just yet. In fact, the running backs themselves are embracing it. Looks like they've called themselves something like "Smash, Dash & Tash."
Nice. Seems easy to follow. I'm still not sure why every team in the league has to have some running back combination like that. You would think we could get something more original.
But I'm not campaigning for a new name or anything. My point is that, for now, there really is no problem.
It's practice time. They all get reps and they all get the ball. It won't even be a problem in the preseason. Barber will get a few touches and the same goes for Felix. Choice might get more in the first half and then let guys like Keon Lattimore and Alonzo Coleman take care of the second half. (And watch out for Lattimore, by the way. He looks a little leaner this year, but he's still a bigger back with some speed. He probably has no shot at the 53-man roster, but a practice squad spot would be ideal.)
But once we get to the regular season, this has to be worked out. You can say all you want right now that it's a good problem to have or that you can never have too many good backs.
Actually, you can. You can have too many. It can be a problem if you're not utilizing your best players. It WAS a problem against the Redskins. For whatever reason, Felix Jones didn't get a single carry. He didn't get one pass thrown to him.
Now, that happens sometimes. But I bet it's never happened to a rookie who has scored three touchdowns in his first three games, but yet the fourth game he finds himself shut out.
OK, so the Cowboys rectified that a little the next week. You could tell they made a point to get the rock to Felix against the Bengals. He was the primary option on some plays and it worked. He rushed for 96 yards on nine carries, including a 33-yard touchdown. Barber had a nice day as well, getting 84 yards on 23 attempts.
But throwing a third back into the mix can, and likely will, be tricky.
I say that because I really don't have a solution myself. I have thought about it several times and it still seems difficult to get all three backs involved, especially when you have a quarterback and an offensive coordinator that like to throw the ball around like they do.
I've heard suggestions that Barber should be saved until the fourth quarter, but I don't see the point in that. Yes, he's great at the end. But he's pretty darn good at the beginning, too. If you save a guy for too long there might not be a reason to save him at all.
Personally, I think you go with Barber as the starting tailback and Choice as the backup. Like many other teams around the league using two backs, you try to split up the carries like that. Maybe Choice gets in every third series or something.
And no, I haven't forgotten about Felix. And trust me, the Cowboys haven't either. But I view him as something completely different than the other two. The Cowboys must create a unique role for this guy that is unlike any other player.
Felix should play everywhere. Put him in the backfield alone at times. Put him back there with either of the other two backs. Put him in the slot, line him out wide. Run some reverses with him and run some fake reverses with him.
Put him back there in the Wildcat, either getting the snap or taking it from the quarterback. And definitely, without a doubt or hesitation, put him back on kickoff returns. Use him everywhere in his own, unique way.
So technically, he's a running back, but he's lined up all over the place. As for the true tailback spot? Barber and Choice can split that.
Will that work? I don't know. That would just be my solution to the problem. And yes, potentially it could be a problem.
Right now, it's a good problem to have. Wonder if it will stay that way come September.