Saturday, May 22, 2010

RB competition in Dallas is a luxury battle

Cowboys have plenty of options with Jones, Barber and Choice.
by Matt Bowen

One position down in Dallas to keep an eye on throughout OTAs and into the first couple of weeks of training camp is the running back position. A loaded backfield with plenty of options. How many teams in this league would want to have a position battle with this depth?

We all know that owner Jerry Jones is a big fan of Felix Jones, and why not? One of the more explosive offensive talents in this league and a perfect fit for the screen and Lead Draw packages of Jason Garrett’s offense down in Dallas.

But, that shouldn’t take away from what Marion Barber can do when he does get his pads square to the line of scrimmage. I still see him as the ideal running back for any scheme that requires the RB to take the ball deep in the backfield, hit the hole and break a tackle. The guy just runs, well, angry when I see him play. I want that in my running back. The numbers were down in ’09? OK, but this is a guy who still gave the ‘Boys close to four and a half yards per carry last season—and close to 1,000-yards on the ground.

And, let’s not forget about Tashard Choice. The former Georgia Tech RB was the main reason I thought Dallas would at least dangle Barber’s name out there in trade discussions before the draft, because he does run hard and can act as a second option to Jones. A solid young back.

We have grown accustomed to seeing two-man rotations in the backfields of NFL clubs over the past couple of years. In Dallas, it is a three-man rotation, but there still needs to be that one guy, someone we can at least call the “feature back,” when this offense and QB Tony Romo need a play.

Jones told David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, “Right now, my job is to get better and make my team better, prepare myself for this upcoming season.''

A professional response when asked about the competition for the starting gig, and what we should expect a player to say in late May.

I agree it is way to early to even speculate on this position battle, but it is one to think about as summer rolls on and the when these players get into pads come August. And, it is just another reason to like Dallas heading into 2010. You need depth at the running back position to make a long post season run--something I expect the Cowboys to do.