Position Series: Running Back Panel Convenes Again

Parcells' "closer" nickname for Barber was well-deserved. Barber led the NFC in scoring among non-kickers with 96 points last season, including 14 rushing touchdowns. His 16 total touchdowns was the highest single-season total by a Cowboys player since Emmitt Smith's 25 in 1995.

Thanks largely to Barber's growing nose for the end zone, the Cowboys led the conference with a 60.3 touchdown percentage in the red zone. Their 285 red zone points also ranked fourth in the league behind San Diego (346), Indianapolis (334) and New England (305). Not bad company.

Jones' first injury-free season and first 1,000-yard performance of his career were no coincidence. The fourth-year back finally stayed healthy enough to become the Cowboys' first 1,000-yard rusher since Smith in 2001. His 1,084 yards ranked 17th in the league.

Don't Be Surprised If: Jones has another career year with his contract expiring after the season. His production always depends on the number of carries he gets, but Jones is out to prove he's an elite back and will be looking to cash in with a lucrative long-term deal.

Fitting In Projected Starters:
Julius Jones (HB) - Got plenty of help from Marion Barber and still had his best NFL season yet.
Oliver Hoyte (FB) - Gets early edge as the incumbent, but will be pushed by Deon Anderson and Lousaka Polite.
Solid Backups:
Marion Barber (HB) - Didn't start but was one of the offense's most valuable players. Will his role continue to expand?
Tyson Thompson (HB) - Back from injury, but will get pushed by rookies for third spot.
Deon Anderson (FB) - Classic lead blocker wants to show he was worth a sixth-round pick.
Uphill Climb:
Lousaka Polite (FB) - Has experience, but will get pushed by the younger Anderson.
Jackie Battle (HB) - Might be a "mini-closer" in training.
Alonzo Coleman (HB) - Small-school product has great feet and quickness.

Up Next:
Defensive line

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