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News: DC.com: Peters: Barnes Must Prove Worth Again

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Hostile, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    Barnes Must Prove Worth Again


    Chad Peters
    DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
    June 30, 2004, 4:58 p.m. (CDT)

    IRVING, Texas -- Darian Barnes says he never anticipated being used as trade bait on draft weekend.

    But after a draft-day deal sending the third-year fullback from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Cowboys for a seventh-round pick, Barnes had to quickly adjust to the unexpected.

    "I was really surprised that it was made," said Barnes of the sudden trade, causing him to join his third team in as many years. "I got the call right around when the draft was over. I soaked it in for about five minutes and started packing my stuff. At that time, it was just time to go and start my career here."

    Soaking things in would seemingly come as nothing new for the well-traveled fullback, who was nicknamed after a cartoon sponge by his former Tampa Bay teammates. As the story goes, "They called me SpongeBob because I used to wear SpongeBob clothes and I did an interview for a TV show in a SpongeBob costume," explained the 6-2, 250-pound Barnes with a chuckle. "I just felt like doing it."

    The trade left Barnes with more on his mind than just costumes and cartoon characters. Anxiety began to set in as he realized his football future was up in the air once again, knowing he would have to prove himself to another new coach.

    "It's really hard to say," Barnes said, acknowledging initially having mixed emotions on the trade. "One team is letting you go and you've kind of staked your claim to that team and you think you're going to be there to make something. On the other hand, another team wants you, so the only thing you can do is look at both sides of the coin and just be positive and just know that you're going to come here."

    One possible reason behind the Cowboys' interest in Barnes might stem from the familiarity several members within the organization already had with him.

    Barnes, who attended Hampton University after transferring from Rutgers, lost his collegiate eligibility in an academic oversight leaving him five credits short of meeting the required coursework. The error forced him to enter the 2002 supplemental draft, which he fell through untouched.

    Picked up by the New York Giants later that summer, Barnes drew interest from them in part because of retiring Cowboys scout Jim Garrett, who worked out Barnes as a favor to the fullback's father. Current Tampa Bay backup quarterback and former Cowboys backup Jason Garrett, son of Jim Garrett, was playing for the Giants at the time and attended many of these types of workouts with his dad, and alerted the Giants team to Barnes' ability.

    Cowboys assistant head coach Sean Payton was also the Giants' offensive coordinator at the time when Barnes attended training with the Giants that summer of 2002. At one point considered the front-runner for the starting fullback job, Barnes eventually was released at the end of camp and claimed on waivers by the Buccaneers.

    Despite the familiar faces, Barnes already notices differences between his new team and all his former stops.

    "It's a lot more competitive and guys really work around here," Barnes said, comparing the environment with the Cowboys to the one he left behind with the Buccaneers. "Very family-oriented atmosphere. Everybody's a tight-nit group - the whole squad. It's a high demand on everybody. You really have to push yourself every day to make this team."

    Playing in the first 14 games last season for the Buccaneers, Barnes was used primarily as a blocking back and on special teams. A shoulder sprain ended his season two games early, forcing him onto injured reserve Dec. 16. He became expendable this off-season with fullback Mike Alstott healthy again and with the Buccaneers acquiring fullback Greg Comella from the Houston Texans.

    He does not have a free ride, though, onto the Cowboys'53-man roster just because they spent a seventh-round draft choice to acquire him. But the door is somewhat cracked open since Richie Anderson, last year's starting fullback, is being considered more of an all-purpose back this year by Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells. And depending on if Julius Jones wins the starting tailback job, the starting fullback job could be wide open.

    Anderson is scheduled to alternate between fullback and running back this season, so the Cowboys will likely want two fullbacks on the roster - possibly three if Anderson ends up being the starting running back. The Cowboys not only need a backup for insurance behind Anderson, but a powerful blocker to complement his more versatile style.

    That will place Barnes in a three-man competition throughout this summer's training camp in Oxnard, Calif., with third-year fullback Jamar Martin and rookie free agent Lousaka Polite.

    A former fourth round pick in the 2002 draft, Martin has the potential to be a punishing blocker, but he has yet to live up to that billing. He has even drawn the ire of Parcells this off-season for being overweight, and concerns linger regarding his versatility out of the backfield and ability to play special teams.

    Polite, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Pittsburgh, has displayed soft hands in pass-catching drills throughout the team's mini-camps and is thought to be a relatively complete fullback, capable of blocking, running and catching the ball. How polished he is on special teams will likely determine his fate.

    Given Barnes' experience on special teams with the Buccaneers, he holds the edge in that department over his competition. He had seven special teams tackles last year to go with three his Super Bowl-winning rookie year. His versatility out of the backfield remains a question, though, and it is something he must improve on if he is to be trusted as a viable threat in the offense.

    "If I've got to catch a pass, I'll catch it," said Barnes, who only has one catch for six yards and no carries in his career. "And if I have to run it, I'll run it. I'm up for whatever the job calls for.

    "I think once training camp comes around and we start hitting - hopefully I'm still here - I'll do really well in this program."

    Only time will tell if "SpongeBob" will be airing on Sundays this fall in Dallas.
  2. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    play linebacker? :D
  3. te0002

    te0002 Member

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    I see Barnes getting the nod over Martin.
  4. gollum

    gollum Member

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    Is it just me, or is this the deepest we've been at fullback in a long time...and not a single converted linebacker in the bunch!
  5. SALADIN

    SALADIN Jumper

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    The battle for FB may be the fiercest one during TC.
  6. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Me to. Actually I like the rookie Polite and Barnes to both make the team.
  7. Dale

    Dale Forum Architect

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    Special teams is where Parcells is going to fall in love with Barnes. He's not spectacular, but from what I understand, a pretty reliable special teams player while with the Buccaneers.

    My concern is that he doesn't offer as much as Martin or Polite do as an actual fullback. He's an OK blocker with OK speed, but his stats tell the story. When Mike Alstott went down last season, Jemeel Cook got an increased role in the offense yet Barnes was still unable to get his name on the stat sheet.

    Polite seems to have the reputation of being able to do it all (block, run, catch) at a quality level. Not great, but good enough to possibly make a team. Martin, on the other hand, just blocks -- and is the best of the bunch at doing that. But what does Barnes really do on offense? That's my concern with him.

    I hope if his special teams role does land him a spot on the roster that he's not a significantly weaker blocker than Martin, because we're going to need a quality blocker from time to time, especially with Anderson playing more at running back.
  8. speedkilz88

    speedkilz88 Well-Known Member

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    :confused: I thought we acquired Barnes by exchanging sevenths with the bucs?
  9. Dale

    Dale Forum Architect

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    Yes, you're right...I should have made that more clear in the article. Sorry about that, guys.
  10. speedkilz88

    speedkilz88 Well-Known Member

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    Matt Mosely did the same thing which made me wonder. No big deal, Dale.
  11. Hoss

    Hoss Member

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    Barnes Must Prove Worth Again


    Chad Peters
    DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
    June 30, 2004, 4:58 p.m. (CDT)

    IRVING, Texas -- Darian Barnes says he never anticipated being used as trade bait on draft weekend.

    But after a draft-day deal sending the third-year fullback from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Cowboys for a seventh-round pick, Barnes had to quickly adjust to the unexpected.

    "I was really surprised that it was made," said Barnes of the sudden trade, causing him to join his third team in as many years. "I got the call right around when the draft was over. I soaked it in for about five minutes and started packing my stuff. At that time, it was just time to go and start my career here."

    Soaking things in would seemingly come as nothing new for the well-traveled fullback, who was nicknamed after a cartoon sponge by his former Tampa Bay teammates. As the story goes, "They called me SpongeBob because I used to wear SpongeBob clothes and I did an interview for a TV show in a SpongeBob costume," explained the 6-2, 250-pound Barnes with a chuckle. "I just felt like doing it."

    The trade left Barnes with more on his mind than just costumes and cartoon characters. Anxiety began to set in as he realized his football future was up in the air once again, knowing he would have to prove himself to another new coach.

    "It's really hard to say," Barnes said, acknowledging initially having mixed emotions on the trade. "One team is letting you go and you've kind of staked your claim to that team and you think you're going to be there to make something. On the other hand, another team wants you, so the only thing you can do is look at both sides of the coin and just be positive and just know that you're going to come here."

    One possible reason behind the Cowboys' interest in Barnes might stem from the familiarity several members within the organization already had with him.

    Barnes, who attended Hampton University after transferring from Rutgers, lost his collegiate eligibility in an academic oversight leaving him five credits short of meeting the required coursework. The error forced him to enter the 2002 supplemental draft, which he fell through untouched.

    Picked up by the New York Giants later that summer, Barnes drew interest from them in part because of retiring Cowboys scout Jim Garrett, who worked out Barnes as a favor to the fullback's father. Current Tampa Bay backup quarterback and former Cowboys backup Jason Garrett, son of Jim Garrett, was playing for the Giants at the time and attended many of these types of workouts with his dad, and alerted the Giants team to Barnes' ability.

    Cowboys assistant head coach Sean Payton was also the Giants' offensive coordinator at the time when Barnes attended training with the Giants that summer of 2002. At one point considered the front-runner for the starting fullback job, Barnes eventually was released at the end of camp and claimed on waivers by the Buccaneers.

    Despite the familiar faces, Barnes already notices differences between his new team and all his former stops.

    "It's a lot more competitive and guys really work around here," Barnes said, comparing the environment with the Cowboys to the one he left behind with the Buccaneers. "Very family-oriented atmosphere. Everybody's a tight-nit group - the whole squad. It's a high demand on everybody. You really have to push yourself every day to make this team."

    Playing in the first 14 games last season for the Buccaneers, Barnes was used primarily as a blocking back and on special teams. A shoulder sprain ended his season two games early, forcing him onto injured reserve Dec. 16. He became expendable this off-season with fullback Mike Alstott healthy again and with the Buccaneers acquiring fullback Greg Comella from the Houston Texans.

    He does not have a free ride, though, onto the Cowboys'53-man roster just because they spent a seventh-round draft choice to acquire him. But the door is somewhat cracked open since Richie Anderson, last year's starting fullback, is being considered more of an all-purpose back this year by Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells. And depending on if Julius Jones wins the starting tailback job, the starting fullback job could be wide open.

    Anderson is scheduled to alternate between fullback and running back this season, so the Cowboys will likely want two fullbacks on the roster - possibly three if Anderson ends up being the starting running back. The Cowboys not only need a backup for insurance behind Anderson, but a powerful blocker to complement his more versatile style.

    That will place Barnes in a three-man competition throughout this summer's training camp in Oxnard, Calif., with third-year fullback Jamar Martin and rookie free agent Lousaka Polite.

    A former fourth round pick in the 2002 draft, Martin has the potential to be a punishing blocker, but he has yet to live up to that billing. He has even drawn the ire of Parcells this off-season for being overweight, and concerns linger regarding his versatility out of the backfield and ability to play special teams.

    Polite, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Pittsburgh, has displayed soft hands in pass-catching drills throughout the team's mini-camps and is thought to be a relatively complete fullback, capable of blocking, running and catching the ball. How polished he is on special teams will likely determine his fate.

    Given Barnes' experience on special teams with the Buccaneers, he holds the edge in that department over his competition. He had seven special teams tackles last year to go with three his Super Bowl-winning rookie year. His versatility out of the backfield remains a question, though, and it is something he must improve on if he is to be trusted as a viable threat in the offense.

    "If I've got to catch a pass, I'll catch it," said Barnes, who only has one catch for six yards and no carries in his career. "And if I have to run it, I'll run it. I'm up for whatever the job calls for.

    "I think once training camp comes around and we start hitting - hopefully I'm still here - I'll do really well in this program."

    Only time will tell if "SpongeBob" will be airing on Sundays this fall in Dallas.

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  12. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    So Dale...is this guy as crazy or funny as the past articles indicate?

    Seems like he would be a fun guy to keep down some tension in the locker room.
  13. Hollywood Henderson

    Hollywood Henderson Benched

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    Too bad Martin is said to be over weight. I thought he was a impact player on offense because of his superior blocking...

    I hate to see Anderson play when asked to block...He can't block a grandma...
    With a true RB in J.Jones I would use Martin MUCH more & pound Defenses...
    Even if he isn't a threat catching the ball he can still help in protection...
  14. chargrove

    chargrove Member

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    I am SO SICK of hearing about how this guy or that guy will have to be an outstanding contributor on special teams to make the team. You know, if that's really the prevailing mentality of the Parcells method, then it's a freaking stupid one. Yeah, all those super bowls were won because we had guys on the field who also just happened to be nifty special teamers???? No way. You don't want to expose too many offensive starters to special teams duty on a regular basis unless it's a P or KO return guy like Galloway did last year or Kelvin Martin used to in the old days. Now, if you are talking about a 2nd team FB, that's another story. But I'm not asking my starting fullback to go knock people around and risk injury because that's just another duty I think he should perform to "add value" to the squad. Nonsense. Am I just missing something, here, or is too much emphasis being placed on judging key role players by their ability to run around and knock the crap out of somebody on a punt return? :confused:
  15. Erik_H

    Erik_H Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun. Zone Supporter

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    Uhh, isn't this a re-post? and in the same thread no less. :confused:
  16. blindzebra

    blindzebra Well-Known Member

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    You are missing something. Where would KC have been last year without ST?
    Now I can see not having your #1 WR, RB or CB playing on ST, but other starters have to play sometimes.

    The writing was on the wall for Martin last year when Parcells said he was too slow to play on special teams. We have 3 FBs and 5 TEs on the roster, so if it comes down to Polite's receiving ability or Whalen or Barnes' ST ability versus Martin, Martin is odd man out.
  17. Dale

    Dale Forum Architect

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    It's a staple of Parcells' philosophy. There will be guys that don't make this team simply because, as a backup, they add no value to special teams. Jamar Martin was in severe jeopardy of not making last season's team for that reason alone.

    In one of Parcells' press conferences last year during training camp, he complained about how none of his running backs could really play special teams.

    He said Hambrick was a good special teamer, but since he was lined up to start at running back, he couldn't risk him on special teams. He said he always wants his backup running backs to play special teams, and that that was a problem with his crop of players last season. With Hambrick not an option on special teams, it would have been beneficial if Martin could have played on the unit, but he couldn't. When guys like Murrell were here, they weren't options either. Cason was the only guy that could play, and he was a returner.

    There will be backup DBs, WRs, RBs and LBs that likely don't make this team simply because of their lack of versatility on special teams. It's what gives guys like Randal Williams, Markus Steele and Tony Dixon a legitimate chance of sticking around...because they play well on special teams.

    I can see what you're saying, in that I'd hate to lose a promising young player with starting potential because they aren't a special teams guy, but it's the Parcells way by all indiciations.

    He talks about it in every press conference it seems, and the players echo the sentiments that special teams will be key to their chances of sticking around.
  18. chargrove

    chargrove Member

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    No doubt players of that calibre must shine on ST to retain roster spots. That's true of any team because of the numbers game. The context of my post was in response to the assertion that the STARTING FULLBACK FOR THE DALLAS COWBOYS will be determined by how well a ST player he is week in and week out. Not the 2nd or 3rd teamers, not the practice squad material, but the starter. Unless the Cowboys are switching to some type of offensive system that doesn't require the presence of a fullback set, then they are in a position which demands they name the starter early in camp and stick with him so that he can get the necessary work in at that position and NOT flying around in ST drills. Be it Martin, Polite, or Barnes, pick one, work him at that position, prepare him for the season, feed him the ball a few times, get him READY to be the starter and infuse him with the confidence of the coaching staff that he is the best man for the job.
  19. blindzebra

    blindzebra Well-Known Member

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    We will be using a lot of two TE one back sets. Anderson and Jones are likely to be on the field together some, too.

    I fully expect that Parcells WILL expect any FB other than Anderson to play ST.
  20. chargrove

    chargrove Member

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    Who knows what's going to happen, right? Anderson still has some spark in his plugs, but I wouldn't give him the ball more than 10 times per game PLUS tossing a few short passes his way to see what he can make happen. That's IF J. Jones can show something, mind you. If the latter doesn't happen, anything goes.

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