It’s hard to shake the memories of Felix Jones’ first season with Dallas. Every time he touched the ball, he seemed to rip off yards by the dozen. Sure, Felix ended that year hurt. But surely, that was just a bump in the road. Surely, he would become one of the most dangerous backs in all of football.
Yeah well, it’s three years later and that hasn’t happened yet. And a lot of people have started to ask if Jones will EVER amount to more than a Jaguar that always ends up in the shop. Like Jean Jacques Taylor at the Morning News, who believes the Cowboys are bringing Jones along too slowly.
Seven running backs – two in the first round, two in the second round and three in the third round – were taken after Jones, who was selected with the 22nd pick of the first round.
Among those players, Jones ranks last in yards, last in touchdowns and second to last in runs of 20 yards or more.
It's time for the Cowboys to find out whether Jones is a member of the team's foundation or a perpetual tease.
I suspect, with some measure of sadness, that we already know the answer to this question. There is a possibility that Jones has been misused by the Cowboys. I’d put nothing past the Phillips/Garrett braintrust. And you need look no farther than Jerious Norwood to find a player who seemingly rips up the field on every carry yet is never given a starting role (Norwood is on IR this year). Still, there are some alarming things to note about Jones in his three years since arriving in Dallas. His yards per carry has gone down significantly every year. His rookie year YPC of 8.9 blew everyone away. But this year, it’s down to a more pedestrian 4.0. He’s still yet to play a whole season without getting injured. And he can’t seem to get in carries over Marion Barber or Tashard Choice. Rashard Mendenhall and Chris Johnson were drafted right after Jones, and they are now studs. So why isn’t Felix? What’s holding him back? Is it that he maybe, just possibly, might suck?
I’m of the mind that most NFL backs show who they are within two years of being in the league. A productive back is usually productive right away. You very rarely see late bloomers like Thomas Jones or DeAngelo Williams (another back who was horribly misused). There’s something alarming about the fact that Jones can’t break away from this little platoon. If he was good enough to become a 1,400-yard, 15 TD robostud, he should have done it by now. Yet here he remains, a seemingly dangerous weapon who grows less dangerous by the year. There’s probably an explanation why, but the results are all that matter. And we may now be a year or less away from saying that Felix Jones is a mild bust.