the most part, just looking to go out there and have fun.”

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Michael gives the Cowboys a stockier, more physical runner compared to Dunbar and McFadden. Dallas has struggled in some short-yardage situations this season and is ranked 16th in rushing after finishing second last year when Murray had a franchise-record 1,845 yards.