[Ed. Note by Grizz]: Jim Vance had a story about the three-headed monster at running back ready to go for today, but then I was sent a video by Tashard Choice's people highlighting their new nickname. If I'm not mistaken, our own Carl Shelton came up with Bash, Dash and Tash which I relayed to Tashard, who altered it to Smash, Dash and Tash. It looks like the guys want to make the name stick. Well, at least Felix and Tashard do, although Felix had trouble with the nickname. Barber was his typical "no where near the cameras" self. Enjoy the vid, then read Jim's article on how to use the newly-christened Smash, Dash and Tash. [End note]
[Begin Jim Vance's article]
The Cowboys have a very talented group of running backs in Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. They Cowboys running back situation reminds me of the very wealthy gentleman who collects expensive vehicles. Barber is an Abrams tank, a punisher who fights for every yard. Felix is the sports car, weaving through traffic, accelerating smoothly and pulling away into the open field. Tashard Choice is the four-wheel drive SUV, good on any terrain - capable and reliable.
I have read and heard several theories about how we should utilize these three. Start Felix and sprinkle in some Choice, saving Barber as the closer. Start Barber and let him play the first quarter, then Felix plays the second quarter with Choice opening the third quarter, closing out with Barber again. How about the theory of alternating Felix and Barber all game long, only giving Choice an occasional carry or using him as a backup in case of injury?
The thought seems to be that by alternating these runners and saving Barber for the last quarter, the opposing defenses will be run down and then Barber will be able to hammer the ball and eat up the clock at the end of the game. This makes one big assumption - the Cowboys will need to be winning by a big enough margin at the end of the third quarter to be in position to bang it in there with Barber and run out the clock.
The smartest strategy for the Cowboys would be to use all three backs in different situations throughout the entire game. Why make it easy for an opposing defensive coordinator to plan for the Cowboys offense by giving them an idea of the lineup beforehand? Barber would come in on passing downs as well as running downs and so does Felix and Tashard. The defense cannot key in on what kind of play will be called, where it might go, or who it might go to, based on the running back (or backs) that might be in the huddle. When the fourth quarter arrives, not only is Barber still fresh, so are Jones and Choice because no one back has been playing a full game. The opposing defense will be worn down and we will still have the
Three-Headed Monster Smash, Dash, and Tash looking to eat somebody.
In my opinion, that is the only way to use those running backs. All three of them, all the time.