Marion No 'Barberian' Against Skins
Marion Barber has been a beast at times in his brief NFL career, but rarely against the Redskins. Even when he was tearing up the rest of the league a year ago, the Redskins held him in check.
Barber faced the Skins in September and had what has been his lowest output of the season with eight carries for 26 yards. Against the Redskis in the last regular-season game last year, Barber ran six times for minus-6 yards, his lowest output of 2007 (he ran 15 times for 43 yards - 2.9 per carry) in the other meeting in 2007.
So in his last three games against the Skins, Barber has rushed 29 times for 63 yards, 2.17 yards per carry. That's shutting him down, totally. In 2006 Barber had some success against the Skins as an understudy to Julius Jones (eight carries for 39 yards in one game, seven rushes for 45 yards in the other), but he has yet to put up anything close to a huge outing against them.
In six career games against the Skins, Barber has 54 rushes for 177 yards (3.3 yards per carry), and one TD. Washington and Philly are tied for the lowest average per carry that Barber has produced against any NFL team that he has carried the ball against 10 times or more. (In six games against the Eagles, Barber has rushed 67 times for 222 yards - 3.3 per carry - but with four TDs.)
Overall, it's been tough sledding for Barber against the NFC East. Here's his career stats within the division, and against the rest of the NFL.
Barber vs. the NFC East
19 Games - 194 rushes for 658 yards (3.4 per carry) and 8 TDs
Barber vs. the rest of the league
34 Games - 455 rushes for 2174 yards (4.8 per carry) and 26TDs
Now, it's not surprising that he would have trouble stacking up the yards in divisional games. Few backs tear up these teams and stopping the run has long been a way of life in this division. But I found these numbers a bit startling.
How have the Skins done it, you ask? Well, they've employed sound tackling principles and generally, despite Dallas' vaunted passing attack, continued to play the run first and foremost, not afraid to deploy additional manpower around the line of scrimmage. They've also had powerful safeties like Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry creeping up to pop Barber.
Under Gregg Williams, the mode of attack was "hunting" Barber's legs, punishing him low as often as possible. They wanted to set a physical tone and whack this guy hard as often as possible early. And they wanted to hunt him in bunches, knowing it can take more than one defender to bring him down.
Through the first game with Dallas under Greg Blache those principles still applied, and I'd imagine that will be the game plan against this guy again Sunday night. With the Cowboys expecting to have Tony Romo and Felix Jones and other offensive cogs back from injuries, that should open things up for Barber at least a little bit, but he's averaged just 2.8 yards per carry over his past two games, and seemed to be in need of the bye as much as anyone.
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