Dez Bryant (88). Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

QUICK OUT: Amber Alert – Felix Jones Missing


Felix Jones (28) Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Clearly, Felix Jones has gone missing.  I’m not sure who the player wearing jersey #28 is on the team, but it can’t be Felix.

At one time, the Dallas Cowboys were so confident that he was ready to be their feature running back that they parted ways with Marion Barber.  Then, he sustained a high ankle sprain in week 6 of the 2011 season against the New England Patriots.  He was replaced by DeMarco Murray against the Rams in week 7 and we all know how that went.  Welcome to the NFL Mr. Murray!  Two hundred and fifty three yards later, Tashard Choice was waived and Felix Jones became the backup.

To his credit, he handled that transition very professionally.  He was used as a “change of pace” back, to give Murray a few plays off, and as a receiver on 3rd downs.  And, when Murray’s season was ended prematurely against the Giants, Felix stepped back into the starter role and did an admirable job.  Many around the league were excited about the prospect of having both players healthy and available this year.  During the off season, we even saw some tinkering with both players in the backfield at the same time – a scary thought for most linebackers in pass coverage.

Then, Felix reports to training camp out of shape and fails the conditioning test – a test as a 5th year professional, he had to know was coming.  As a result, he missed nearly an entire week of training camp.  More red flags surfaced when in the first preseason game in limited action against the Raiders, Felix’s stat line was 2 carries, 4 yards, and one very bad dropped pass.  Okay, so he was still a little rusty and he looked it!

Then, last Saturday against the Chargers, Felix got a little more playing time but the results were not a whole lot better: 3 carries, 10 yards (8 on 1 carry alone where he tripped and fell forward) and 1 reception for 3 yards.  Plus, another badly dropped pass.  On the one completion, it was third down and he caught the ball in the flat, looked to be able to easily pick up the first down but was stoned by a single tackler (the DB no less) a yard short.  Where is the speed and elusiveness we’ve come to expect out of Felix?  So far, he’s been described as “sluggish”.  It’s a contract year for him but he seems to be completely unmotivated.

Jerry Jones came out yesterday and scoffed at the idea that Felix’s roster spot might not be secure.  Is that because Felix has earned his spot or because Jerry was the main reason they drafted Felix Jones out of his alma mater, University of Arkansas (ahead of Mendenhall by the way)?  That “security” coming from the man who signs the checks certainly isn’t going to help motivate Felix.  Which of our promising young running backs is going to get cut or end up relegated to the practice squad so Jerry doesn’t have to look like he made another draft error?

Don’t misunderstand my point – I think Felix is very talented and the Cowboys are no doubt going to need him this season.  A quick review of DeMarco Murray’s injury history in college (and the NFL so far) would support that contention.  I’m not making the case that he should be cut (trading him at this point would be pointless too).  I may be disappointed in him this season so far, but I don’t think (yet) that he isn’t salvageable.  But, the Cowboys need to find out where the effective, motivated, fast, elusive player they drafted originally has gone and get him back!  And fast!

Here are a couple of other interesting thoughts (at least to me):

1.  Did everyone see the draw play early in the Chargers game where Bernadeau got knocked into the backfield and DeMarco Murray actually ran untouched between him and the man he was blocking?  I’ve watched a lot of football in my time, but I can’t recall ever seeing that before.  It’s like they were so focused on each other that they ignored the guy with the ball.  Nifty move DeMarco!

2.  Great to see the defense getting some turnovers.  Brandon Carr is living up to the hype.  But, I have to be honest.  His first interception against San Diego looked like he was beaten.  I know it is being spun by him and some of the media as him “baiting Rivers into thinking his man was open” but if that ball had been thrown in front of Meachem, I think he’s off and running.  It wasn’t so it counts for us.  But, I’m not quite ready just yet to put Carr and Deion Sanders in the same sentence (wait, I just did…dang it).

3.  Kevin Ogletree looks to have a solid lead towards being the #3 receiver (or #1, #2, and starting TE if we don’t stop the injury roll we’re on).  While he certainly made some good catches in the Charger game, I also noticed that on several occasions he was lined up in the wrong spot and had to be directed by Romo on where to go.  On another play, he and Dez Bryant ended up in the same spot in the end zone – typically a sign that someone ran the wrong route and my money is on Ogletree.   The Cowboys are just lucky that both he and Bryant were not injured on that play.  That in my mind has really always been the issue with Ogletree – he can run and catch the ball.  But, unless he lines up in the right formation, makes the same read as the quarterback, and/or runs to the spot the quarterback is expecting him to be, he is useless.  Romo doesn’t trust him.

4.  Finally, Dez Bryant may have his issues, but did you see the one-handed catch he made in the back of the end zone?  Wow!  And, despite being nullified by another bad penalty, he did look like he got both feet down.  A “real” ref would have made the correct call.  If he can stay healthy and stay on the field, Dez is poised to have a breakout year - a Calvin Johnson type of year.  You read it here first!  Go Cowboys!

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Felix Jones

  • californy

    The skill position here in Dallas is important but you can not ignore the offensive line. It amaze me when the writers and fans seem so focus in these skill position when the football fundemental of a good offensive line is ignored.
    Felix Jones was never a full time player in college and never a full time player in the NFL. He hs been given every opportinity to sieze the moments and has yet to delivered. For many years I blame the offensive line, but when Felix went down then came Murray. Murray disprove the notion it was all on the offensive line with the sucess he had last year. This year we are back with square one again, because not Jones or Murray has shown the abilities they shown last year with this offensive line despite JJ spending 80 million dollar worth in the FA market to address the Cowboys shortcomings. It seem like Jones lack the motivation but at the same time Murray has not show to be the player he was with this offensive line.
    It all come back to this line. JJ and this article all talk in circles, you can not ignore the offensive line. There are team here in the NFL , team like the 49 and the NO saints who are 4-5 players deep in the RB position, they also have 3-4 deep in the QB position. What is the common reason for this, great draft, better players, and yes better offensive line. i say if you want to improve this team running game, passing game, QB rating, team victories, red zone effiicency, balance offensive & time of posseesion get some better offensive line.

    • Todd Toombs

      Don’t disagree with you on the O-Line concerns. They played better against the Chargers, but still a long way to go. I am anxious to see Bernadeau, Livings, Smith, and Free and I guess Arkin work together at the same time. Still hoping for the best.

  • Toby Keith’s Truck

    Great post Todd. As usual, you have provided some very thought provoking points and as a result, I have made a few of my own conclusions about our 2012/2013 Cowboys:
    1). This is clearly a rebuilding year and it wouldn’t surprise me if they finish 0-17 (that’s right, they even lose during the bye week).
    2). This team should be rebuilt completely with former Sooners like Demarco. Speaking of former Sooners, Witten should be released immediately and Romo should throw the ball to James Hanna on any play not called for Murray.
    3). The discrepancy in talent compared to the Eagles, Giants and Redskins is immense and if nothing is done in the offseason, we are looking at YEARS of cellar dwelling in the NFC East.

    Love to know your thoughts.

    • Todd Toombs

      We are always cautioned to be respectful to our fans. So, I guess I will just suggest you go back on your medication.

    • http://www.facebook.com/directortom Tom Salagaj

      Yeah, it’s a throw away year for Dallas. They will say it’s all about the injuries? Forgetaboutit….this is NOT a team yet. I doubt seriously if it ever will be in relation to the other teams in our division. My pet peeve for so many years post Jimmy Johnson is that we do NOT have great football men upstairs making all the decisions. Even Parcells could not get past the “it’s my freakin’ team and I’m the real coach…can’t you see why I am always answering the media questions a head coach should be answering? Now shut up and let me coach my team that I bought with my own money!” SJ is not any better. The Dallas Cowboys have become a “scratch my head” organization. Seeminly great on paper and hype from JJ but short on real football results. This franchise needs a great football GM and will always be a bit short until that happens. End of story….not a great year ahead. Sorry!

  • http://www.facebook.com/directortom Tom Salagaj

    I honestly believe that Felix’s problem is mental, not physical. But a players’ mental state often affects everything else. Never noticed any of this mental crap with Emmitt Smith. Guy just did his job better than anyone else in the league for so many years. If Felix Jones does not kick in soon, he needs to be benched long enough to watch Jamize Olawae have a couple of break out games while filling in for D Murray. Maybe if JJ will stop coddling him, he can mature and play some football!

    • Todd Toombs

      Tom – I agree, Felix just doesn’t seem to be motivated. There are hungrier guys behind him that just want a chance. Would hate to see those guys go to the practice squad or to another team.