"What Would Julius Do?''
What Would Julius Do with the carries given to others? What Would Julius Do with a short pass in the open field? What Would Julius Do if not for this insistence on "protecting'' him, or "saving'' him?
The argument that Julius needs fewer carries is fascinating to me. Of course, I'm a bit perverse; I also loved the argument that Wayne Gretzky should've taken fewer shots, that Jack Nicklaus should've taken more shots, and that Hank Aaron hit too many taters.
Seriously, I find the Washington loss haunting still. You remember the game, right? The one in which rookie Tyson Thompson got his first-ever carries (three of them, late in the game)? The one in which ball-control idiocy got the Dallas offense three passing plays that should of been runs?
Heck, I thought JuJo should've had SIX MORE CARRIES!
In Oakland, it did seem as though the Cowboys ran left with Julius five skillion times. But the final tally -- 22 rushes for 76 yards for Julius, while Marion Barber got his first ever carry -- reinforces my belief:
Not enough Julius.
The mainstream media in Dallas cannot seem to settle on what it wants from Julius Jones. Going into the Oakland game, one paper featured two straight days of stories calling for Jones to get fewer carries. Going into the Philly game, the same paper ripped Dallas' running game, pointing out that the Cowboys a) rank just 17th in the NFL in rushing, b) have yet to get a 100-yard effort from JuJo, c) are getting just 3.5 yards per carry from JuJo, and d) have few breakaway runs from him, his longest jaunt being 14 yards.
Good Lord, people, what are you saying you desire? Fewer carries AND greater production?! Who do you think this kid is, David Blaine?
"It's not exactly where I would like it," coach Bill Parcells said of his running game. "We just have to keep working with it and be patient with it. It just needs to improve slightly to be pretty good."
Probably true. One block here. One crease there. One make-'em-miss over there. A chance to glide into the open field. And Julius' numbers start to pop.
Said Jones: "I'm just trying to stay positive. There's a lot of time to get the running game going. There's no sense in stressing out. ... If it doesn't work, the coach will try something else."
No, no, Julius, it will work. It will work with YOU. There is a time and a place to insert a rookie runner on occasion (maybe not as many times and places as we've seen so far, and maybe not times and places for TWO rookie runners, but a time and a place nevertheless). But this -- carrying the load, being The Man, joining the QB in anchoring the offense -- needs to be Julius' baby.
"Saving'' Julius Jones does nothing but keep his numbers down, does nothing but keep the Cowboys from being better. Does nothing but make me wonder WWJD?
I watched close-up while Emmitt Smith toted the thing 300 times a year every year, so maybe I'm from another generation. I also watch as runners who don't carry the ball still find themselves being knocked around (blocking defensive ends isn't exactly "taking a play off''). But most of all, I'm wondering what people think we're "saving'' a running back for?
A great one gets six, seven, eight years. He starts when he's 22. He's done when he's 29. What exactly are we saving a guy like JuJo for? For when he's 30? For 2013?
I will bow to the fact that against Washington, it appeared Julius needed a blow on a sweltering Monday night. I will bow to the fact that against Oakland, it appeared Julius was momentarily banged up.
But as a general policy, "saving a guy'' sucks.
I'm trying to win THIS WEEK'S game. I find it difficult to plan to win that all-important Week 5 game in 2013.