Even though he never plays.
Even though even in practice, he has never, in his three weeks with the team, taken a snap with the first-stringers.
Why is this? How is this?
There are a handful of factors here. To wit:
1. It's the Cowboys. Every hangnail produces a report ... and even when there isn't a hangnail, it doesn't stop the click-baiters from reporting that there is.
2. The Cowboys no longer employ DeMarco Murray. So ... isn't somebody better than the RBs who have helped Dallas start 2-0? Somebody? Anybody?
3. Michael was a second-round pick before Seattle dumped him to the Cowboys for a conditional seventh. So he has some pedigree. (Of course, using that logic along, present backup Darren McFadden is better than everybody, because he was a high first round choice.
4. The Aggies. They love their guys. It's blind and admirable and passionate love. but it's ... blind. (Not unlike the Boise State Truthers who can't believe that Kellen Moore is "only'' the No. 2 QB right now in a stripped-down version of the Dallas QB room.
5. The most popular football player in town is often the one who doesn't play. This phenomenon usually unfolds in the case of a backup QB. (I covered the Broncos when Denver fanatics hoped that stupid John Elway could be replaced by Gary Kubiak.) Here, it's happening to a fourth-string RB.
So we clamor for "news,'' for "another DeMarco,'' for "pedigree,'' for our "home-town hero,'' and for "grass that is greener.''
And then ... despite the FACT that Christine Michael -- despite talents that might just make him the best fourth-string running back in the NFL -- IS A FOURTH-STRING RUNNING BACK ... We see a photo from Thursday's practice.
The photo above. Which, at first glance, seems to tell an inside story: That's Weeden in jersey No. 3. He's the first-team QB with Tony Romo down. That's Michael in jersey No. 30. Michael is taking a handoff from the starter and therefore ...
THE COWBOYS CULT OF CHRISTINE is rewarded! All is righteous and all is just!
Joe Randle is the chairman of the committee this week, as he's always been. McFadden is his backup. Lance Dunbar is a key contributor in sub-packages, and McFadden is, in a sense, his backup, too. Randle is getting some dirty yards, McFadden is the best blitz-protect guy, and Dunbar has been a tough-to-cover weapon. (This group of RBs will perform better when this elite O-Line performs better.) Is Michael good enough to play on their level? Sure. Might he do so someday? Definitely, when one of the other three a) underperforms, b) is injured or c) finds himself embroiled in a legal or behavioral dispute.
All Michael is doing in this photo is taking a handoff from a QB in pre-practice drills. As of Friday morning, he's never worked with the first-team offense and he's not in the gameplan for Sunday's game against the Falcons. Shortly after taking this handoff in The Photo That Launched A Thousand Tweets, Christine Michael went back and did his job:
Portraying Falcons RBs Freeman and Coleman as part of the scout team. He did that job well, as he's done all month. He's helping the Cowboys in that way.
The Cowboys Cult of Christine doesn't have to like this. But as with any misguided cult, the delusional members deserves to know the truth.