FO Mailbag: Barber vs. Jones
Jason Stubbs: I am a Cowboys fan... and the biggest mystery is who is a better running back, Jones or Barber. All the fans believe it is Barber, but others say Barber has better numbers because he gets the late-game carries when the defense is tired. How can us Cowboys fans get a real proof that Barber is better on any down at any point of the game?
Aaron Schatz: The idea that Barber gets a benefit from playing more later in the game was somewhat true last year, but it isn't true this year. This year, Barber is better than Jones in every situation. In addition, this year, their usage is much more similar. Last year, 56 percent of Jones carries came in the first half, but only 32 percent of Barber carries. This year, 52 percent of Jones carries come in the first half, and 41 percent of Barber carries.
Last year, Jones was slightly better in the first half, and Barber much better in the second half, and when you combined that with Barber usually taking the second-half runs, it did contribute to the difference in yardage per carry. In Success Rate, however, Barber was always better.
Let's take a look, shall we? First, here is 2006 performance by quarter, with yards per carry and Success Rate:
Barber had fewer yards per carry in the first half -- despite a higher Success Rate -- because he came in for short-yardage situations. That's not as much the case this year, as you will see in a moment. First, here are the equivalent 2007 numbers by quarter:
Another way Barber is better is by down. These numbers combine 2006 and 2007 because Jones only had three carries on third down in 2006.
Barber is better. Period.