Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Marion Barber might miss another week
By Calvin Watkins
The starting running back, Marion Barber, who missed last week's game with a calf strain could also miss this week's game.
Barber, who hasn't missed any games this year, until last week vs. the Colts, isn't walking with a limp, but he's still receiving treatment for his calf injury and trying to get more strength in the leg so he can play.
It looks as if Barber will be ready not this Sunday but Dec. 19 vs. Washington. At that point, will Barber still have his starting gig?
Felix Jones has taken over the starting role and finished with 83 yards on 22 carries in the overtime victory against the Colts.
Tashard Choice, who moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart with Barber's absence, rushed for 100 yards on 19 carries and one nifty 20-yard touchdown run where he juked two defenders near the goal line.
There has been a debate as to whether or not Choice is better than Barber or Barber is better than Jones. But all three backs have different skill sets.
"I think Marion is probably a more physical runner inside, but Tashard is a very good inside runner as well," interim coach Jason Garrett said. "In general, they’re both good runners. They both block well, and they both catch the ball well out of the backfield. They’re fairly similar in their strengths. If you look at Felix Jones, Felix Jones is probably more of a space runner than those guys. He can get out and kind of hit the home run better than both Marion and Tashard, but I think you would say the strengths of each of those other guys are probably very similar in terms of their running styles."
Barber has kept a positive outlook when it comes to his 2010 season. He remains the starter, but Jones takes over the bulk of the carries. He's had more carries than Jones five times in 2010, but Jones has outgained him in eight games.
The yards per carry for Barber is low, 3.1, but that's because the Cowboys use him on short-yardage and on third down carries. Of his 27 first downs earned, 13 have come on third and fourth downs.
Going forward you begin to wonder if Barber will be given the chance to maintain his starting job or even playing time. Choice and Jones rushed for 183 yards combined vs. the Colts, but this week against the Eagles will be an interesting challenge.
The Eagles have the league's 13th best rushing defense at 103 yards per game, and have allowed nine rushing touchdowns. The Cowboys have scored seven all season, none from Jones.