Dash, Smash, Then Tash: How the Cowboys Should Manage Their Running Backs

Michael DunhamCorrespondent IJune 6, 2010

IRVING, TX - OCTOBER 05:  Running back Felix Jones #28 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates a touchdown with Marion Barber #24 against the Cincinnati Bengals at Texas Stadium on October 5, 2008 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ever since Marion Barber moved from his former third down and late-game back role (where he was named a Pro Bowler), to starting running back, he has been plagued by injuries and poor numbers.

This correlation is no coincidence, and until it is fixed, Barber will not reach his full potential. 

How should it be fixed, you ask? The solution is simple.

Make Felix Jones the starting back and move Barber back to his old role. 

Let's pause and take a look at some numbers.

In Barber's 2007 Pro Bowl year, in a season in which he did not start a single game, the big back rushed for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns.  

In his two years as a starter, Barber has rushed for fewer yards on more attempts. He also scored just four more touchdowns in those two years than he did in his 2007 campaign.  

In fact, in the first three years Barber was in the league, in which he was used solely as a back up, he rushed for 29 touchdowns.  In the two years he has started, he has only rushed for 14.  

Seem like a drop in production to you?

Last year, as Barber's backup, Felix Jones racked up 806 all purpose yards while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. As a staring back, he would get almost twice as many attempts as he does as a back-up. Barber averaged 14 attempts a game to Jones' eight. 

Let's say that Jones continues to average 5.9 yards a carry and gets the 14 rushing attempts a game that Barber got as a starter.  

That would put him at 1,321 yards on the season.

Now a backup, a healthier, stronger Barber would put up similar numbers to his 975 yards in 2007. If you factor in the 400 yards a season averaged by Tashard Choice, that would put the Cowboys rushing total at 2,696 yards, which would have been good enough for second in the NFL last season.

The switch would give the Cowboys the possibility of having two 1,000 yards rushers, a feat only five teams have done in the history of the NFL, while keeping their running back corps healthier and maximizing their potential.

Agree? Disagree? Post your feedback in the comments section.

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