It looks like we're finally going to get our answer about who the Cowboys' starting tailback will be for the rest of the season.
Jerry Jones took to the radio Tuesday morning to say that he expects Felix Jones will be in the lineup for this weekend's Redskins game. That means we will get our first look at the Cowboys' backfield with Jones active alongside DeMarco Murray since Murray exploded onto the scene four weeks ago.
There's been a lot of discussion about who should start once Felix was back in action over those four weeks with the Cowboys maintaining that Murray wasn't going to be a starter. Double J reiterated that on Sunday night -- while also reiterating that every coach of the Cowboys has to deal with quite a bit of meddling from the executive suite -- even though Murray has gained more than eight yards per carry since Jones went down with an injury.
Too much gets made of the starting spot. Tashard Choice started Murray's breakout game against the Rams and it didn't do much to get in the way of the offense finding the best man for the situation. There are enough carries to go around, especially if the offensive line keeps opening chasms for the backs to run through.
Of much more importance is the question of which running back is going to carry the heavy load. While discussing Felix's return to the lineup, Double J gave a pretty big hint about the team's thinking on that front.
"One thing that comes to my mind that Murray looks like the more he carries the more effective he gets. If you think of that theoretically about a workhorse running back that they get better as the game goes along. Felix, and this is not negative in any way, Felix has always been a guy that he looks like the best way for him to be his best is to inject him in spots and so we may have a guy here in Murray who can carry a lot of carries and we may have a guy in Felix that can step in there and carry it 13 times a ballgame and really have a chance to break it."
It is the kind of decision you'd rather see Jason Garrett make, obviously, but it sounds like a pretty heady read on the situation. Felix Jones has never shown the same kind of ability as an every down back that Murray has shown in the last four weeks, so it makes sense to put him back into the role he played well when Marion Barber was doing his thing in past years.
Murray has also displayed a greater ability as a pass blocker than Felix has over the years, something that matters a great deal when you're choosing which back to have in the game. That has to fit in the equation as does the possibility of using Felix as a kick returner once he's proven he's back to full health.
Using both backs correctly is much more signifcant than which one of them is on the field for the first snap. It will take some creativity, but the Cowboys offense is going to be better for having both backs available. Given the upcoming schedule and the opportunity it provides, it couldn't be happening at a better time either.