ESPN is reporting that Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips has decided to have the NFC’s Super Bowl favorite open the playoffs with a different look on offense. According to Cowboys sources, Pro Bowl running back Marion Barber will replace season-long starter Julius Jones in Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.
Although Barber has not started a single game this season, he is responsible for all three of the Cowboys’ individual 100-yard rushing performances. The Cowboys are 8-0 when Barber scores a rushing touchdown. He has 23 rushes for 99 yards and a touchdown in Dallas’ two regular-season victories over the Giants.
"You see how excited he is when he gets up after every run — even if he lost yardage,” Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce said. "He’s one of the toughest backs in the league to bring down even though he’s nowhere near being the biggest. You can’t tackle that guy high because he’ll run you over and he has that great stiff arm.”
Phillips informed Jones of the decision during the bye week so that he had time to recover from his disappointment. According to the source, Jones was upset with the decision and clearly not himself for several days. But he has apparently improved his attitude after being assured he will be rotated into the game and will continue to have the kind of plays he prefers as part of their game plan against the Giants.
It’s a move that many Cowboys fans have been calling for, for the better part of the year. The moves immediately impacts the offense in that they have their best offensive players on the field from start to finish.
I wonder if the fact that Julius Jones leaked his dissatisfaction to media last week prompted the surprise move? Last week Jones indicated that he would not return to the Cowboys, during the bye week.
Either way this is great move by Phillips and it shows that he fully intends to maximize all of his opportunities for the playoffs!
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