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December 28, 2009

Short-yardage blues

Marion Barber has not been good on short yardage. He failed to pick up first downs on two fourth-and-one carries Sunday after being stopped three times from the 1-yard line against the Chargers two weeks ago.

For the season, Barber has had 17 carries on third-and-one or third-and-two. He has gained 66 yards and made 12 first downs. That means 70.6 of his third-and-short runs have been converted into first downs. On fourth-down runs, Barber is 0-for-3. That was the run on the goal-line against San Diego, and the two fourth-down runs Sunday against the Redskins.

Emmitt Smith questioned the fourth-down play calls Sunday, according to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who had Smith in his suite.

As a team, the Cowboys have converted 70.5 percent of their third-and-shorts (1-3 yards).  

"We’re addressing that," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said Monday. "We’ve played well on third-and-ones. ...We had some trouble on the goal line against San Diego, but that was goal-line offense and goal- line defense for them. They slanted everybody inside, and the plays that we’d run previously that were successful weren’t successful. I will say [Washington defensive tackle Albert] Haynesworth has a lot to do with that. He’s awfully strong, and he did a good job in there on us, but we’re addressing that to make sure it doesn’t happen again or the chance of it happening will be less. We need to make those kind of plays."


-- Charean Williams


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