We're getting closer to Halloween which means that it won't be much longer before we get a chance to catch up with "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." The cartoon is a gem that we've seen close to a hundred times, not that the repeated viewings make it any easier to see Linus get let down again (spoiler alert for anyone who somehow skipped childhood) when the Great Pumpkin fails to appear.
Watching the cartoon this year will probably be very tough for Cowboys fans. Year after year they've played the role of Linus and waited for Felix Jones to become the featured player in the Cowboys offense and every year they're let down as he remains a dangerous and rarely used commodity.
It's been worse than ever through the first two games of 2010. Jones has a ridiculously low 19 touches and he hasn't done much of anything once he's gotten the ball in his hands. Fifteen carries for 45 yards and four catches for 38 yards are not the numbers of a player who is worthy of the amount of attention paid to Jones by legions of Cowboys watchers. What's the reason for this lack of productivity.
The Offensive Line - If you've watched Jones this season, you've doubtlessly noticed that he's being forced to fight just to get back to the line of scrimmage on many of his carries. There aren't many runners who can thrive in such situations and Jones isn't one of them. He needs to explode through a hole or exploit a crease or beat a defender to the edge, something that hasn't been happening because of the substandard work up front.
Jason Garrett - The line work has been bad, but there are mitigating circumstances. Garrett has almost exclusively called counters and traps for Jones, something that makes the line look even worse because of how much they have to do to create an opening. It's antithetical to everything Garrett has ever been about, but it might behoove the Cowboys to simplify things and just try blowing people off the ball and letting Jones take care of the rest. Of course, the issue with Garrett is only partially the types of running plays he calls. It is also the amount of running plays he calls. A split -- total, not just Jones -- of 51 passes to 19 runs isn't going to do much to get Felix going.
The Weight - This is the hardest one to figure out because of how big a role the other two options are clearly playing this season. Jones is heavier than he was in the past because he added muscle this offseason and the early analysis is that it has cost him some explosiveness. There have been three or four moments in the first two games when it looked like Jones could activate that turbo boost and make a huge play, but it has never happened and you have to wonder if the change in his body is responsible for his lack of burst.
Our faith in Felix's abilities is as unshakable as Linus's belief in The Great Pumpkin, but it would be nice to see some sign that we're not just believing in a fairy tale.
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