Felix Jones's Role Coming Into Focus - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Felix Jones's Role Coming Into Focus



    The return of Felix Jones to the Cowboys lineup has created a lot of questions.

    How will his presence impact DeMarco Murray's role on offense? Who is going to carry the rock in crunch time? Will the offense struggle by trying to use both backs?

    The Cowboys haven't done a great job of answering those questions this week. There's been hemming and hawing about which back will start and exactly how the workload is going to be split for the rest of the season. Part of that is because it is difficult to figure out the answers in the abstract, but it is still troubling because the team hasn't always done a good job of letting the best players play without letting reputation impact decisions.

    We're starting to get an idea about how things will work, though. Jones spent time at Thursday's practice returning kickoffs, a sign that the team will be leaning on Murray offensively while finding other ways to get Jones into the lineup.

    It's an encouraging sign on two fronts. Murray has been so good the last four weeks that reining him in would be a mistake. He needs to be the bell cow in the backfield because he's proven to be better at it than Jones.

    Jones has been most valuable to the Cowboys over the years as a complementary player. That might not be the role anyone envisioned for him coming into this year or when he was drafted, but you can't argue with what you've seen on the field.

    Putting Jones deep on kickoffs gives the team something that they've been lacking all season. Their return game hasn't been good enough and if Jones can provide the same kind of boost that he did as a rookie, it will give the team a dimension that can add a lot to their chances of winning the rest of the games on the schedule.

    It doesn't take him out of the mix for carries in the backfield, but it does make it easier to maximize the talents of both players. Murray is the lead back who can give up some carries to Jones when the moment calls for it. Jones' gamebreaking ability will still be on the table and it will be highlighted in a role that the Cowboys could really use at this point in the season.

    Everyone still needs to execute, obviously, but the Cowboys have put their players in a position to do that with optimal effectiveness.