Can Marion Barber handle the load?
This article on ESPN answers the question definitively. James Quintong breaks down what type of back Barber is, how we use him and why he's capable of spearheading our ground game.
Barber's greatest asset is his versatility. He established himself as a third-down back who can catch passes out of the backfield, but he's also a hard-nosed runner between the tackles, which made him the go-to guy at the goal line. But he can also rip off the big play, as he's averaged 4.8 yards per carry each of the past two seasons. You can't pull off an average like that if you're only getting carries inside the 20.
In 2007, Barber carried the ball 160 of 204 times outside the opponent's 20-yard line. In those carries, he averaged a whopping 5.3 yards per carry. That includes a crazy 8.5 yards-per-carry on 44 attempts between the 40s. So obviously, he can be trusted upon to carry the ball anywhere on the field.
Hat tip and shout out to scottmaui and his fanpost here.
There seems to be a national consensus that maybe Cowboy Nation should be concerned about our 0-2 preseason start. Why do I say that? Because everywhere I go I see someone telling me not to worry.
First up is Spags. No one does sarcasm quite like Spags. His thoughts? Calm down, dude.
But for some reason, this season already is building as a Super Bowl or bust one, starting in preseason - already - and no matter the quarterback will be starting only his second full season in the NFL.
That's why it was quite reassuring to hear Terrell Owens' perspective on all this when he was assaulted with question after question here on Tuesday about the 0-2 start in preseason and those lofty goals.
"My thing is, let's win a playoff game," Owens said.
My thing, too.
Next up Clarence Hill and Mac Engel at the Star-Telegram. Their thoughts? Well the players say not to worry.
IRVING -- When it comes to their performance in the first two preseason games, the Dallas Cowboys are like many of their fans. Some are dismissing it, while others are starting to be alarmed.
Tight end Jason Witten and linebacker Bradie James say the team needs to play with a sense of urgency. Quarterback Tony Romo and receiver Terrell Owens are calling it much ado about nothing.
Owens said the preseason just isn’t that big a deal, pointing out that the current Super Bowl champions (New York Giants) won one game last year in the preseason.
His message to Cowboys fans: "There is no need to panic. You can’t assess how the season is going to go by the way you play throughout the preseason. The Giants won the Super Bowl [last year] and they only won one game in the preseason. It’s not a real true game feel assessment, because you are not really playing four quarters. We have made some strides. We are confident about the season."
But just in case you want to worry here are some solid things to get upset about.
Five reasons to be concerned
Tight end Martellus Bennett
The rookie second-round draft pick from Texas A&M has become a favorite of the Hard Knocks cameras because tight ends coach John Garrett has been all over him. The Cowboys want Bennett to exploit his enormous athletic ability, but this will likely be a season-long project. "I know what’s real and what’s not real, so it doesn’t bother me," Bennett said, regarding the Hard Knocks-generated perception. "I don’t regret anything I did. I’m picking things up every week."
Threat of injuries
Injuries are a concern for every team. If the Cowboys sustain injuries at the key positions -- Tony Romo, Flozell Adams, Terrell Owens, DeMarcus Ware, etc. -- there will be problems. The Cowboys are like most teams in that they have depth here and there, but not everywhere.
"We haven’t played anything yet," receiver Sam Hurd said. "Give us a chance to show what we can do. We haven’t played to our full ability yet." Hurd wants the media/fans to allow the backup receivers to at least play a game before they are collectively buried. Before the injury to Miles Austin, who has one career catch, this unit was thought to be an area of concern, even in the front office. Until proven otherwise, this is regarded as a concern.
Big Top becomes a Big Mess
Among a Pacman, a Tank, a T.O. and a Romo, there are a lot of personalities on this team, as well as lots of talent. It should work. But if it doesn’t, it has the ingredients for a finger-pointing salad.
Head coach Wade Phillips
It borders on unfair that a coach with a career record of 61-42 has his feet in the fire, but this is unique. His rumored successor was hired before he was, is his top assistant, and makes a lot of money. If for some reason the season doesn’t start well, do players look or even align themselves with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett? The situation is tenable, largely because of the two personalities involved, but there is a potential distraction should losses become more prevalent than wins.
Finally here comes T.O. His thoughts? Read my lips. I. Am. Not. Worried. FOXSports.com tries to goad him but he's not taking the bait.
"We'll be fine once the season starts," Owens said Tuesday. "I promise you."
So should we be worried? Look our special teams has played pretty terrible. Denver ran all over our first team defense. We have yet to score more than 20 points. Miles Austin was hurt. There are things to be worried about.
But in the grand scheme of things this stuff is relatively minor. Our offense has looked pretty good at times. None of our big stars are hurt. Felix Jones looks like a barnburner. Adam Jones looks like the real thing as a punt returner and he's rounding into form as a cornerback. We're going to be fine gentlemen. Just fine.
Hat tip and shout out to SmittyCityMo and his fanpost here.