By any name, 'Marion the Barbarian' a vital part of Cowboys offense Print
Written by Admin   
Thursday, 20 September 2007 09:53
NFL Headline News

 IRVING, Texas (AP) - The moniker ``MB3'' served Marion Barber III pretty well for most of his life, at least through his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys. Then Bill Parcells suggested Barber be known as ``The Closer'' because of his ability to end drives with touchdown runs.
Now teammate Terrell Owens has bestowed Barber with perhaps the most-fitting nickname: ``Marion the Barbarian.''
Anyone who has seen him run, and certainly anyone who has tried tackling him, understands the reference.
The 6-foot, 221-pound Barber is what coaches call a downhill runner, someone who picks up steam as he chugs along. He lowers his shoulders and runs over defenders instead of going around them - unless he first shoves them out of the way with a stiff arm.
But Barber is at his best in tight spaces, when he needs to bash open his own holes. Like near the goal line.
Barber led the NFC with 14 rushing touchdowns last season. Nine came from 3 yards or less. Only one covered more than nine yards.
``He kind of challenges people and dares not to be stopped,'' Owens said. ``It's sort of barbaric. That's how I came up with the nickname.''
Barber is tied for the NFL lead with three TDs this season. He had a pair Sunday in a victory over Miami: a typical 1-yarder burrowing through the line and a 40-yarder that was a career best by 12 yards.
Yet the play that sums up Barber's style was his very first carry against the Dolphins. It was only a five-yard gain around the right end, but it ended with his helmet being ripped off by trash-talking linebacker Joey Porter, drawing a personal foul.
Earlier in the week, Porter had said, ``Barber thinks he's a tough guy sometimes. ... That's my type of fight, so I'm going to be looking for him.'' If this opening salvo was meant as further intimidation, it didn't work. Barber finished with 89 yards, his most in 26 games and the third-best of his career.
Asked this week if his opinion of Barber had changed, Porter said: ``It doesn't matter.''
Barber is no trash-talker. In fact, he's not much of a talker at all, at least not to reporters.
He's also not much of a complainer about splitting time with Julius Jones. Jones is the starter and Barber is, well, the closer.
Their combination is a classic blend of speed (Jones) and power (Barber). Jones gets more carries but Barber gets more out of his, averaging more yards per carry and, of course, piling up more TDs.
``It's a team,'' Jones said. ``He's doing a good job. He breaks tackles well and he's productive. It's a good combination. If I'm having a tough day, where defenses are sticking me like they were (in Miami) that's when he breaks loose. I'm sure the same will go the other way. That's the way it is.''
Fans have been wanting Barber to get the ball more since he was a rookie in 2005. Alas, this may be the one area where new coach Wade Phillips and Parcells agree the most: Why mess with a good thing? It's also worth noting that Barber was at his best in college when he shared the load at Minnesota with Laurence Maroney, now the starter in New England.
``I see everybody's point that Marion's doing some great things for us and that's what we hoped he'll do but the other guy is doing some good things for us too,'' Phillips said. ``I think it's working the way we're doing it.''
Even with Jones off to a slow start, the Cowboys have scored 82 points, most in the NFL. Their 47 points from inside the opponents' 20-yard line is more than 21 teams have scored overall.
That trend is likely to slow when Dallas goes to Chicago on Sunday night.
The Bears' ferocious defense is based on stopping the run. They've already slowed LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson and now will be ready for Barber and Jones.
``I think the main thing is they've got fresh legs in there all the time,'' Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher said. ``Jones is the straight-ahead speed guy. Barber is more of the cutback, patient guy.''
Urlacher made no bring-it-on challenge, a la Porter.
He even seemed to take offense at the idea a Barbarian was headed his way.
``Is that what he is?'' Urlacher said in a testy voice. ``A smashmouth guy?''
He'll find out soon enough.
---
AP Sports Writer Steve Wine in Miami contributed.
 

NFL Team Pages

Top NFL Public Bets

View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

NFL Futures

NFL TEAM CONFERENCE ODDS CURRENT
DENVER BRONCOS 11/4
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 13/4
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 7/2
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 4/1
GREEN BAY PACKERS 7/1
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 10/1
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 10/1
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 12/1
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 12/1
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 12/1
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com