FOX had some interesting things to say about the Cowboys' running backs.
Starting about the Giants: "For a team that won the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, the Giants enter '09 with some big questions—and it's not just Plaxico Burress they'll be missing on offense. Gone is RB Derrick Ward to Tampa Bay, meaning last year's fourth-quarter shot in the arm Ahmad Bradshaw must prove he can handle being Brandon Jacobs' main understudy in an enhanced role. Still, GM Jerry Reese did a fine job in landing Andre Brown in the draft to help restock what has been a position of strength in New York and the anchor of Eli Manning's offense."
FOX rated the Giants' backfield at #5 and the Cowboy backfield at #8, and then described Dallas: "Jerry Jones had big dreams last summer after watching his fellow Arkansas alum Felix Jones electrify during training camp and the preseason. But an early-season injury derailed what the owner hoped would be the ultimate backfield combination, pairing the rookie's big-play potential outside with Barber's grinding style inside. The good news from Jones' injury: Dallas found out that Tashard Choice had game, giving the 'Boys a solid No. 3 RB. The bad news: Barber wore down with the grueling punishment he created for himself, meaning Dallas lost their key fourth-quarter advantage of Barber cutting defenses down in the final 15 minutes. If Felix is healthy in '09, this backfield trio could be one of the league's best."
FOX did not use the same criteria for evaluating both teams: this year's backfields.
They pointedly took a swing at Jerry Jones and a slam at his being a GM for the Cowboys in reference to the running back's projected evaluations. They sugar coated the Giant's GM, and back-doored a slam due to Felix Jones being injured last season.
The evaluation obviously was based upon last year's total attack that only had an equal contributor depart this offseason to Tampa Bay. This didn't complete the inequitable standard of comparison.
Dallas had all three of their running backs contribute at a somewhat similar level, despite losing Felix Jones for 2/3rds of the season, and it's variable piece, Choice, prove himself quite well. The Giants now have a drafted and totally unproven piece in their 'rook'.
I would say this is a bias by FOX to discredit the Cowboys, and the Giants received their pass due to a Super Bowl two seasons ago and finishing ahead of the Cowboys this past season, using Jerry Jones again as a 'whipping boy' for their purposes.
Don't look now, but Jerry was only the GM for getting all three of the current Dallas running backs. He even played a major role in the securing of Felix Jones in the draft before last season.
If not for injuries to both Felix and Marion Barber last season, this group could have put up better numbers than the now disassembled group that were Giants last season. The numbers of a healthy Marion Barber should now be used in looking forward to this season.
Now let's apply a real picture of what occurred last season.
Brandon Jacobs: 219 att, 1089 yds, 4.97 ave
Derrick Ward: 182 att, 1025 yds, 5.63 ave
Ahmad Bradshaw: 67 att, 355 yds, 5.30 ave
Marion Barber III: 238 att, 885 yds, 3.72 ave
Tashard Choice: 92 att, 472 yds, 5.13 ave
Felix Jones: 30 att, 266 yds, 8.87 ave
Just from looking at those breakdowns, don't tell me that the departure of Ward, who out-produced on many less carries than Brandon Jacobs, is going to have 'little' affect to that group.
Brandon Jacobs carried less than half of the Giants' running load last season. Next, he benefited from a healthy starting line across the board.
Tell me now, that a healthy Marion Barber with an equal load distribution to Jacobs, wouldn't produce at close to an identical level.
Next, try and convince me that a healthy Felix Jones over the full course of a season, wouldn't have produced at least as well as Derrick Ward did last season.
Then try and convince me that Tashard Choice isn't every bit as good as what the Giants had in Ahmad Bradshaw.
Then, you pop out of this picture, Derrick Ward for the Giants, and STILL tell me the Giants are better than the Cowboys running group?