Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Oct 2007

Fun with Dallas on Third Down

I'm working on a sidebar for ESPN The Magazine about how boom-and-bust running backs often leave their teams in third-and-long situations. So I went and did a sort on average yards to go on third down this season. Normally when I say "third down," I mean "third down and the occasional fourth down." This time I did just third down because most fourth down opportunities are short-yardage.

Here are the teams with the fewest yards to go on third down this year:

IND 5.0
HOU 5.4
BAL 5.5
NE 5.7

That makes sense. The Colts have a great running game. The Texans and Patriots love to throw short timing routes on first down to get a few yards. The Ravens love to throw those routes if they are in second-and-long.

Here are the teams with the most yards to go on third down this year:

DAL 8.6
SF 8.3
KC 8.0
MIA 7.8

OK, Miami and San Francisco have horrible offenses this year, Kansas City is getting nothing from Larry Johnson, so those make sense. What is Dallas doing here? How is that offense playing so well when they are constantly stuck in third-and-long?

If you have access to the DVOA Premium Database, you can sort 2007 stats by down, so you know the answer. Here are the top third/fourth down offensive DVOA ratings so far this year:

DAL 90.0%
PIT 44.9%
ARI 44.1%
NE 43.5%
NYJ 43.1%

Wait. Here's passing only:

DAL 133.1%
NYJ 61.6%
NE 61.3%
DEN 56.3%
SEA 53.0%

Wow. That is a serious, serious gap.

Now, I am not saying that Tony Romo is doing it with smoke-and-mirrors. I am not saying that Dallas won't win the NFC. I am not saying that Dallas won't still be one of the top three offenses in the league by the end of the season. I am not saying that Dallas will lose to New England in two weeks.

However, that third-down performance is totally and completely unsustainable, and when it comes back to earth, the Cowboys will not look as formidable as they do now. No team has ever put up a third-down passing DVOA over 100%. Only three teams have ever been over 75%: the 1999 Rams (76.4%), the 2004 Vikings (88.7%), and the 2006 Colts (93.1%).

Two more notes:

1) The Colts are 12th on third downs (22.2% DVOA). The "third-down rebound effect" does not exist during the season the same way it exists between seasons, but given the Colts' history, I think it is safe to say that they are going to be better than this on third downs when the season is over. Which means their offense is underperforming right now. Yikes.

2) Why are the Cowboys in third-and-long so much? Let's look at rushing on first downs:

Julius Jones: 30 carries, 104 yards
Marion Barber: 22 carries, 202 yards

Seriously, what will it take for the Cowboys to actually let Barber start?

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 05 Oct 2007

63 comments, Last at 13 Oct 2007, 1:03am by thestar5

Comments

1
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 1:24pm

Is Barber really bad at pass-blocking? That's the only reason I could think of for keeping him off the field.

2
by countertorque (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 1:42pm

So, was there evidence to support the hypothesis that boom and bust running backs are leaving their teams in a lot of 3rd and longs? It doesn't seem like there are any boom and bust RB's on that list of teams with most yards to go on 3rd down. I haven't heard Julius Jones labelled as boom and bust and I don't watch much Dallas. Does he fit the profile? Are Pit and Car ranked just above Dal on that list?

3
by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 1:42pm

Re 1.
I think Barber is a good pass blocker.
Not devastating or anything
But overall I think him and Jones are about the same.
Its funny, their used to be this ongoing debate amongst Cowboy fans about who was better and who should play more.
I think that debate is over.

4
by Independent George (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 1:42pm

#1 - Actually, by most accounts, Barber is the better blocker, too.

5
by kachunk (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 1:44pm

Say, just don't post this on Fox or AOL, huh? The angry cowboys homers might show up here. Sorta like the Atlanta debacle?

6
by TED F!@#ING GINN!? (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 1:46pm

So what you're saying is: Tony Romo is even more clutch than Tom Brady.

7
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 1:47pm

I knew Barber was a steal in the fourth round, and was ticked off the Vikings didn't take him in the third, thus allowing the Cowboys to take him one spot earlier in the fourth. I couldn't figure out why nobody saw him as a 2nd or 3rd round talent. Were his numbers at the combine that bad?

8
by admin :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 1:49pm

Pittsburgh is 26th, Carolina 23rd.

9
by Independent George (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 1:49pm

However, that third-down performance is totally and completely unsustainable, and when it comes back to earth, the Cowboys will not look as formidable as they do now. No team has ever put up a third-down passing DVOA over 100%.

This is true, but only if all things remain equal; It seems likely that thier 1st & 2nd down DVOA will improve at the same time their 3rd down DVOA drops, particularly if Barber starts getting more carries.

Then again, isn't Wade Phillips the guy who started Rob Johnson over Doug Flutie?

10
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 2:08pm

Me from the Week 4 DVOA ratings (# 154), on this and a few other interesting splits.

Am I the only one who thinks it’s frightening that Indy’s offense is 12th in 3rd/4th down offensive DVOA and is still this good?
At least Dallas’ 85% DVOA on 3rd/4th downs shows they can’t sustain their current production. And New England’s 3rd/4th down offensive DVOA is within a couple points of their overall offensive DVOA.

BTW, Philly is 4th in 1st down off. DVOA, 16th on 2nd down, and 29th on 3rd/4th down.
Also, Det, KC are 1-2 on 3rd/4th down defensive DVOA.

:: throughthelookingglass — 10/2/2007 @ 11:59 pm

11
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 2:08pm

Re: 9

Why would their 1st & 2nd down performance and their 3rd down performance necessarily have to be inversely proportional? I don't see any reason to think their performance on early downs is an abnormality. On the other hand, having a 3rd down passing DVOA 40% higher than any team has ever achieved does seem like a fairly large abnormality.

12
by Independent George (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 2:42pm

#11 - I kind of mangled my comment; I meant to say that I would expect to see their 1st/2nd down DVOA to improve if they make the seemingly inevitible switch from Jones to Barber. If it happened at roughly the same time, the effects could very well cancel each other out.

I don't know that going to Barber more often would necessarily improve 1st/2nd down performance that significantly, but it's not an unreasonable thought.

13
by Tom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 2:45pm

There are a lot more 1st and 2nd downs for most teams, so with a larger sample size, it is less likely that it is the abnormality.

14
by Scott (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 2:58pm

Dallas had a lot of offensive penalties the first three games, but none against the Rams until the fourth quarter. Keeping the penalties low might be the best way the first and second down performance can be improved.

If Terry Glenn returns for the second half of the year and plays for Wade the way he did for Tuna, that would give them the speed receiver they don't currently have, which might mean they can spread the defense out a little more on early downs and open up some better running lanes.

As a Cowboy fan, I'm still more concerned about the defense. Brian Leonard was gashing them for five-to-eight yards on his first down runs, but poor play calling and Bulger's broken ribs meant the Rams couldn't turn their successful first down gains into points. Losing Ferguson for the year was a huge loss, and I doubt Tank Johnson, though he might play fine once he finally joins the team, will be the kind of NT Ferg was.

And I don't buy that the Boys ILBs and safeties have suddenly become good pass coverage guys. A balanced attack is going to do serious damage.

In order to beat the Pats in a couple of weeks, Dallas will have to do what it hasn't been able to do all year: score a bunch of points early (and hope they can stop the Pats from doing the same).

15
by Len (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 3:01pm

Very interesting. As a (halfway intelligent) Cowboy fan, the notion that their third down passing offense has been good passes the visual test of what I have seen this year.

I wonder what the breakdown by half is.

What I have seen is a first-half offense that sends Julius Jones into the OL wall to fall down a bunch, then make long third-down throws. But what happens in the second-half is that when the offense catches fire, they'll get down the field in 20 and 30 yard chunks, often scoring in 2 or 3 plays. Lots of fans have complained about the short start and have wondered if Jason Garrett is scoping out the defense with a conservative game plan and then aggressively exploiting weaknesses he discovers as the game moves along.

All that to say that while I completely agree that Barber should be the starter, I also wonder if the Garrett's approach has something to do with the numbers. I'd love to see the breakdown by half.

16
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 3:17pm

10: I'm not surprised at all that Detroit is #1 in 3rd/4th down defensive DVOA:

Oakland w/Josh McCown
Minnesota w/Tavaris Jackson
Philadelphia w/Super McNabb (did they even have third downs?)
Chicago w/Bad Brian

Is Kevin Curtis still using that cloaking device?

17
by Cosmos (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 3:33pm

#6
3rd and long use to be the Cowboy killer now, I dont sweet it with Romo. It's like he has to be in 3rd & long to be successful. It was the same way last year....

18
by Cosmos (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 3:42pm

Or as Jaws puts it in his ESPN column:

"The Cowboys have a tremendous attack this season....I was amazed at how potent they are at every dimension of the offense....The passing game attacks from sideline to sideline, vertically and with screens."

19
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 4:50pm

I just wanted to chime in that I really like what you're doing with Extra Points now: this type of brief(er) analysis of one particular issue/aspect/player/team is really fun and interesting.

20
by Omar (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 4:54pm

If the Cowboys should happen to beat the Patriots, will we then have to hear that they really haven't beaten anyone considering that the Pats wont have beaten anyone by then?

And if the Cowboys haven't beaten anyone, would a Patriot victory mean anything?

Of the two teams, has either beaten a .500/.500+ team?

21
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 4:55pm

Will,

Here's one draft preview for Barber that looks pretty good, particularly if he's improved his blocking:
http://cowboys.scout.com/2/373299.html

Another preview says:
Marion Barber III, 5-11, 221lbs, 4.51, Minnesota: Junior entry. Big, aggressive, tough, and powerful back. Has good vision and instincts. Has quick feet and cuts well. Better inside runner than outside runner, but he can turn the corner. Runs with power and can break tackles. Lacks ideal speed and elusiveness. Hard worker. Not used much in the passing game in college. Needs to improve his pass protection.

Sounds pretty solid to me. The major negative seems to be a lack of speed, but he ran 4.49-4.51, and J.J. Arrington ran a 4.45 and was a "speed" back. Not to mention that the first preview said he played faster in pads.

I don't know if there has ever been a player who "played faster in pads" that hasn't been successful... that was what Bill Walsh said about Jerry Rice, too.

22
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 5:06pm

"Needs to improve his pass protection."

Thats about the biggest problem a RB can have.

23
by Costa (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 5:22pm

20: Why would you bring up this completely off-topic, volatile and done-to-death topic here in this thread? :(

24
by Jim (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 5:26pm

Re 20:

The Giants are looking pretty good right now (and are at .500).

Re 11:

I would expect 1st/2nd down and 3rd/4th down performance to regress to the mean over time. For Dallas, that would mean the former getting better and the latter getting worse.

25
by Jim (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 5:36pm

On the other hand:

Dallas Cowboys Offensive DVOA, 2006 (from PFP 2007)
1st Down: 1.9%
2nd Down: 5.0%
3rd Down: 33.6%

So they've been doing this for the entire Tony Romo era. Yes, small sample size, but it bears watching.

26
by Omar (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 5:38pm

Re#24

1)Because everything I hear about my teams success is followed by some dig about strength of schedule/this cant be sustained when the same could easily be said about the Pats.

2)Why discuss any of it when the results will play themselves out on the field?

It's fun stirring up smack - that's one of the joys of the marriage of sports fandom and the interwebs.

27
by Omar (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 5:40pm

re 26

I meant re 23

28
by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 5:41pm

Re 20:

Not to beat that topic to death, but the fact is that there is no such thing as a "nobody" team in the NFL (Detroit and Arizona's resurgence this year proves it). It's true that beating only infinitely bad teams says nothing about how good your team is, but there is no such thing as an infinitely bad team in real life. Beating an 0-4 team still counts for something, and beating bad teams enough is probably enough to say you're pretty good.

29
by Costa (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 5:43pm

12, 24:

While regression to the mean on both 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th is should help to somewhat maintain a balance, I think one aspect Cowboy fans reading this article should take as a silver lining is that it's reasonable to think that a better performance on 1st/2nd due to a switch to Marion Barber should mean less 3rd down opportunities.

Having watched all 4 Dallas games this season in their entirety (except for the 4th quarter of last game because FOX switched to GB-Min since it was out of reach), it seems to me like the Cowboys have been faced with a 3rd down on a very high percentage of their sets of downs. A better success rate on 1st and 2nd should further offset a regression on 3rd since they would thus avoid the frequency of occurrence. (Or maybe I'm grasping at straws =P)

30
by Omar (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 5:44pm

re :23

One more reason (and I'm sure Pats fans can relate here) is that once your team becomes a "public" team, almost any objective analysis gets derailed by the bias created by your teams popularity/success.

People love to hate the Cowboys (and I understand why) but it also seems to create a reluctance to just say "The Cowboys are good."

31
by Alex (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 5:55pm

“Needs to improve his pass protection.�

Thats about the biggest problem a RB can have.

I don't think so. An acute case of fumblitis is far worse.

32
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 7:33pm

Alex (#31 )--

Acute fumbleitis is not so bad.

Chronic fumbleitis is terrible, and is usually treated by radical rosterectomy.

33
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 9:42pm

What the heck is acute fumbleitis? The running back is just running along, no one near him, and whoops! Out comes the ball?

34
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 9:45pm

#20: Yes? The Cowboys beat the Giants, who are 2-2.

35
by Alex (not verified) :: Fri, 10/05/2007 - 11:34pm

What the heck is acute fumbleitis? The running back is just running along, no one near him, and whoops! Out comes the ball?

No, it's when a RB has a bunch of fumbles in a very short time span. Although I should have said chronic fumbleitis, as Starshatterer pointed out, to convey the idea of a recurring difficulty in holding onto the ball.

Chronic fumbleitis is terrible, and is usually treated by radical rosterectomy.

Occasionally it requires a radical operation of that nature, but in some cases, like Tiki Barber, it can be successfully cured with a large dose of Dr. Coughlin's frozen elixir, usually in "hold onto the d*mn ball, you idiot" flavor.

36
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/06/2007 - 2:33am

Although I should have said chronic fumbleitis

Perhaps the humor was lost on you...

37
by mrparker (not verified) :: Sat, 10/06/2007 - 11:46am

/
/
/--------------/
/
/

As long as romo has enough time for T.O to keep doing that their 3rd down efficiency won't change.

That teams can't cheat up on T.o without Witten killing them on third down also helps.

Then Romo is a very accurate down field passer who buys alot of time so blitzing is kind of risky.

I'll be real interested to see what Belichek draws up for them.

I would literally
1. Have the opposite side outside linebacker just stand there and wait for the crossing route. Give help over the top on the outlet reciever down the sideline. and double team witten with the other safety. Spy Romo with my middle backer. And just rush four on fourth. Honestly, easy as pie until Glenn gets back.

38
by mrparker (not verified) :: Sat, 10/06/2007 - 11:48am

I tried to draw a crossing route

but I guess the format doesn't like me trying to do that

39
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Sat, 10/06/2007 - 11:59am

33.

Thats exactly it. Patrick Pass had it in 2005.

40
by Nick (not verified) :: Sat, 10/06/2007 - 3:34pm

Good information although you have one thing wrong. Dallas is not going to win the NFC Seattle is.

41
by thestar5 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/06/2007 - 5:53pm

Part of the difference is probably because Dallas has to pass on 3rd down, and they are just unbelievably good at that. On second down and especially first down sometimes they just do inside runs for a 1-2 yard gain.

42
by JFF (not verified) :: Sun, 10/07/2007 - 1:24am

The numbers are skewed and the sample size too small.

94 of those Barber yards have come on 2 runs in the 4th QTR of blowout games. More than 1/2 of his total yards have come in the 4th QTR after their massive OL has beaten their opponents DL into submission. He's averaging 8.4YPC in the 4th QTR, but only 3.8 in the first half of games this year.

Dallas has been in third and long so often because of a massive amount of offensive penalties as much as anything else. That is correctable.

Calling JJ the "Starter" is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, he starts the game, but they alternate every 2 series or so, and Barber generally comes in on big third down situations whether it's JJ's "turn", or not.

Barber was the 3rd down back last year. He only converted 50% of 3rd and 1 carries, last in the NFL.

Most importantly, Dallas is averaging 152 rush yds/game so whatever they are doing is working just fine.

43
by RickD (not verified) :: Sun, 10/07/2007 - 5:20am

re: 20
The Pats have beaten 2 playoff teams from last season. And many people thought the Bengals could win the division this season. So I wouldn't knock the Pats' schedule that much.

Or to put it another way: if, six weeks ago somebody had said "sure the Pats have clobbered the Chargers, Jets, and Bengals, but we won't know if they're really good until they go to Dallas", that comment would have been widely mocked.

44
by Sammy (not verified) :: Sun, 10/07/2007 - 10:43am

As the NFL Hype Machine builds up steam for the "great" Week 6 matchup of two undefeated teams that have beat teams with a combined total wins of 7, everyone overlooks the games this week.

The Bills are 1-3, but they played the Broncos down to the last second. Their combined opponents wins total at 10. This is the first home Monday night game in Buffalo for over 10 years, and the home field advantage will be significant.

The Browns are 2-2, including victories over media darlings Baltimore and Cincinnati. Their opponents have won 8 games.

Both of these games will be a lot closer than the media wants them to be.

45
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (not verified) :: Sun, 10/07/2007 - 11:33am

Re: 44

The Ravens are media darlings? They seem pretty boring to me. I mean, the media has to look to the defense to find big name players, and nobody even talks about Ray Lewis anymore.

Also, why will Buffalo's home field advantage be significant? Do you think being on Monday somehow makes the home team a bigger favorite?

46
by Sammy (not verified) :: Sun, 10/07/2007 - 11:40am

Solid straw man 45.

I don't know off hand, but I'd bet the MNF home team wins more than the run of the mill Sunday afternoon home team.

47
by Omar (not verified) :: Sun, 10/07/2007 - 4:11pm

re #43

The Cowboys have beaten 3 playoff teams from last year including the NFC champs.

48
by Omar (not verified) :: Sun, 10/07/2007 - 4:13pm

re #47

I meant 2 playoff teams from last year

49
by Sammy (not verified) :: Sun, 10/07/2007 - 5:15pm

Who cares about playoff teams from last year? This year is what counts.

The Cowboys have yet to beat a single team that will make the playoffs this year (except maybe the Giants, but that's only because the NFC is terrible). Out of 3 winless teams in the NFL, they have played 2. The Bills have played 2 teams certain to make the playoffs (including the likely Super Bowl champion) and probably 3 counting the Broncos.

People don't give enough weight to strength of schedule. Look at the Jets this year. 10-6 last year with the easiest schedule in the NFL. 1-4 this year with very few personnel changes and the 5th most difficult schedule in the NFL.

50
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (not verified) :: Sun, 10/07/2007 - 10:20pm

Re: 46

Straw man? I'm just questioning your claim. Your defense seems to be "I bet my claim is true." Well, I don't know offhand either, but I bet that there's no significant difference between home teams' win percentage on Monday night compared to Sunday.

Since you disagree, maybe you can provide some possible reason why you think you are right.

51
by Sammy (not verified) :: Sun, 10/07/2007 - 10:28pm

My only claim is that the assumption that the Cowboys will easily defeat the Bills is a serious overreaction based on the strength of schedule for the Cowboys and the Bills. That's all.

http://www.geocities.com/mnf_rigged/stats.html

That's admittedly sketchy, but it is what a quick Google search provided. One year of evidence does not an argument make, but for the year I can find that's pretty stunning.

52
by Sammy (not verified) :: Sun, 10/07/2007 - 10:31pm

Sorry, that link goes to show increased home field advantage for MNF home teams over other home teams.

53
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 1:10am

Sammy,

That link demonstrates that Monday night home teams had a very successful year in 2000.

However, it also notes how home Monday night teams were horrible in 2001 and played pretty much as expected in 2002.

So where is the evidence that Monday night home teams have a big advantage? All I see is huge variability due to small sample size.

As to Dallas and Buffalo, you may be overrating the impact of strength of schedule. Unless Dallas has faced the worst teams in the league and Buffalo the best (well they did face NE), it's hard to see how SOS could account for such a disparity in performance.

54
by Sammy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 1:40am

Once again, I point to the difference in the Jets. What else could possibly explain that?

55
by Sammy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 1:42am

Sorry for two posts, but Dallas HAS played 2 of the worst 3 teams in the league, and Buffalo HAS played one of the remaining undefeated teams.

I think this is easy money if you take Buffalo with the spread.

56
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 1:58am

Once again, I point to the difference in the Jets. What else could possibly explain that?

Luck. An easy schedule didn't allow them to beat the Patriots in week 10. They had a significant number of lucky wins last year, and now their luck is going back to normal.

57
by fiddycentbeer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 7:22am

#7:

Some did see Barber as a 2nd/3rd round back. Problem was: there were a lot of RB in that category, that year.

The estimable NFLdraftscout (NFLds)had small/mids like Arrington, Morency, Moats, Fason, Gore and Sproles from R2 to R3/4. They had bigs like Shelton, KJ Harris, and Jacobs in the same area. All ranked below those 3 RB taken in the top 5 that year: Ronnie Brown, Cadillac and Benson.

With Barber, that's 13. It never happens, or almost never happens, that 13 RB are selected Day 1. Then too, an unusual number of DB were taken that year crowding out RB, among other spots). Barber, Jacobs, Fason and Sproles fell into day 2. Harris was a UDFA. Some quality OL were pressed into R4 too, but that's a different subject.

Workouts weren't an issue. Barber tested well, tho, iirc, he did his on campus, not at Indy. Led all RB in vertical jump (40") and long jump (10-7). Ran fast enough, a click under 4.5; lifted enough. Productive player over 4 years, and team-oriented too.

Three raps on Barber: injury issues including a medical redshirt (hamstring) and a knee scare. He'd never been the guy, splitting time with Maroney, among others; some imagined he was a product of the Gopher system. He was said to lack game breaking ability.

Contrary to the scouting blurb posted above, NFLds evaluated his pass pro as superior to most RB prospects in that class. Tutored by his father, a former player, so had an all-around skill set. Thate generic comment: needs to improve pp..." surely attaches to most college superstar RB.

58
by Podge (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 11:54am

#22

I'll be honest, I think the biggest problem a running back can have is not having arms, legs or a head.

59
by Wes M (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 1:24pm

#5 Say, just don’t post this on Fox or AOL, huh? The angry cowboys homers might show up here. Sorta like the Atlanta debacle?

And how is that (invoking the FOMBC,) working out for the Falcons? I say post it to FOX - bring down the 'Boys franchise for the next decade! (jk)

60
by Yakuza Rich (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 1:26pm

Barber's blocking is fine. The problem is that he's never been a full time back, even in college and Julius Jones doesn't help the equation. Jones doesn't work on 3rd down because he's terrible in short yardage and is inconsistent in blocking. So, if you were to start Barber, he's likely to get too many carries because he's almost a must to have on 3rd downs. Thus, you start getting him near the dreaded 375 carries in a season instead of keeping him in the 200's. Jones has dramatically improved his pass receiving though, so on some 3rd and longs they are starting to use him more since he can catch the ball effectively.

61
by Sammy (not verified) :: Tue, 10/09/2007 - 1:26am

Look who was right.

62
by Omar (not verified) :: Tue, 10/09/2007 - 11:49am

A broken clock is right twice a day

63
by thestar5 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 1:03am

Sammy, you're not making much sense. You say the 2-3 Broncos (who would be 1-4 if the Bills had won) are probably a playoff team, but the 3-2 Giants are a maybe, and you don't even give the Bears a chance. Try to at least be fair to both sides.