Training Camp Battle: Running Back

Today, we take a look at the running back position and what must happen in the upcoming season for the Cowboys' offense to improve.

The Position: Running Back

The Players: Julius Jones (5-10, 217), Aveion Cason (5-10, 204), ReShard Lee (5-10, 232)

Initial Thoughts: Cason is more of a third down back, and Lee has yet to prove himself to the coaching staff, so the natural edge goes to Jones. The Cowboys penciled him in as their #1 running back on the board back in February at the NFL Combine, and they stuck to their principles in trading down to draft him in April.

Interesting Notes (Jones): Jones admitted to SilverStarDigest that he was actually a fan of the Washington Redskins, "I always liked Doug Williams, Art Monk -- I had posters of those guys in my room," he said with a laugh during the Cowboys' rookie mini-camp. "I was just a football fan," he said. "I've always wanted to play in the NFL. So I guess now I have to learn to hate the Redskins, because they're our big rival."

Interesting Notes (Cason): Cason finished the 203 season with 40 carries for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns. 63 of those yards came on one carry against Atlanta in the season opener. While he's shown flashes of brilliance in limited action, he's not viewed as an everyday back in the eyes of Bill Parcells.

Interesting Notes (Lee): Lee was a member of the practice squad last season and was one of four players from the practice squad who re-signed earlier this year. (P Mat McBriar, DT Shaun Smith and OL Dave Volk were the others)

The Edge: The Cowboys drafted Julius Jones because they thought he could become the starter, even as a rookie. In fact, Bill Parcells and Jerry Jones have so much confidence in his abilities, that they passed on Oregon State's Steven Jackson and actually traded down to get him. The only obstacle preventing him from starting against the Minnesota Vikings in the season opener would be the acquisition of a veteran running back during training camp.

Bill Parcells Says: "He's a really humble kid," head coach Bill Parcells said of Jones. "If that changes, I'll keep it in perspective for him. Before the Draft, I had a chance to meet some of the guys we drafted, including Julius. He told me, 'Coach, if you get me, I'll give you all I've got.'

Improvement Needed: With a developing quarterback in Quincy Carter, the ability to consistently run the football will go a long ways in determining how successful the Cowboys can be in 2004. Jones was brought in to replace the struggling Troy Hambrick and gain 1,000 yards in his first season. Anything less than that would be viewed as a failure in the eyes of the organization.

CowboysHQ Top Stories