Will Marion Barber and Michael Turner Respond to Becoming Featured Backs?

gregory caldarellaAnalyst IAugust 12, 2008

The Running Back By Committee (RBBC) has really frustrated fantasy owners, and you can imagine how it can have the same frustrating effect on the actual players. Marion Barber and Michael Turner know what it's like to be a part of a shared backfield.

Barber was not too highly touted when he was drafted by the Boys a few years back. He was used to a split backfield from his college days when he teamed up with, now Patriots Running Back, Laurence Maroney. Despite the low hype, Barber immediately showed that he would be a force and made his case for more carries.

Pretty soon the fans in Dallas were calling for Barber to get more carries and maybe even to take over the starter's role which was occupied by Julius Jones. Barber was really becoming a fan favorite with his hard nose style of running and his goaline success.

Barber really received the lion's share of the carries last season and truly evolved from the 3rd down and shortage yardage back he was originally used as. This off season Julius Jones went to the Seattle Seahawks and really opened up the door for Barber.

But the Cowboys still felt the need to use their first round pick on RB Felix Jones. Jones will not threaten Barber much, but he will steal some carries. Barber seems like he is in line for a big year in Big D, but let's see if his small frame can hold up over the course of a full year with the his punishing downhill running.

Turner was in a bit of a different situation during his time in San Diego. He wasn't really getting much work due to being behind a player named LT on the depth chart. Turner really only saw time during mop up time and if LT suffered an injury (which very rarely happened).

But when Turner did play, he produced. He had an impressive 5.5 yards per carry as a backup, and many saw the former college standout (Michael "The Burner" Turner) as a solid featured back one day.

The Falcons jumped all over Turner when he hit the market and promised him a big time role in their offense. However, he has a lot less to work with in terms of talent than Barber does in Dallas. Turner has a nice combination of speed and power and also should enjoy a relatively successful first year as a primary back.

Two totally different situations, but two similar players that finally have their chance to show what they can do with a full season's work load. Turner is part of a rebuilding team and they hope he can bring credibility to a meek offense. While Barber is considered a main piece to the championship puzzle in which the Cowboys hope to complete soon.

These two players are heavily invested in and will end up being forces in the league for years to come. But can these players meet some expectations without even being a primary back in the NFL yet? I say without a doubt they will.