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Running On Empty...
By H. Cox

The NFL season is now approaching the 11th week of the regular season. Most teams have by now completed 10 games with one week off for their bye week. 4 games were played in the preseason which most of the rookies and new starters played in everyone. That is the equivalent of 14 games played already for most of them. When they played in college that would have been a season for them and then off until next season. Not so with their new level of work. They will be expected to play 6 more games just to complete the regular season. Most teams still in the hunt for a playoff position will be looking for these first year starters and rookies to continue to contribute for their team’s success. The Dallas Cowboys are no different and have a few players in this category that are playing major portions on both offense and defense.

Let’s have a look:


Rob Pettiti – Starting RT for the offense. He pushes and shoves every play blocking for either the run or pass, either way it is tiring battling against those big guys trying to get bye you.

Marion Barber – Not actually playing fulltime but contributing a large portion to the running game. Big in the RB rotation that Coach Parcells has inserted into the offense.

Marcus Spears – Has just began starting within the last couple of weeks but still played a lot of reps in the DL rotation. Just the reverse case of Pettit battling inside against bigger OL trying to get to the ball.

DeMarcus Ware – Starting OLB and a major pass rusher from the outside. He also must run into coverage and play the run as well. Plenty of running here for such a young player.

FIRST YEAR STARTERS: (I include these guys because now they are playing more downs instead of just a few special team’s plays)

Losaka Polite – Leading blocker for the running game and a receiver in the passing game. Picking up blockers and running routes is tiring game in and game out.

Torrin Tucker – Only really played 3 games so shouldn’t be as big a factor as the other players but he still is inside battling in pass/run blocking. He isn’t used to playing every down every week so it could come to be a factor closer to the end of the season.

Bradie James – An ILB that also covers the pass routes over the middle as well as plays the run every down. Occasionally has to contend with pulling OL as well.

Keith Davis – Starting FS, and also playing special teams now. He must cover and help with receivers as well as occasionally blitz and also the run.

There are a bunch of players that are in major roles on both sides of the ball. Their conditioning and ability to “suck it up” is going to play big into the Cowboys chances of making the playoffs. One other player that is in the DL rotation, Chris Canty, is also a rookie that is playing major time. He allows the rotation to be stronger but also isn’t used to playing this many games. Veterans know how to get through these long season games and hopefully the younger players have hopped on the train to learn quickly. Parcells even said in his press conference today that Ware has been getting tired and needs another rookie, OLB Kevin Burnett, to step up production to spell him from time to time.
Parcells brought in a bunch of great young players that are coming into their own. Now he must figure out how to keep them productive until the end of the season and hopefully into the postseason. Something to seriously watch as the team approaches the end of the regular season and plays some very tough teams.


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