Player Spotlight: Julius Jones

As Bill Parcells left the Cowboys reactions were likely mixed with players on the team. One player that was likely ecstatic was Julius Jones. Jones seemed to be in Parcells doghouse from time to time after he blew up on the scene in his rookie season in 2004. After a few monster games in his rookie season during weeks twelve thru fourteen, fantasy owners expected the sophomore in 2005 to be a serious threat. The six touchdowns and nearly 450 yards in the course of those three weeks is what Jones teased owners with. Since then Jones has struggled with numerous things. The one factors that have been his downfall has been Marion Barber who ate up his touchdown possibilities last season.

Throughout it all last year though he amassed nearly 1100 yards in his shared duties and scored four times. How will Jones and Barber complement each other in 2007?

Wade Phillips isn’t going to mess with how well the running game worked last season, so a time share is inevitable at the start of the season. One glaring statistic that stood out from last season is how the Cowboys abandoned using Jones around 50 percent of what they were before week eleven. He went from having around twenty carries to down around the ten mark. That’s certainly not enough carries for fantasy owners to be optimistic about.

During those weeks Barber wasn’t necessarily involved in a bigger role, as his carries stayed around the same. Instead the Cowboys were airing it out more and throwing nearly thirty times a game. With that amount of attempts from a quarterback the number of carries from the running back position will be around twenty. Not thirty five, which was what the dual role of Barber and Jones were averaging before hand.

Taking those numbers into account, you have to figure the Cowboys will get back to grinding the football especially under coach Wade Phillips. Pleasing Terrell Owens is not going to be an issue and the offense will function as a true offense should.

If the Cowboys would have kept Jones at the role he should have been for the final seven games, he would had a career year. Maybe around 1450 yards instead of 1100. The potential of the Cowboys backfield will be one of the best duos in football. There is no possible way that Barber will have sixteen touchdowns again. His season will go down as a blessing amongst fantasy football players, sort of like Miami’s Karim Abdul Jabbar when he came out of nowhere and had 16 touchdowns in 1997. Something has to give and it will be Barber’s stats.

Perhaps this will lead to an expected increase in Jones’s numbers. If you could add an extra three to four touchdowns to Jones stats then he would be a very decent number two back. In most drafts thus far Jones is slipping a few rounds more then he should. We expect him to get around 1200 yards with seven touchdowns in rushing numbers alone. He has never been much of a factor as a pass catching back but who knows if a touchdown or two can came from that area as well.