Warrick Dunn Would Be Perfect as Dallas Cowboys' Sort-of Backup

RealFootball365.comSenior Writer IMarch 7, 2008

That's probably why Dunn has expressed interest in joining the Cowboys after Atlanta parted ways with him, which is great news for his possible new team. The Cowboys should pursue Dunn if they are his top choice and even if they're not, as he'd work as well with potential top guy Marion Barber as Nutella works with French bread.

Despite his weak year, Dunn should still be considered an ominous presence by opponents. It's important and fair to note that he only averaged 3.2 yards per carry last season with the Falcons, but the amazing thing is that Atlanta even managed to field a team in 2007. The only event that could have exacerbated the troubles stemming from the actions of the Falcons' diabolical quarterback would have been their wholly unscrupulous coach quitting mid-season. And . . . there he went.

Lost in the midst of the absolutely thorough chaos was the direct blow Michael Vick's felonies caused to the offense: The team used a total of three quarterbacks as starters, none of whom served as an additional threat to rush like the last guy and one of whom was Joey Harrington.

If a two-quarterback controversy means a squad doesn't possess a genuine starter, having three of them means the franchise may as well fold and apply for expansion, as a do-over would be easier than trying to fix everything that's so obviously wrong. In short, Dunn wasn't the primary reason why the Falcons finished fourth-worst in scoring offense with an anemic 16.2 points per game or tied for third-worst in wins.

In truth, his age and mileage are more pressing concerns than his immediate past: He's 33 and has 2,483 career carries. But that's precisely why Dallas would be a good choice for Dunn, as Barber could handle a decent but not overwhelming majority of the workload. With hopes that the current Cowboy will be re-signed for the long term and named the starter, Dunn could then come aboard and still employ his talents without having to do so on virtually every running down.

They'd work as a good combination. The quick-moving Dunn would be a perfect change of pace for the pummeling Barber, as it's easy to envision the pair operating as a classic example of the thunder-and-lightning-style rushing attack where two backs with diametrically opposite yet similarly effective styles combine to ensure that defenses never get to rest.

The Falcons have decided to go with a rushing duo comprised of Jerious Norwood and Michael Turner, two players whose careers have so far been spent making big gains by throwing off worn-down tacklers; they've done so by spelling two of the better backs in recent memory in Dunn and LaDainian Tomlinson, respectively.

Whether they can continue to do so is undetermined, but Atlanta's personnel decision means the Cowboys have the opportunity to acquire Dunn and then use a different type of tandem, namely one featuring two runners who have each already demonstrated they can handle a large quantity of carries over a season.

Of course, Dunn has done so more frequently, but the fact Barber had over 200 rushes in 2007 bodes well for his capacity to be the preferred back. Ideally, Barber can keep at about that rate, while Dunn could take over Julius Jones' share except with better production per try.

Other teams will certainly be interested in a back who has a history as both a quality performer and human being, which means that Dallas should use, for lack of a better term, its star power to attract Dunn. If successful, few other teams could then match the Cowboys' overwhelming aptitude at running back. After all, there aren't many offenses who could claim to have a player of Dunn's caliber technically listed as second on the depth chart.