Jones-Barber Combo Give 'Boys Options

Despite trade rumors throughout the first day of the 2006 NFL Draft, Julius Jones remains a Dallas Cowboy. And even though Bill Parcells recently denied those reports, the third-year back out of Notre Dame has something to prove.

Despite reports to the contrary, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said the team was not trying to trade running back Julius Jones during the draft.

"No, we were not trying to trade him," Parcells said.

Jones, who will be entering his third year, has yet to play a full season because of injuries. After coming off a disappointing year that began with high expectations, Jones missed three games with a high ankle sprain, had only one 100-yard game.

During the 2006 draft, several rumors were circulating in the first two rounds that the Cowboys were actively shopping him to as many as three potential teams in order to draft either Minnesota's Laurence Maroney or possibly Southern Cal's LenDale White.

It didn't happen. And now Jones has to prove to himself and the Cowboys that he can stay healthy and on the field to become their featured back for the long haul.

"Julius is, I think, a good back," Parcells said. "He's had a little bit of a durability problem here and there his first two years. And, as you know, if they can't stay out there ... like the Giants have Tiki (Barber) -- he never goes off the field. He's really an amazing guy and has had a wonderful run here with the Giants.

"But those are the kind of guys you look for, like Tiki, like Ottis Anderson, guys that can stay out there. And I think Julius still has that to answer just a little bit. But he's working very hard and he's very competitive and hopefully the combination of those two will be good enough."

Parcells is hoping things will be better for Jones, but then again, he is not putting all his eggs in one basket.

Jones will give backup Marion Barber a good share of the load. Barber is the third-down back who is also a tougher inside runner and goal-line runner.

"I like Barber a lot," Parcells said. "He doesn't have great speed, but he's a very, very good blocker, he's a very, very good receiver and he has very good vision as a runner. He's elusive in the hole. He's just not a breakaway guy. And if you look at the stats for NFL rookie backs last year, he was just a part-time player -- he didn't really play anywhere near the majority of the time -- and he was still fourth or fifth in yards total for rookies. So I think his role will be expanded."

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