As I've often said, if you give Jerry Jones enough time in front of a camera or tape recorder, he'll eventually contradict himself. But in the curious case of the Marion Barber-Felix Jones discussion, the Cowboys owner waited a couple of months to change course. Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com has all the details. Apparently Barber's done something during five OTA sessions to catch Jerry's razor-sharp scouting eye.
"I know this: He looks quicker," Jones said of Barber on Tuesday. "I think that is going to make him even more effective. He's just in great shape. He looks as good out here just in these initial practices as I've seen him look in his career. You could easily go from there and look at what his role might be, and it'd certainly be on par with anything he's done."
To translate Jerryspeak, he apparently means the Cowboys will stick with a Barber-Jones-Tashard Choice rotation at running back. In March, I listened to Jones talk about how the team was having discussions about changing up the order. The way Felix finished the season, it seemed like a no-brainer that he would take over as the starter and lead back. Here's what I wrote immediately after talking to Jerry two months ago at the owners meetings in Orlando:
Will the Cowboys consider making Felix Jones the starting running back? In an answer to that exact question, Jones said, "Yes. That has been a consideration."
He said he can see some "advantages" in starting Marion Barber, but that the decision in the past has been pretty tough for the coaches to make. Jones rambled on about the possibility of "two-back sets", but he made it abundantly clear that Felix will have a shot to win the starting job. He said he does not worry about Barber's tendency to get injured because of the "dynamic" players the Cowboys have at his position. The owner indicated that Felix's role in the offense has been a popular topic among the coaches. Reading between lines, I think there's a 95 percent chance the Cowboys will go ahead and make the change heading into 2010. Barber will obviously be disappointed, but perhaps being the closer will revive his career and help justify his large contract."
After reading the Cowboys owner's comments Tuesday evening, I'd like to lower that "95 percent" number just a tad. Are you guys fine with Barber starting or were you hoping Jones would get the nod? Do you believe Jerry when he indicates that he'll probably leave the rotation the way it is?