Dallas Cowboys: Marion Barber Iii

LaDainian Tomlinson's retirement puts into perspective just how unlikely it is that Emmitt Smith's all-time rushing record will ever be challenged.

Tomlinson finished his phenomenal career as the NFL’s fifth all-time leading rusher – a whopping 4,671 yards shy of his childhood idol. (That’s a figure almost equal to the career total of fellow recent retiree Marion Barber, arguably the Cowboys’ best back since Smith’s departure.)

Thomas Jones is the only other active back who is even halfway to Smith’s 18,355 yards. And Jones is 33 years old, coming off a 478-yard season and almost 8,000 yards away.

I compared Smith’s record to Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak Sunday on Twitter. A follower replied with a better comparison: Cy Young’s 511 wins.

The records set by Smith and Young are testaments to tremendous durability almost as much as they are Hall of Fame talent. Those records will probably never be challenged in part because the games have changed so much.

Young started every four days, if not more often, and pitched a complete game more than 90 percent of the time. Complete games are a rarity these days with the reliance on bullpens, even though five-man starting rotations are the norm.

Smith was a workhorse back his entire career, an endangered species in today’s NFL. This has become a passing league with running back committees the norm, but tailbacks still seem to burn out faster than ever before.

Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew (6,854 yards) and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (6,752 yards) are the only active backs who appear to have even a slim chance of legitimately chasing Smith’s record. They’re 26 years old and over a third of the way there.

But 28 is considered old at their position, 30 over the hill. And Jones-Drew and Peterson would have to rush for more yards the rest of their careers than O.J. Simpson did in his entire career to catch Smith.

The odds of Smith’s record being broken are about as good as O.J.’s odds of succeeding in his quest to find the real killer.

Cowboys-Redskins first quarter recap

November, 22, 2009
ARLINGTON -- The Cowboys have gone scoreless for a quarter for the second consecutive week and in the process got an injury scare to their starting quarterback and had a sideline argument between Terence Newman and secondary coach Dave Campo.

The Cowboys have outrushed the Redskins, 61-7, in the first quarter. Yet, have nothing to show for it. The Cowboys, thanks the running game, got to Redskins 16, when Barber was stripped of the ball by linebacker London Fletcher.
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall scooped up the ball and was tackled by Tony Romo. Both players were hurt on the play, Hall hurt a knee and Romo his back.

Romo did return, but Hall didn't.

Also, after Newman lost Devin Thomas on a completion, when Jason Campbell scrambled out of the pocket to complete a 26 yard pass, Campo got upset.

When the series ended, Campo yelled at Newman and the two needed to be separated. Campo was yelling at Newman so intently he lost his headset. Later on the sidelines, the two were talking calmly to each other.

IRVING, Texas -- Nothing new to report on the injury report for the Dallas Cowboys. Marion Barber (thumb), Andre Gurode (ankle), Ken Hamlin (groin), safety Gerald Sensabaugh (thumb) and DeMarcus Ware (foot) had full participation in practice Friday and are listed as probable. Allen Rossum has been ruled out with a hamstring.

The Green Bay Packers had 14 players listed on their injury report, and outside linebacker Aaron Kampman has been ruled out with a concussion. He didn't practice all week. Other notable injuries include tackle Mark Tauscher, who started last week at right tackle but was ruled out with a knee injury. Chad Clifton, who has started four games at left tackle, was limited in practice because of a non-injury related matter. His status was not updated.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (feet) and cornerback Charles Woodson (hip) practiced Friday and should play Sunday.

Return man Allen Rossum will miss two to four weeks with a right hamstring injury, coach Wade Phillips said Wednesday. Felix Jones will return as the primary kick returner with Miles Austin as the backup. Patrick Crayton and Terence Newman are the punt returners.

This is a big blow for the return game which was depending on Rossum to improve the unit. Yes, Patrick Crayton had a 73-yard punt return for a score, but before that he averaged just 8 yards a return.

Fullback Deon Anderson did not practice with an undisclosed illness, although he did attend practice.

Running back Marion Barber and safety Gerald Sensabaugh, each with broken thumbs, participated in practice. Barber had his left hand wrapped, and Sensabaugh is wearing a hard cast during practices.

Linebacker DeMarcus Ware was a full participant in practice despite the stress fracture in his left foot.

Quarterback Tony Romo is not listed on the injury report, but he did receive treatment for his strained neck, suffered in the Atlanta game. Phillips said he wasn't concerned about it.

Here's the Cowboys' injury report and what it means.

First, everybody practiced in the rain Wednesday at Carrollton's Standridge Stadium.

Now, the injuries:

Starting running back Marion Barber has a fractured left thumb. He practiced with a soft cast on Wednesday and is expected to play against Atlanta. For your information, Barber is right-handed and carries the ball on that side.

An MRI revealed that starting outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware has a stress fracture on his left foot; he is playing with pain. Coach Wade Phillips said Ware should play Sunday against Atlanta.

Phillips said the foot problem isn't a reason why Ware has only two sacks this season.

Running back Felix Jones is practicing with a bulky left knee brace. He said he's still sore but he's able to make cuts, which is a good thing as far as his recovery is concerned.

Safety Gerald Sensabaugh has a cast over his right thumb and said he should be able to grab wide receivers and catch passes.

Wide receiver Roy Williams was still sore following practice as he recovers from three bruised ribs. Phillips didn't guarantee Williams would start Sunday against Atlanta. If Williams is out, Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin will get the call.

Other injuries of note: Right tackle Marc Colombo (sprained ankle), right guard Leonard Davis (broken thumb), center Andre Gurode (sprained knee), safety Michael Hamlin (broken wrist) and linebacker Curtis Johnson (hamstring) should all play on Sunday.

Marion Barber's quadriceps didn't give him problems, so Tashard Choice didn't get many carries.

Choice still made a major impact in the win over the Chiefs.

"That's the story of my career, huh?" Choice said. "Whatever opportunities they give me, just make the most of those."

Choice gained a career-high 92 yards on only eight carries. His 36-yard run on the Cowboys' second possession of the second half snapped a Cowboys touchdown drought that stretched almost six quarters.

But there's no guarantee that Choice, who has 225 yards on 44 carries, will continue to have a significant role in the running game after the bye week.

Felix Jones is expected to return from a sprained posterior cruciate ligament for the Cowboys' Oct. 25 home game against the Falcons. Barber, who rushed for 53 yards on 15 carries against the Chiefs, should be completely healthy by then.

That's likely to leave Choice as the odd man out in the running back rotation again. Rest assured, thought, that he'll be ready when the Cowboys call upon him.

Starter Marion Barber (thigh) was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and should start Sunday at Kansas City.

If he starts, he is expected to share a bulk of the carries with Tashard Choice.

Last week, at Denver, they combined for 25 carries for 74 yards. The Cowboys wanted to use Barber more in the second half, but his thigh stiffened up, and that limited what he could do. The Cowboys used Barber on third downs mainly in the second half and stuck with Choice as the lead back.

But the Cowboys only ran the ball seven times for 19 yards in the second half.

"It was about what the calls were," Choice said of the second half. "Whatever [the coaches] see and how they wanted to attack the D. I think that's what they were going with as far as the second half. We always like to run the football. Just being a running back you want to run the football, hopefully this week we can get back to the strength of our offense."

Dallas Cowboys injury report

October, 4, 2009

DENVER -- The Cowboys will lose starting strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh for an undetermined amount of time with a broken right thumb. Sensabaugh suffered the injury in the second quarter and did not return.

The cowboys safety will undergo surgery early this week. He said he should miss only one game because he suffered a similar injury in college, breaking the same thumb while at East Tennessee State. Sensabaugh said he can play with a small cast on his arm.

Wide receiver Roy Williams suffered bruised ribs while enduring a fourth-quarter hit from Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams as he reached out for a high throw. Roy Williams left the game briefly but had trouble breathing in the late stages. The receiver was on the sidelines for the final few plays of the game.

"Never in my life have I been hit like that," Williams said.

Linebacker DeMarcus Ware missed three plays with a lower back injury,suffered in the third quarter. He was hurt while tackling Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno, who was also hurt on the play.

Nose tackle Jay Ratliff left with a left arm injury in the fourth quarter but returned. Ratliff said he was in pain, but otherwise OK.

Running back Marion Barber played with a bruised quad and had only one carry in the second half. He did start both halves but was mainly a decoy in the second half.

DENVER _ Running back Marion Barber is on the field doing some drills and is expected to start against the Broncos. Barber was doing some contact drills in the end zone with fullback Deon Anderson. The Cowboys want to see how Barber feels in pregame warmups before deciding how much to use him. Barber expects to get a good work load today.

Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber showed impressive burst Wednesday at Valley Ranch, sprinting away from reporters trying to inquire about his strained quadriceps.

But Barber still isn't at full speed, 10 days after coming up lame on the final carry of his 124-yard performance in the loss to the Giants. His participation in Wednesday's practice was limited, although he has progressed in his recovery.

"He was less limited today than he was last week," Phillips said. "He did more, which is less... I think tomorrow's practice will determine a lot."

Had it been up to Barber, he would have played Monday night against the Panthers. Barber didn't stay at Cowboys Stadium to watch the game. While Phillips said Barber was getting treatment elsewhere, he acknowledged that Barber was upset at the decision to make him inactive.

"Every one of them will come out and say they're ready to go," running backs coach Skip Peete said. "You have to monitor based on what [the medical and athletic training staff] is telling you. Sometimes the player gets a little angry with you."

Cowboys running back Marion Barber is listed as inactive for tonight's game.

Owner Jerry Jones had said earlier in the day that Barber was "doubtful," so that doesn't come as a huge surprise.

Besides Marion Barber's absence, here are the Cowboys inactives:

S Mike Hamlin

LB Jason Williams

G Montrae Holland

C/G Duke Preston

T Pat McQuistan

WR Kevin Ogletree

For the Panthers:

RB Tyrell Sutton

S Chris Harris

FB Brad Hoover

LB Na'il Diggs

T Garry Williams

G Duke Robinson

DE Everette Brown

Also, Quinton Teal will start at free safety for the Panthers and Tony Fiammetta takes the place of Hoover as the starting fullback.

The roof is closed, the sun is shining through the huge glass doors and fans are piling in for the start of the game. Several players are warming up. We're waiting to see if Cowboys running back Marion Barber will be one of them.

Jerry Jones said Barber is doubtful for Monday's game against Carolina. Barber's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said the running back's status was a game-time decision. I think Barber will try and test his quad slightly and if things don't go well, he will sit down.

We'll keep you posted on Carolina punter Jason Baker and whether he hits the video board. Most opposing kickers do hit it in pregame.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that starting running back Marion Barber was "doubtful" for Monday's game against the Panthers. Jones said the fact that Felix Jones and Tashard Choice are both healthy will probably cause the Cowboys to take a "conservative" approach with Barber.

Jones stopped short of ruling Barber out, but it certainly sounds like he won't play.

In other news, Jones said he would keep the Cowboys Stadium roof closed for Monday's game. The roof was open for last week's home-opening loss against the New York Giants.