Training Camp Preview: RB

Can Julius Jones stay healthy for an entire season? What about Marion Barber? These are just some of the questions Bill Parcells and his coaching staff will take a closer look at when training camp gets underway next week in Oxnard, Calif.

RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Julius Jones. Backups -- Tyson Thompson, Marion Barber, Demetrius Summers, Lousaka Polite.

Julius Jones is the man at running back, provided he shows more toughness and can stay healthy. For his two-year career, he's averaging 86 yards per game but he has missed 11 games with various injuries.

"Julius is, I think, a good back," head coach Bill 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."

If Jones can't stay on the field, look for Marion Barber to get more carries.

Barber is the team's third down back and a better inside runner. Last season he rushed for 538 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, proving to be a valuable back up who could also start if called upon.

Simply put, Barber will play a role this season at running back. How big a role however likely depends on Jones.

"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."

Second year man Tyson Thompson, the third team running back, is as fast anybody in the league, but he is more of the straight ahead type of runner with less moves. He'll continue to handle kickoffs and serve as a back up to both Barber and Jones.

Undrafted free agent Demetris Summers was signed in early May but has struggled to show the type of desire needed to succeed at the NFL level.

Lousaka Polite, the only true fullback on the roster, will be the Cowboys' short-yardage back.

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