Friday, May 6, 2011

Dallas Cowboys: Will DeMarco Murray Force Marion Barber out of Dallas?

With the 71st pick of the 2011 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys select DeMarco Murray, running back, Oklahoma Sooners.

With those words, Dallas Cowboy running back Marion Barber cringed and began to wonder if his days in Dallas were numbered.
Marion Barber - Dallas Cowboys v Arizona Cardinals
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Since rushing for 24 combined touchdowns between the 2006 and 2007 seasons, Barber has become enemy number one and a sports talk radio punching bag in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. But is it completely his fault?

If you think back to the two really good seasons Barber had, you might remember he was not an every down back. Barber was the kind of guy who would get the call close to the goal line because he was a guy the Cowboys could count on to close the deal and get them in the end zone. He was a 'closer' so to speak.

Then the team decided they were going to make Barber a featured running back in their offense and that's when things began to go downhill in a hurry.

His problems with injuries as well as hanging on to the ball have led to the Cowboys beginning to use former Alabama running back, Felix Jones, more in the offense than Barber. When Jones and even former Georgia Tech rusher Tashard Choice, began seeing more time this past season, the writing on the was became even clearer.

Then came the NFL Draft just a few weeks ago. The first two rounds were spent on an offensive tackle and a linebacker, but then came the third round.

Former Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray's name was announced and he became the newest Dallas Cowboy back which was already four deep to begin with.

Barber, along with Jones, Choice, as well as second year back Lonyae Miller, the newest draft pick signaled what could be a dramatic shift in rank at the position. A shift that new head coach Jason Garrett new he would need to see at the position.

Between Choice, Jones, and Barber the Dallas Cowboys only saw eight rushing touchdowns through the entire 2010 season. They relied heavily on the passing game and put it squarely on the shoulders of backup quarterback Jon Kitna after Tony Romo went down for the season.

With Murray now in the mix it could give this team the boost they need to be able to not put so much pressure on Romo or Kitna to move the team down the field. The Dallas Cowboys have never been a one-dimensional team and they can not afford to continue to operate as they did last season.

As for Barber, the addition of a new running back could mean that he has seen his final days in a Cowboy uniform. While nothing is set in stone, the writing is definitely on the wall especially with three younger, more capable, running backs behind him.

Chalk it up to mis-use by the Cowboys or chalk it up to Barber just not being able to transition from a closer to a starter, something even a baseball player has a hard time with.

Whatever the case, the Dallas Cowboys will have a tough decision to make when they begin to make roster cuts during training camp. They will take an especially long look at who they want behind their quarterback and who will make the greatest difference to a team that's been lackluster and full of underachievement over the past 16 seasons.

Marion Barber still has a lot to prove and he's going to need to be in the best shape of his playing career if he hopes to have any chance at all at sticking with the Cowboys. Maybe a little competition will do him good.

Follow Todd Kaufmann on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment