Official website of the New England Patriots

replay
Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed Apr 14 | 12:00 AM - 11:55 PM

Barber leading NFC in rushing

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Tiki Barber has done more than put his fumbling problems behind him.

The New York Giants running back is leading the NFL in all-purpose yards with 619 and the NFC in rushing with 455, just 21 yards behind league leader Priest Holmes of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Barber insists the statistics mean nothing. The big number is the team's 3-1 record heading into Sunday's game at Dallas.

"It's something that helps us win, that's all that matters," Barber said. "I am standing on a lot of people's shoulders this season: the offensive line, my coaches. I give them as much credit as I deserve."

Barber had the second-best game of his eight-year career this past weekend, rushing for 182 yards in a 14-7 win over the Green Bay Packers.

Only seconds after a dazed Brett Favre came off the bench to give the Packers a third-quarter lead with a touchdown pass, Barber took a handoff from Kurt Warner and went 52 yards for a touchdown.

Rookie guard Chris Snee remembered the play well. Every lineman made his block.

"There is still this one guy sitting in the hole that Tiki had to beat, and he beat him," Snee recalled.

No one has ever questioned Barber's running ability. He has rushed for 1,000 yards or more in three of the last four seasons.

However, Barber led NFL running backs with nine fumbles last season, a year in which New York went 4-12.

Jim Fassel was fired after the season and Tom Coughlin was hired, a no-nonsense coach who hates turnovers. One of the first things Coughlin did was have running backs coach Jerald Ingram work with Barber on how he carried the ball. The two came up with a way to get Barber to hold the ball closer to his body.

Barber also changed his running philosophy a little.

Some of his fumbles a year ago came when he tried to make something happen by getting an extra yard or two.

"The next play is more important, so that's what you have to remember," Barber said Wednesday. "Ball security and ball control will win in the NFL. An extra yard here or there doesn't, even though it's a game of inches. An extra yard doesn't win you games."

To emphasize that, the Giants are plus-10 in the giveaway-takeaway margin, which leads the NFL.

Former Giants and current Dallas coach Bill Parcells has been impressed with Barber, particularly the all-purpose yards.

"Gosh, he is making runs," Parcells said. "He is doing a good job on the screen pass in the passing game. He's doing a tremendous job with the run and they are doing a good job with him. He's a good player. He's always been a good player."

Barber's success is also giving confidence to the Giants' new offensive line.

"When there are holes, Tiki is finding them, and when there are small little holes that certain backs wouldn't get, he is finding it and taking it for a few yards," Snee said.

Barber is also proving he can be the short yardage guy many expected Ron Dayne to be. He has been hitting the pile near the goal line and pushing it.

"I have no fear of getting hit," Barber said. "I get behind my pads and trust my linemen and then I start driving, and whatever happens, happens. Sometimes I pop out of those and that's how some of these big plays happen.

"It's probably stupid, really," Barber added. "Sometime you go in there against a 250-pounder and move him. Sometimes you do, and sometimes you get planted."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Advertising