RB Combo Creates Present Danger

just like that. One play, 60 yards, touchdown.

Just what the doctored ordered.

"You can do all that," Cowboys veteran outside linebacker Greg Ellis said of overloading your defense to stop one or two guys, "but you expose yourself to a Miles Austin and our two running backs, who have shown what they can do.

"Kind of like pick your poison. The job is not just to stop T.O., the job is to win the football game."

And the Packers didn't, obviously, the Cowboys taking home a 27-16 victory. And when it was over, Romo still passed for 260 yards and the Cowboys rushed for 217, the most since matching that same total against Tennessee in 2006 and never more since going for 222 against the Redskins in 2003 behind the 189 yards of Troy Hambrick, of all people.

Ellis said he can never remember in his previous 10 years here the Cowboys ever selling out on defense to take out just one guy, as teams seem to think they can to stop Owens.

Cowboys secondary coach Dave Campo, the former head coach and defensive coordinator, says, oh yeah, they set up their defense similarly with the Jaguars to neutralize Cincinnati's Chad Johnson. But as he pointed out, the Bengals didn't have T.J. Houshmandzadeh active that day.

"But you better be able to handle the run with a seven-man front," Campo said. And when asked if a defense can double two guys, like T.O. and Witten, then single the other receiver, he said, "yeah, and then you only have five in the box."

That ain't working against Barber, and it sure as heck is not enough guys around Felix Jones at the line of scrimmage, which once he negotiates is a threat to take it to the house every time.

And after Sunday night's game, and who knows, other teams might have more machismo than others, but do you now want to get in the business of singling up Austin all the time? You never know when he'll waylay you on a deep one.

So a pretty dangerous offense last year might just be growing even more so this season if three games, especially the last one, are any indication. Come on, who would have ever thought the Cowboys could score 27 points on Wisconsin-Green Bay if Owens only catches two passes in the game and Crayton none?

Austin's emergence helps. But bottom line is Felix Jones completes the package, giving the Cowboys exactly what they had counted on from their departed Jones, Julius, who is doing in Seattle now what the Cowboys were counting on him doing last year.

"I think their different styles are something that presents a problem to the defense because you have Marion that's more of a pounder, pounder but also has speed that sometimes people misjudge his speed. And then Felix comes in, and they are used to taking an angle to tackle Marion and all of a sudden the guy now is a little faster and the angles are off," Cowboys running backs coach Skip Peete said.

"They know he's in there, but all of a sudden you are reacting like you've been reacting for five or six plays to tackle Marion and now suddenly there is a different guy in there and the speed is different."

No longer will teams be willing to say, "Fine, we'll take T.O. out, devote a lot of attention to Witten and just accept Barber's pounding because, if nothing else, he's rarely ripping off a 50-yarder." Which likely delighted the Giants in that playoff game when the Cowboys came out playing smash-mouth football, running the ball, running the ball with Barber, but at the same time shortening the game and giving their big-play offense fewer opportunities to strike.

But now, yo, they can run the ball and strike, this egoless Barber-Jones combo quickly becoming all the rage in the NFL. Because now, with the addition of this long-distance runner, who you stoppin'? T.O.? Witten? T.O. and Witten? Romo?

Fine, and you might be willing to take your chances with Crayton and Austin, depending on your personnel. But Crayton, Austin and Barber-Jones?

Your move Redskins.

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