Marion Barber NFL Stats
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Marion Barber NFL Game Log
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Free Agent Team Injury Report
Barber once again battled through injuries last season, limiting him to 13 games. Both his 3.3 YPC and four touchdowns were career lows. It appears all that punishment he invited with his physical style of play has caught up with him, as Barber looks nothing like the explosive, tackle-breaking machine he was a few years ago. In fact, he was an anemic 3-for-15 at the goal line in 2010. After being released by Dallas and signed by Chicago, it’s possible he retains some fantasy value if/when he beats out Chester Taylor for the short-yardage role, the most likely outcome is he remains a situational player whose days of 200 touches are finished.
Barber simply hasn’t looked like the same
back he once was over the past two seasons,
and he’s lost his starting role to Felix Jones as a
result. Barber once again battled injuries
throughout 2009, as a strained quad really
sapped his explosiveness. He also dealt with a
thumb injury and later a problem with his knee,
so it’s safe to question his durability at this
point, which makes sense considering his hardnosed,
physical running style. Barber still
possesses one of the best stiff arms in the
league, and at age 27 with fewer than 1,000
career carries, it would be premature to write
While he cedes the RB1 job to Jones, who is
a significant health risk himself, it’s not like
Barber’s unaccustomed to coming off the bench
— he scored 37 touchdowns the previous three
years entering last season, and he only started
13 times over that span. He’s a good receiver
and trusted on passing downs, so even with
Tashard Choice competing for touches as well,
Barber should still see the field plenty. He
remains the heavy favorite for goal-line work
(he got 16 carries there last season), and with
an offense led by Tony Romo, Miles Austin,
Jason Witten and now Dez Bryant, it’s a highly
favorable situation — Barber just needs to stay
healthy and regain some of that old explosion to
take advantage of it.
Barber was one of the bigger disappointments last year, as injuries forced him to miss a game and greatly limited his effectiveness in numerous others. In fact, a toe injury rendered him virtually useless over the season’s final five games. He also struggled during a midseason stretch when Tony Romo was sidelined. Ultimately, Barber finished with 1,302 yards and nine touchdowns, which doesn’t seem all that bad when you consider most of the production came in just 10 games. His 3.7 YPC mark was more than a full yard lower than that of his past two campaigns (4.8). Barber also fumbled seven times, a problem that dates back to his college days in Minnesota.
Barber is a punishing back, and though he lacks long speed, he’s one of the toughest runners to bring down in all of football, fending off would-be tacklers with his trademark stiff arm. Barber also bulled his way into the end zone on seven of his 14 goal-line carries last year, a solid conversion rate. Barber, who had always been durable during his NFL career but was never given a full workload, went from previously leading the league in fourth quarter rushing yards to wearing down at the end of games in 2008, averaging a paltry 2.7 YPC after reaching 20 carries – only Ryan Grant was worse at a 2.4 YPC clip.
With Terrell Owens gone, Dallas might run the ball more in 2009, and with Romo at quarterback, the offense figures to remain potent. However, the Cowboys are expected to get Felix Jones and Tashard Choice more involved in 2009, making the running back situation a full-blown committee. In fact, owner Jerry Jones has suggested Barber should no longer start and return to his “closer” role like he did when Julius Jones was around. Barber was still plenty valuable in that role from 2006-2007, scoring 28 touchdowns, but don’t be surprised if last season’s 238 carries go down as his career-high. Felix Jones averaged 8.9 YPC, and Choice got 5.1 YPC, so both are far more deserving of touches than Julius Jones ever was. Both Felix Jones and Barber are expected to be fully recovered from their toe injuries entering 2009, but the committee arrangement hinders Barber’s value.
Despite not starting a single game, Barber
has compiled 28 touchdowns the past two seasons,
averaging a remarkable 4.8 YPC in the
process. He increased his activity in the passing
game last year, catching a career-high 44 passes
in the high-octane Dallas offense. Barber only
broke 100 yards rushing three times last season,
but he's received 20 carries in a game just once
throughout his career.
A physical and punishing runner, Barber is the
NFL’s most difficult back to bring down, as he
led the league in broken tackles last season. He doesn't possess
elite speed, but Barber did break two runs of 40-
plus yards last season, which was the fourth most
in the league. His success rate at the goal line
(6-of-14) was by far the best in the NFL. Some
question if Barber can handle a full workload, as
he's never had more than 204 carries in a season
and his style of running invites contact, but he's
never so much as appeared on the injury report
throughout his career.
The Cowboys had the best offense in the NFC
in 2007, so Barber finds himself in a terrific
environment to succeed. Tony Romo (8.3
YPA) is an elite quarterback, so Dallas' offense
should remain prolific, which should lead to
plenty of scoring chances for Barber. With Terrell
Owens now 34, the Cowboys might become
even more of a ground team this year.
The drafting of Felix Jones means Barber
won't be given the entire workload, but Jones
played in a largely gimmicky college system and
has a long way to go in pass protection and as a
receiver. It's unlikely Jones approaches the 187
touches the departed Julius Jones saw last year,
meaning Barber is due for a career high in carries.
Barber is a punishing runner, often requiring two or three defenders to take him down. He led the NFC in rushing touchdowns with 14, despite backing up Julius Jones. Jones often wore down defenders for the first three quarters, while Barber entered fresh, making his job easier. Still, there’s no denying just how effective Barber was when on the field. He averaged 5.7 YPC during the fourth quarter, had the second fewest stuffs (tackles behind the line of scrimmage) per carry in the NFL and produced the second most first downs per carry in the league. The 25 goal-line carries Barber received tied for most in the NFL.
With Bill Parcells no longer in Dallas, it’s unknown how the carries will be doled out this year. A timeshare is again likely, but Barber should again get the majority of work near the goal line. Since Barber averaged 0.7 more yards per carry than Jones and proved to be both the tougher runner and better receiver, we’d bet on him winning out in the end, but it’s worth noting that Jones got most of the reps with the first team during spring minicamps. If Barber looks like he’s the clear-cut guy in training camp, bump him up the draft board.
Julius Jones’ ill-health gave Barber some opportunities to show what he could do in 2005, and he made the most of them, including a 127-yard, two TD performance against Arizona in Week 8. He doesn’t have Jones’ explosiveness, but as the better pass blocker, Barber could see more action in Dallas’ two tight end schemes. In other words, a time-share appears to be brewing in the Cowboys backfield. If Jones gets hurt again for any significant period though, Barber would likely produce solid numbers. He was just 4-for-44 in the red zone as a rookie and didn’t contribute much to the passing game, but he can chew up yardage between the 20s well enough.
Expected to back up Julius Jones, but may not see much action unless Jones gets hurt.