There Is A Bright Side

26-game, injury-abbreviated NFL career he has been able to do that - having only once even rushed for 100 yards in back-to-back games. In fact, this is the first time a Cowboys running back has strung together three consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts since Emmitt Smith in 2000. 

Only five NFL running backs have rushed for more than Jones' 494 yards, and three of those have played one more game. When it comes to average yards per game, Jones is at 98.8, and only the Giants' Tiki Barber (106.6) and Atlanta's Warrick Dunn (102.2) have averaged better. 

At this point, Jones is on pace for a 1,580-yard season. You'd have to go back to Smith's 1,773-yard season in 1995, the Cowboys' single-season high, to find more rushing yards in a single season. In fact, only Smith (twice more), Tony Dorsett (1,646) and Herschel Walker (1,563) have ever rushed for more than 1,500 yards in a season in club history. 

Steven Who? While Rams running back Steven Jackson, the guy the Cowboys passed on to select Jones and then have the ability to draft Marcus Spears the following season, does have 521 yards this season, that's in six games, giving him 86.8 yards a game. Just thought you should know. 

But it's not just Jones who has fueled the Cowboys' running game. Marion Barber continues to earn carries, and maybe even more, according to Parcells. Barber has chipped in another 186 yards rushing while primarily being used as a third-down and red-zone back. Here's the kicker, though. He's averaging five yards a carry and already has scored four rushing touchdowns, giving him nine in his 18-game NFL career. Not bad for a backup guy. 

Only three tandems in the NFL have combined for more than the 680 rushing yards of Jones-Barber. Atlanta's Warrick Dunn and rookie Jerious Norwood have 737 yards. Hey, the Cowboys' duo has more rushing yards than the Saints' Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush (639). 

This is a good sign. One of the best signs. Because your passing game will come and go, just as the Cowboys have witnessed. Turnovers will come and go. And the weather sure can be fickle, and enough so to have rained on both home games so far this season, which has to be some kind of Texas Stadium back-to-back record. 

But the two constants for putting together a winning football team have to be the ability to run the ball and play defense. Right now, the Cowboys, as pointed out earlier, are tied for third in rushing offense in the NFL, and currently rank sixth in total defense. Plus, check this out: Of the NFL's top 10 rushing offenses, only Pittsburgh, Washington and San Francisco have losing records. 

Not bad, not bad company at all. 

"We just got to play a little bit better than we're playing," said Parcells, which considering his glass-half-empty disposition, that's really encouraging. "I think we can improve across the board - (but) we'd be hard-pressed to improve on our punts." 

Ah, punting, silly me. Forgot to mention punting among the sunshine indicators. Punter Mat McBriar leads the league in average and is second in net punting. 

So, you know, everyone wants better. No one wants to waste opportunities. Understandable. 

But hey, do yourself a favor. Take a moment to enjoy. There is some blue sky out there.                                         

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Advertising