- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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A couple of days after emphasizing that ball security is the most important thing for a return man and saying the Cowboys would explore other options on kickoffs, coach Jason Garrett said he remained committed to Felix Jones in that role.
It just so happens that Jerry Jones shot down the possibility of replacing Felix Jones on kickoff returns during his Tuesday radio show.
“Yeah, Felix has been such a good player for us,” Garrett said. “He’s coming off the injury from last year and if you just look at his track record as a play-making type player, both on offense and in the kicking game, he’s been pretty darn good.
“Ball security is a really, really important thing. When you look at the statistics in the NFL, the turnover ratio often times leads to the success rate in a particular game and over the course of the season. We recognize the importance of that. Felix does not have a huge history of having turnovers, fumbling the football as kickoff returner. He had the one the other day and it was a very important play in the ballgame. We all recognize that. But we’ve moved on from that.
“We moved on from that in the ballgame and like I said the other, when you really evaluate any player, you evaluate his most recent game but you also evaluate his body of work. Felix’s body of work has been pretty darn good. We will have Felix back there.”
Garrett said it’s always important to have other options when using “starting-type players” as your primary return men. It’s a major stretch to call a running back with one carry for one yard in two games a starting-type player.
Fumbles have been a recent issue for the former first-round pick. Jones ranked second among running backs in the NFL with five fumbles in 167 touches last season. Maurice Jones-Drew had six fumbles in 388 touches.
Jones was a dynamic kick returner as a rookie, when he averaged 27.1 yards on 16 returns, including a 98-yard touchdown. He has averaged 23.0 yards on 45 returns since then and ranks 23rd in the NFL on kickoff returns this season (21.3 yards).
But the beefy backup running back will keep getting opportunities to return kickoffs.