If there is anything to take away from the New York Giants playoff loss last season, it is how the Dallas Cowboys were two different teams in the first and second half. In the first half, the Cowboys dominated the running game, with Marion Barber punishing the Giants defense. In the second half, the Cowboys tired, especially the offensive line, and stopped giving Barber the ball.
Instead, they decided to call pass plays, a lot of pass plays, and lost control of the game.
But don’t fret. Former Cowboys greats Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith have come to save the day. I am just not sure I agree with what they have to say.
First, Dorsett and Smith believe Barber has what it takes to be an elite back in the NFL. You can read it here.
But Smith says he doesn’t think Barber can carry the load for four quarters. I am not even sure why Smith is thinking Barber will with Felix Jones in the mix. People seem to think that just because Julius Jones is gone that the Cowboys scrapped the two-back system and Barber is going to carry the ball 25 times a game. It’s ridiculously not true. This is what Smith said:
“I think he spends a lot of energy that may not be necessary,” Smith said when he attended Cowboys practice this spring. “For a starting back, I’m all about putting your heart into it, but you’re doing a lot of kicking, running up, bucking and you’re exerting a lot of energy.
Barber’s energetic bursts were key to the Cowboys regular season success last year. When he came into the game, he pumped up the team. To say he should tone that down…I just cannot fathom why that is a good idea.
“When you take a lot of hits over a period of time, it takes its toll on you. I just hope he becomes a little wiser and smarter about some of the hits he takes.”
Dorsett’s comment makes more sense, but how does a running back really avoid taking hits when running the ball? I personally don’t think the NFL has ever seen an animal like Barber run the ball. Why change what is working? Why try to fix something that is not broken?
Neither Smith nor Dorsett ran the ball like Barber does. Smith came close, took some great hits, and punished opposing defenses, while Dorsett was a finesse back.