What Exactly Do the Cowboys Have in Running Back Felix Jones?
Is Felix Jones the man? Or just the man until DeMarco Murray becomes the man?
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said this week on his weekly radio show that he considers the fourth-year running back one of the keys to Dallas' season.
"I expect Felix to have a really good season," Jones said. "And if Felix is really good then we'll be really good."
Coming off a 6-10 season that got the head coach fired, "really good" is relative. But as the Cowboys practice with the Chargers this morning at Valley Ranch in preparations for Sunday's pre-season game, for now the Cowboys' featured back is Jones.
Difficult to decipher at this point whether that's an asset or a liability.
Sometimes Jones appears to be mediocre, a back who has trouble making defenders miss and who is a hamstring just waiting to pop. And other times he flashes elite speed and eye-popping production.
Head coach Jason Garrett learned a lot of his football from Norv Turner when the Chargers' coach was Dallas' offensive coordinator. Turner is not a fan of back-by-committee, rather finding a good horse and riding him. Of course that's easy to do when you're blessed with Emmitt Smith.
But I expect Garrett to fully exhaust Jones' talents this season. Especially with Tashard Choice and Murray, the rookie from OU, sidelined all of training camp with injuries. I don't think 20 carries is out of the question, nor is 25 touches per game.
And, considering his production, that's not a bad thing. Granted, it exposes Jones to another injury. But check it:
In 2010 Jones turned 185 carries and 48 catches into 1,250 yards. That's 233 touches at an average of 5.3 yards.
Of course 17 runners topped 1,000 last year -- led by Arian Foster and Jamaal Charles -- and Jones had the fewest touchdowns (1) among the NFL's Top 50 backs, but the guy has big-play ability and big-time potential production.
Compared to his 5.3 per touch, Michael Turner had 4.2, Adrian Peterson 5.1, Maurice Jones-Drew 4.9 and Chris Johnson 4.7. Charles was a whopping 7.0 and Foster 5.6.
Maybe it's too much Cowboys' Kool-Aid in the August heat, but I think more Jones is a good thing for Dallas' offense this season.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.