Five-star: Key is reaching secondary


Five-Star question: Will Felix Jones, who has one run of 10 yards or more in 44 carries on the road, match or surpass that total this week in Tampa?

With the season-ending injury to DeMarco Murray, it is once again up to Felix Jones to attempt to carry the weight of this Cowboys running game on his shoulders.

From what I was able to observe last week against the Giants, Jones will be up to the task against the Buccaneers, who on tape play as if they are the 28th-ranked team in the league against the run. This is a Tampa Bay team that defensively misses a ton of tackles in the secondary. The key in the game for the Cowboys running the ball will be to secure defensive ends Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn because they are the ones on this defense who can hurt you in the running game mainly at running plays down from behind rather than at the point of attack.

By securing this front, Jones will have the opportunity to burst into the secondary level and make the linebackers and defensive backs have to make plays in the open field. Of the four starting defensive backs, safety Sean Jones is the best tackler. From there, corners Ronde Barber, Aqib Talib and safety Tanard Jackson really struggle.

Though Cowboys fullback Tony Fiammetta wasn't perfect last week, he still is better than tight end John Phillips at the point of attack at cleaning up the messes that the offensive line tends to have. Against the Buccaneers, I can see Felix Jones having multiple runs of over 10 yards or better mainly because if the Cowboys can get him to the secondary level, it will be hard for the Buccaneers to bring him down in the open field. Poor tackling teams tend to give up big plays, and this will help Jones have a big day.