An evil presence lurks within the fantasy world. Hiding somewhat inconspicuously, it has emerged to wreak havoc not only on a storied NFL franchise but on the nation of fantasy. I am talking about Jason Garrett, an alleged offensive-coordinator-golden boy who has in fact corrupted the rhythm and productivity of an otherwise high-powered, fantasy-point generating offensive machine.
Garrett’s evil lies in his arrogance. Jason is out to prove that his three-headed running back monster of Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice is the cat’s meow. He therefore blindly rotates these backs in mindless succession. Aside from Barber’s presence on the goal line and Choice’s curious appearance on third downs, there is no consistency to or explanation for Garrett’s revolving-door program. Perhaps Jason is trying to demonstrate the personnel-grouping genius he fancies himself having.
Choice fumbles away victory against the Redskins, yet remains the third-down back. Meanwhile, Felix Jones and his game-breaking speed roams the sidelines. If Jones has difficulty picking up third-down blitzes, the Cowboys’ multimillion dollar coaching staff should help Felix address this deficiency. On the other hand, if Jones has mastered the art of the blitz pick-up, then the former Razorback and his game-changing ability should be on the field rather than the more pedestrian Choice.
Just as he wastes Jones, Garrett is flushing the talent of Marion “the Barbarian” Barber. Garrett refuses to allow Barber to generate any rhythm. Against the Bears, Barber started out plowing through defenders in the early going, only to lose his “mojo” as Garrett’s diabolical rotational system took over. Long-time Cowboy fans may recall the days when Barber served as football’s version of a baseball “closer,” feasting on worn-down defenses in the fourth quarter time and again. Back then, a different Jones–Julius of all people–served as the nominal starter and softener-up of defenses, spelled by Barber every third series or so in the first couple of quarters. Once Dallas got a lead and into the second half, it was hammer time. Barber usually took over the game. Dallas usually won.
Some pundits claim that Dallas’ offensive line woes are responsible for their scoring difficulties. Admittedly, Dallas’ line has been banged up; however, their top talent took the field against the Bears and could produce merely one offensive touchdown. I submit that Garrett’s relentless obsession with a three-back rotation is preventing the entire offense from finding its rhythm. Other than Miles Austin, Dallas’ offense has been utterly disjointed (though props to both Jason Witten and Marion Barber for their obvious and appropriate displays of passion in Weeks 1 and 2); indeed, even Austin misplayed a ball Sunday that resulted in an interception.
Until Dallas returns to their successful formula of the past, they will remain in the current malaise. The absence of a consistent rushing attack, supplemented with a clock-controlling passing offense that includes the tight end, places too much pressure on Tony Romo and his wideouts to produce “the big play.” Sure, physical specimens like Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Felix Jones possess elite, game-breaking ability. However, the recent annual performances of the Oakland Raiders demonstrates what happens to offensive cohesion when too great an emphasis is placed on acquiring “physical specimens” and the offensive priority becomes hitting the big play. Home runs are for baseball.
Dallas’ upcoming match-up with in-state rival Houston will do little than to expose the stark contrast between the Texans’ well-oiled offensive machine and the Cowboys’ current disaster, which pervades even the kicking game. One definition of “insanity” is acting the same way over and over and over again, yet expecting different results. Someone needs to stop this insanity in Dallas. It is time for the madness to end.
In the interest of full disclosure and journalistic integrity, the author acknowledges that he “owns” Dallas RB Marion Barber in one dynasty league; however, Barber is his RB3/4 and, while relevant, not integral to the author’s success (or failures!) in that endeavor. However, the author’s interest in Barber has lured him into repeated viewings of the carney-freak show that is the current Cowboy offense, and that interest therefore is relevant to the opinions stated above.
Scott Rozmus is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Scott in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Goose.
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