Cowboys following Panthers' model with Barber?

March, 19, 2010
3/19/10
4:24
PM ET
NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas has an interesting blog post concerning Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams.

It seems Williams, who shares carries with Jonathan Stewart, is cool with getting fewer touches to prolong his career.

"I think the front office and coaching staff are single-handedly prolonging my career and [Stewart's] career,'' Williams said. "Thirty is like the new 50 in the NFL, especially when it comes to tailbacks."

Which brings us to Cowboys running back Marion Barber.

Barber has slowed down since he became the full-time starter in 2008. His physical way of attacking defenders might lead him to start breaking down. He turns 27 in June. He's missed time with toe and knee injuries and played with a busted hand for the bulk of 2009.

The Cowboys want Felix Jones to have an increased workload in 2010. This could mean several things for Barber:

* He could get upset and sulk.

* He could thrive in the role and produce solid numbers like he did in 2007.

* He might lose his starting job if Jones excels.

Barber is still young enough to become a productive back in the NFL. Yet his breakdowns the last two seasons raise questions about his ability to remain the starter.

If 30 is the new 50, like Williams says, expect the 27-year-old Barber to thrive this year.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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