Multiple Insurance

IRVING, Tex. - The Dallas Cowboys have watched their running backs fall like the stock market recently. In their loss to the New York Giants, starter Marion Barber went down with a strained quadriceps muscle. In their subsequent victory over the Carolina Panthers, Felix Jones sprained his knee.

Third-stringer Tashard Choice stepped in and carried the Dallas offense against Carolina, but Jones is out for this week's game at Denver, and Barber reportedly is expected to play, but how he responds remains unclear. Because Choice might be the only healthy running back on the roster, the Cowboys added former Jacksonville Jaguar Chauncey Washington.

Washington is a speedster, having clocked sizzling 4.29 and 4.32 times in the 40-yard dash at his pro day workout out at USC in 2008. In addition, he is an able contributor on special teams, having played on all of Jacksonville's units last year under Joe DeCamillis, whose presence as the Cowboys' new special teams coach was instrumental in Washington's decision to sign with Dallas.

"I had some workouts with the Rams and the Bills, but I focused on coming here to the Cowboys, because my special teams coach (Joe DeCamillis) was my coach last year (in Jacksonville). It was easy for me to be able to come in and contribute to the team (on special teams)."

Joining a team like the Cowboys, with three proven running backs, might have seemed daunting to some, but Washington said the crowded Dallas backfield doesn't bother him at all.

"No, because I like to compete," Washington said. "I like to see how other running backs are, and learn from the best. I was with Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor last year, and I come from a college, ‘Tailback U' (USC), so I've been competing my whole life."

The biggest transition from Jacksonville to Dallas, Washington said, will not be picking up the plays, but rather the terminology his new team uses for each play and blocking assignment.

"Everybody in the league runs basically the same plays, but the terminology and the concepts are a little different," he said. "But as far as the run game, it's the same. It is (somewhat the same terminology), but I just take it as what it was before, and I just switch it around. So it makes a lot easier to learn faster.

"I've been watching film. I think the zone plays and everything else are the same, as far as concepts, (as they were) in Jacksonville and when I was back in college."

Washington does not yet know whether he'll be on the active roster Sunday when his new team plays in Denver, acknowledging that the decision will depend in part on Barber's status and in part on how many roles he can fill on special teams. But while he gets comfortable with his new team, he harbors no ill will toward the Jaguars.

"They gave me plenty of opportunity there in Jacksonville," Washington said. "I played last year there — I was active (for) six games, I believe — and I had a great preseason. Unfortunately, I wasn't what they wanted, but I'm here now with the Cowboys, so that's what I'm focusing on."

CowboysHQ Top Stories