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August 31, 2011

Rookie back Tanner has gained 100 yards in preseason, and the coaches' attention

Undrafted rookie running back Phillip Tanner continues to gain yards in preseason action.

He has run 18 times for 100 yards in the three games, averaging 5.6 a carry. He started it off with a bang, rushing nine times for 44 yards in the first preseason game, against the Denver Broncos. Then, in the second outing, he had the highlight of the game with a helmet-less run to the end zone for a touchdown on national television -- never mind that it didn't count.

The rookie from Dallas Kimball was an unknown longshot when training camp started. But he didn’t stay a longshot for long.

“Really, from minute one, he has been so impressive in so many different areas,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We’ve been really impressed with how your young guys have adapted without the typical offseason to get acclimated to our systems of football, and he might be as good of an example of that as anybody. He’s a really diligent kid.”

The Cowboys might keep as few as three running backs, and two spots are saved for Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray. That leaves him to battle Tashard Choice and Lonyae Miller for another spot, or perhaps a place on the practice squad.

But at least Tanner, who starred at Middle Tennessee, has made himself noticed.

“I think he’s talented,” Garrett said. “He’s got a good feel for playing. He’s a good runner. He’s productive. He understands pass protection. He does a good job of catching the ball out of the backfield. So he’s certainly made a very favorable impression on a lot of people.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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Comments

If the Cowboys cut Tanner he will not make it to the practice squad and will become this year's Danny Amendola.

Demarco Murray gets a chance because of his pedigree ie college.But im with Ty- the biggest producers should make the team or it makes Garrett look like a hypocrite.

Please tell me why Murray is a lock to make the team. He has already shown he can't stay healthy. I say give the kid a chance. But we all know the Cowboys braintrust is not that smart.

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