Emmitt Surprised by New Role

"I don't ever recall a ballgame when I was just in for two series, then out for two series," Smith said. "If this is what's going to happen, then it's going to happen," said Emmitt Smith after the Cowboys 20-3 loss to the Colts on Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis.

Emmitt Smith didn't know it was coming, officially.

Yes, he expected that his backup, Troy Hambrick, would get more carries after Smith got the NFL career rushing record. The Dallas Cowboys were playing out the string anyway and wanted to get Hambrick some reps.

But following Dallas' 20-3 loss at Indianapolis on Sunday, Smith said it was a surprise to him that he and Hambrick would alternate every two series.

"I don't ever recall a ballgame when I was just in for two series, then out for two series," Smith said. "If this is what's going to happen, then it's going to happen."

Smith finished with 22 yards on eight carries, and he has just 61 yards on 24 carries since he broke the late Walter Payton's record on Oct. 27. Although the Cowboys lost to Seattle, it was a glorious day for Smith, who had his best rushing day of the season with 109 yards on 24 carries.

Although Hambrick was the backup the following week at Detroit, he scored the Cowboys' only touchdown in a 9-7 loss, on a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter. Hambrick also kept the drive going with a first-down run on third-and-1.

Hambrick carried the ball seven times for 42 yards Sunday.

Smith was critical of the strategy using him and Hambrick in the backfield, saying it was difficult for him to "find a rhythm."

But since the Cowboys did reasonably well on the ground 18 carries for 84 yards, a 4.7 average Cowboys coach Dave Campo said afterward there was a "good chance" he would continue using his two top running backs this way the rest of the season.

"We just wanted to get him some snaps, give him a chance to carry the ball a few times," Campo said of Hambrick. "He had a couple of good runs, he had a couple of average runs."

Since breaking Payton's record, there has been speculation on how the Cowboy might want to let Smith ride into the sunset. He has 16,804 yards, 78 more than Payton. But Hambrick needs game experience.

Campo indicated as much earlier this week when he said he wanted to "determine" what kind of back Hambrick could be.

What bothered Smith was that he was never informed that the game plan had changed this week.

"I knew he is going to get more carries; they didn't explain how they were going to do it," Smith said. "Let's make a decision and let's go with it."

Smith spent most of the second half on the sideline. He didn't play at all during the third quarter, when the Cowboys had just two possessions, and he carried just twice in the fourth quarter, when Dallas was playing catch-up.

But Smith didn't believe the plan worked well at all. He criticized the offense, which has sputtered all season and has managed only four touchdowns in four weeks.

"I saw a lot of regression today. I did not see progress," he said. "I thought we would be a much better offensive team than we are."

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