With many Dallas Cowboys players having stellar performances in Wednesday night’s win against the New York Giants, one thing may have been overlooked when you analyze the final box score of the game. The fact that running back Felix Jones, who was used as a kick returner, had no offensive touches from scrimmage in the game. Jones left the game to have a rib injury evaluated, but he did return to the field. Initial reports are that Jones should not miss any practice time or miss any future games due to this injury.
Felix Jones was drafted with the 22nd overall pick in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys in 2008. Although he was never an every down running back in college at Arkansas because he was behind Darren McFadden in the depth chart, Felix Jones was touted as a future feature back for the Cowboys. Entering in his fifth NFL season this year, Jones has an impressive career 5.1 yard per carry average. The problem is that in his career, he has been susceptible to injury. He has only played in one full 16 game season. This was one reason why the Cowboys drafted running back DeMarco Murray from Oklahoma in the 2011 draft. Felix Jones has never been clutch either. He has only 9 career touchdowns, including 3 touchdowns in the last 30 games he has played.
Jones was given the chance to be the featured back at the start of the 2011 season. In his first 5 games, he rushed for a paltry 50.6 yards per game. A high ankle injury to Jones gave DeMarco Murray his chance to show what he could do against the St. Louis Rams in Week #7. All it took was one game and a team record 253 rushing yard performance for Murray to be given the starting running back job. Felix Jones has been behind Murray on the depth chart ever since.
When Felix Jones entered training camp this year, he was one of the few people who failed their initial physical conditioning test. This was very surprising because first of all, it is his job to run. I’m sure it is in his job description somewhere and it is in the job title of “running” back. Secondly, this is the last year of his contract. Most players in the final year of their contract will come into camp in the best condition and will play their hardest to get that new high dollar contract. I cited Felix Jones for a DWI. Doesn’t Want It. That is the mentality I think he has. When I first read the article about the conditioning test, it took me all of 30 seconds to comment that the Cowboys should cut Jones and sign Cedric Benson. But owner Jerry Jones passed on Benson, and he believes that Felix Jones is ready to have a big year for the Cowboys. I’m sure that prediction has nothing to do with the fact that Jerry Jones also went to Arkansas University.
The class of running backs in the 2008 draft, will go down as one of the best classes for that position. Darren McFadden and Jonathan Stewart were selected earlier in the first round. Rashard Mendenhall and Chris Johnson were selected with the next two picks after Felix Jones. Later in the draft, running backs such as Matt Forte, Ray Rice, Jamal Charles, and Peyton Hillis were selected. Jerry Jones got carried away by selecting a back up running back from Arkansas in the first round, and maybe it is unfair for the Cowboys fans to have that kind of high expectation from Felix Jones. But with his obvious lack of work ethic, it is not difficult for me to label Jones as a flop from that draft. Fortunately, the Cowboys may have picked the steal of the 2011 draft in DeMarco Murray. When Murray is healthy, this Cowboys team is a more confident and consistent team.