Julius' First Step

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by CowboyMike, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. CowboyMike

    CowboyMike Stay Thirsty, My Friends

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    I'm sure this has been discussed here before I started posting, by anyway...

    I've been watching video of Julius Jones from his rookie season and last year, and the biggest difference seems to be his ability to make the first guy miss.

    If you watch 2004 video, Julius was much more... "fluid" in the backfield before hitting the hole. He'd let the play develope and then hit the whole, often making a defender miss before he hit the hold, then bursting through.

    In 2005, it seems like (even before the injury) he rammed straight to the hole, even before it was opened, which led to many times him simply running into a wall. He was a much more stiff runner than his rookie year, like he was thinking too much rather than relying on instinct. Could this be Parcell's getting into his head? Making him more robotic possibly?

    One thing that definitely didn't change was his "second gear" extra burst once through the hole, which is fantastic.
  2. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    that was exactly what happened to Juice last year, but I'm not sure if it was necessarily Parcells' coaching, just remember reading that the coaches wanted Julius to find one hole and hit it quickly, instead of looking at 2 or 3 different holes, which slowed him down and is what you're talking about, Julius just needs to read things more quickly so as to take advantage of his tremendous initial quickness, it should come with being more comfortable
  3. 31hammer

    31hammer Benched

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    I have to agree with you whole heartedly. It didn't change until the end of the season, when he started to come on again. You could see that he let his instincts take over
  4. CowboyMike

    CowboyMike Stay Thirsty, My Friends

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    Well, we saw a glimpse of it in the Carolina game, but it wasn't like that in the Rams game. :confused:
  5. Catch-22

    Catch-22 Member

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    Nothing was right in the Rams game, I wouldn't judge any player based on that outing.
  6. billknows

    billknows New Member

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    Thats what I saw too...
  7. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    This seems like a fair analysis. What we all complain about last year, in terms of Parcell's teaching, may be more beneficial in the long run once the thinking process becomes more instinctive.

    LUVDABOYS Member

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    I could be wrong here, but I believe if you watch the runs in the beginning of the year you will notice Julius covering the ball with both hands through the line of scrimmage. Once he breaks the line of scrimmage, he drops one hand and becomes more mobile.

    I didnt notice him doing that last year, and he was doing it less in the Carolina game. I think his vision and mobility are limited when he's covering like that up to the line, but he's able to move and see everything better after he breaks through.

    Just something I noticed. I think Julius ignored what they were making him do just a little in the Carolina game. Personally I'd risk the chance of a fumble once a game and let him run.
  9. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    I have always thought that they over coached JJ last year- when you look at his 2004 games, he had very few "negative plays". He had a lot more LAST year. When you have a back perform like JJ did in 2004 you should leave him alone as regards his running ways; if it ain't broke- DON'T FIX IT!!!!
  10. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    yeah, there were more negative runs last yr because the OL was TERRIBLE...when you have your two offensive tackles rank 1-2 in the league in sacks allowed (and one of them wasnt the starter for the first 5 or 6 games either) thats pretty much all you need to know

    Adams was playing well before he got hurt and Larry Allen was ok, but the other OL's were all horrendous week in and week out last yr

  11. NYCowboy22

    NYCowboy22 Member

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    Were they really any better the year prior? I think it's obvious that Julius was running not to make a mistake last year, as opposed to running to break open the game like the year before. Hopefully he will get more comfortable back there and start to come on again like in his rookie season.

    AMERICAS_FAN Active Member

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    I think it's okay - even better - to have a RB hit the initial hole as fast as possible. If hte RB hits a brick wall it usually has more to do with the OL missing a blocking assignrmn, thus letting that wall form.


    P.S. This is a good threat, by the way.
  13. Chief

    Chief "Friggin Joke Monkey"

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    Lots of good points here, but I didn't see Julius break hardly any tackles last year.

    I thought that was the biggest difference between Barber and Julius. Barber would slip a tackle occasionally. Julius is great in the open field, but there was very little open field last year.
  14. danny0812

    danny0812 New Member

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    I believe the presence of Barber and the pressure to perform after the injuries hampered Julius a lil bit. Not saying that there is anything wrong with Barber but, I think Julius had alot of weight on his shoulders and seems sometimes he was trying to make things outta nothing. Maybe seeing holes that werent there seems he ran into the back of the line alot. I believe he could be a really special running back he just needs to stay healthy where he doesnt have to worry about being outperformed when he can do nothing about it. I think we are looking at a 1500 yard season if he can stay healthy. But i do like Barber being there if something does happen again. I also think Julius is better than his brother by far and i remember Thomas being highly touted outta college more so than julius. Lets see what happens with him this year in this offense. I cant wait for the start of camp and the season. Already tired of baseball and it hasnt even started.
  15. DanTanna

    DanTanna Original Zone Member

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    I think it was all about protecting the ball. Big Bill HATES fumblers and it looks like JJ civered up and just put his head down and bull-dozed.

    There is a risk of a fumble when he, or anyone, runs freely. Did you notice that when Crayton came back he ran with the ball in one hand like a loaf of bread(and he fumbled)? Bill said he reverted back to his old bad habits and yelled at him.
  16. PoetTree

    PoetTree Active Member

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    An article I wrote last year...

    Has Bill Parcells KILLED Julius Jones???


    By PoetTree
    DCC Staff Writer

    Okay, Gang...

    As you may or may not remember from my previous diatribes on this board, I consider myself a running back connoisseur. I love them, study them, appreciate them and imagine that I have more than a layman's understanding of how to spot the "good" ones. Last season, well, at least half of last season, I was treated to a spectacular view of a new NFL running back. His name was Julius Jones.

    Beyond just the measurables Jones produced last year (outings of 150, 198 and 164 yards), I witnessed the young back do things that are simply unavailable to even great runners in this league. The kid had feet, moves, acceleration and lateral agility that is exceedingly rare. It became a joke of sorts around this particular Cowboys community, and perhaps elsewhere, but the startling likeness to Barry Sanders-esque ability could not be missed. Even various game announcers mentioned it in hushed tones, before then quickly dousing the comparison for fear of handing out premature praise of such epic proportions. No matter. One thing was certain, whatever icon he might best be sidled to, Julius Jones was gonna be a special, special player in the NFL.

    Now, while I'm not pulling the plug on this idea as of yet, am I the only one who has noticed a distinct difference between our #21 of this year & that of the last? And yes, yes, I know he faced two very good defenses in the first and second weeks. I know that they and San Francisco were all keying their defenses to stop him, as will likely the rest of the teams on our remaining schedule. But in truth, no different could be said about the squads he torched last season. And yet, torch them nonetheless he did!

    No, something is different this year. I noticed it even in pre-season. He looks, somehow... slower. He appears less explosive, sudden, unpredictable. And those knee-snapping cuts that quickly became his hallmark last season, I've not seen even one. Dare I say, he has looked even awkward at times when trying to make someone miss. And for the life of me, I cannot figure out why! I mean, sure, our run blocking has not been the best. Julius is often met by a defender in the backfield before the play even gets started. But the thing is, he was subject last season to that very phenomenon, as well.

    The Giants game in particular, last year's final contest, serves as a prime example of this. Watch any video highlight from this most previous season to see precisely what I mean. There were defenders breaking through the line of scrimmage all game long, some of them even getting a hand on Julius. But he would simply break out this ridiculously angled cut and be by them at full speed before they even knew what was going on. I mean, honestly, as a running back fanatic, he was simply breathtaking! I could not wait for this season, as I knew he'd only be better when it arrived. But, strangely, this does not seem to be the case.

    I have logically wondered the reason behind this. It's true that he put on muscle, the added weight of which can sometimes slow a player down. But in a closer analysis it's revealed that Julius actually lost mass from his playing weight of last season. Remember, he sat out most of the year with an injury and by all reports came back "out-of-shape". Everything I read of the off-season suggested that he had lost weight while putting on lean muscle. He played last year at 215, and has reported this season at 207 -- and much more toned in every way. By all accounts, he should be even swifter and more explosive right now. But inexplicably, to my naked (but rather trained) eye, he seems just the opposite.

    One explanation I tried clinging to early on was the idea of coaching. Bill Parcells mentioned during training camp that he was seeing Julius do things that he'd never see him do last year at all. Before watching the production on the field, I presumed these were all good. But now, three games into the season, I have to wonder if Julius has been coached to run in a way that takes away from his natural gifts. Perhaps where Jones would look to cut outside last season and break off one of those jaw-dropping runs, he has now been persuaded by Bill Parcells to instead stick his head into the pile and take the 2 or 3 yards being given at the line. Is it possible that the coaching staff has inadvertently made Julius tentative and hesitant by instructing him to fight his on-field instincts and take what's given, when in fact he is a brilliant improvisationalist at heart?!

    I don't know. I see signs. Not dead people. That's our former kicker, Haley Joel. I see "signs". Such as against the Seahawks in pre-season. There was a run where Julius broke hard off left tackle, impossibly made two closing defenders miss in the most modicum of space, cut left and approached Keyshawn Johnson (a notoriously good blocker) who had his man sealed to the inside. One more outward cut, which was clearly within Jones' ability to make, and he would've left the entire Seattle defense trailing behind as he raced down the sideline for a 70+ yard touchdown. I had the game TiVo'd, and I watched it again & again. It was there, each and every time. No doubt, he could've made that run.

    But then a strange thing happened. At the last second he cut inside and went upfield. One more outward cut and he would've been gone. One little slice to the outside and he makes a brilliant highlight-reel run. But he doesn't do it. No. He cuts it up into the arms of the cornerback Keyshawn was blocking, picks up about three more yards and is tackled to the turf. It was an impressive run, nonetheless. But after studying it so scrutinously, I lamented that it wasn't so much more.

    Now, I know it's usually good (and safe) when a runner moves north & south. That's what made Emmitt great for all those years, after all. He was always moving forward, picking up yardage. But even Mr. Smith knew when to take it back against the grain and tote the rock east to west, or vice versa, and even back again inside the same run. I wouldn't want a runner who was always looking to take it outside. But damn it, when it's there and you have a back who can get it there, you have GOT to take the chance from time to time. And watching Julius' peculiar production this year, I wonder: has Bill Parcells coached him out of the very thing that made him great? Does Julius look slower because he's fighting his instincts?? Or is there some other bizarre anomaly going on???

    I don't know. Go back, watch last year's highlights & decide for yourself. In them you'll find Jones beating run blitzes by himself, defenders widely misjudging pursuit angles due to his speed, stopping/starting & outrunning everyone to the corner, and an ability to cut unlike any other runner I've seen in today's league. Watch it, and speak what you think.

    Me? I'll be over here praying for the return of the back I fell in love with last year. May he rise from the dead with a furious vengeance against those insipidly outlandish Raiders! Otherwise, he may only continue to resemble the ghost of what could be...

    a nostalgic,
  17. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    Got it in one Poet. I tivo'd the Giants game last year and was humbled by the things JJ did. The video of him I still have. After watching and TIVO'ing a couple of games this last year- it looks exactly like you said.; Its like someone did a total transplant of the running style. No juking, no wiggle, just put your head down and go. DO NOT LOOK FOR A HOLE IF IT IS NOT WHERE ITS SUPPOSED TO BE.
    The only good thing is that I saw in the Carolina game that he seemed to be getting back to the 2004 JJ. Hopefully BP WILL LEAVE HIM ALONE NOW.
  18. CowboyMike

    CowboyMike Stay Thirsty, My Friends

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    Great article. It's scary though, thinking of the possibility that the JJ of 2004 may never be back. Let's hope it isn't true. One thing that I thought would make Julius great was Sanders-like cutting ability, but at the same time he has the bulk to run over someone. But what makes him great is the ability to make someone miss, then kick in that second gear.

    Another thing that scares me is if he has a great 1500+ season this year, I hope everyone doesn't give the credit to the presence of....

    Yes I'm going to say it....

    Terrell Owens.
  19. CowboyMike

    CowboyMike Stay Thirsty, My Friends

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    Football coaches seem to be extremely stubborn about that fact. They insist that the back hit the hole that's supposed to be there as soon as possible, instead of finding the hole.

    Both my middle school and high school football coaches were the same way. Often saying "If there is no hole where it's supposed to be, MAKE the hole." :bang2:

    A back with JJ's style and vision needs to freedom to find the hole, not make it.

    Maybe it's a pride thing. 'The play is designed to work this way, it shouldn't be played any other way.'
  20. Jarv

    Jarv Loud pipes saves lives. Zone Supporter

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    I guess Barry Sanders was never told that, or if he was, he never listened...

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