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Grass Always Greener On The Otherside Of Barber

The season has not started yet and there are already cries to bench Marion Barber and give Tashard Choice, “the future”, his workload this season. How quickly things have changed for Marion Barber III. Since his rookie season, when he came off the bench for Julius Jones, Barber has been the toast of the town for the fans of the Dallas Cowboys, that is until last year.

Barber looked certain to be the “back of the future” for the Dallas Cowboys. Many people saw Barber pounding the rock for the next 7-8 years barring injury. In his third season Barber was given the bulk of the carries as Julius Jones was struggling as the starter. Who can forget that moment when Barber endeared himself to hearts of Cowboys fans everywhere during the New England Patriots game in 2007 when the Cowboys had the ball at their 10-yard line, Barber took the handoff and was forced all the way into the back of his end zone. Barber bounced off 5 Patriots and ended up with the longest 2-yard run I’ve ever seen. Barber was anointed the starter in the divisional playoff game against the Giants and the fans rejoiced. He responded with 125 yards rushing and a solid performance. Since that game Barber has been the starter.

Now, after only two full seasons as the Cowboys starter, the chants are starting for the Cowboys to trade Barber before he loses his value, or to reduce his role and give the young guys a chance. Critics will say it is because he has lost a step, not as aggressive as he was, cannot stay healthy…etc. To be fair, health has been a concern for the Cowboys battering ram. Last year he had a quad injury and a broken finger, the year before was a toe injury. Barber has not been able to stay healthy. But, when he is healthy, few are better.

Now I’m not saying that Barber should get all the carries, or even that Jones and Choice should not have a larger role in the offense. I’m simply saying, let’s see what Barber does this year. He lost some weight to be faster and more explosive. He’s still a punisher, despite the fact the Chargers stopped him twice on the goal line last year. Many will point to those plays saying that Barber has lost it, but when you watch those plays again it is clear the line did not block a soul.

The problem is, as fans, we’re fickle. We buy into the “next star” approach. It has been happening for decades when it comes to sports. We always want the newer, faster, slicker version of what we have. Even if that is not the best way to go.

Sure Choice had the highest average per carry of all the Cowboys backs last year, but he only had one game when he had more than 15 carries. While Choice gained 82 yards on 18 carries for a 4.6/carry average against Carolina in that game, Choice has been inconsistent when he has received a lot of carries. The following week against Denver choice averaged 2.4/carry on 14 attempts. Now please do not get me wrong, I love Choice. I think he will indeed one day take over for Barber as the starter. I just don’t think it should be this year. Then there is Felix Jones. He is our hot rod. The man has moves and wheels. But he also has proven to not be very effective when banged up. Do we give him all the carries? Probably shouldn’t.

Barber has lots left in the tank. He can still run the ball and run it hard. While we do have two flashy sports cars sitting in the garage, why do we want to sell off our pickup truck. The one we depend on when we go to work to get the tough jobs done. Barber is still the “rock” of the backfield. He is the one the guys go to for tips. He is the guy that is called upon to run when the defense knows it is coming. He is the guy that takes the fall when the team’s yards-per-carry average goes down. But, he is also the one that gets that tough yard 99 percent of the time. He’s the one the team turns to when the chances are stacked against him, and no doubt, he is the one that the team leans on the most.

Make no mistake, the Cowboys still need Barber, as much as they need Jones and Choice. Sure the backfield is crowded, but if we can go one more year with it that way, why wouldn’t we?

Take a look below for a moment of nostalgia:

Marion Barber vs. Patriots Defense

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4 Responses to “Grass Always Greener On The Otherside Of Barber”

  1. Unclebob says:

    The problem isn’t the back it’s the playcalling. I get so frustrated when Garret just stops running the ball. With these 3 backs we should be wearing down defenses & mixing in some passing plays.

    • robbo24 says:

      Correctomundo,……… Jason Garrett’s problem is not only he’s one dimensional. He’s also all in with this idea he can overpower teams through the pass.

  2. robbo24 says:

    Most teams in the NFL would love to have this problem. We happen to get a OC who could care less.

    Poor decisions concerning the O-Line, running game, short yardage game, and offensive blocking schemes, are part and parcel. The inefficiency we see in Jason’ Garrett’s Offense.

  3. Alex Weston says:

    I think you guys are on to something. I think Garrett has great potential to do some amazing things in this league as a co-ordinator and even coach, but he needs to find balance and strengthen his o-line schemes. Thanks for the comments guys!

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