What Exactly Do the Cowboys Have in Running Back Felix Jones?
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.