How much work can Felix Jones handle?
IRVING, Texas – When the Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray for the season in 2011 to a fractured ankle, they turned the keys to the running game over to Felix Jones.
With Murray out this week at Carolina and possibly longer with a sprained foot, the Cowboys again will turn their attention to Jones.
But how much work can they give Jones?
Jones has only two 20-carry games in his five seasons, while Murray has six in his first two seasons.
In the final five games last season, Jones carried 53 times for 268 yards, with 106 yards against the New York Giants on 16 carries and 108 yards on 22 carries against Tampa Bay.
“He’s shown he can run inside and he can run outside,” coach Jason Garrett said. “I think we also saw other guys, like (Phillip) Tanner the other day, go in the ballgame and get his carries against that defense and have some positive success, as well. You have to go next man up. We feel really good about Felix Jones. He’s been a really good football player for us the last four years.”
Garrett said Jones and Tanner will split the running back duties with Lance Dunbar serving as a “pinch hitter” because a three-man rotation does not allow the top two backs to get into the flow of a game.
Jones had a poor start to the regular season after a poor start to training camp after failing the conditioning test. Garrett put much of Jones’ early woes on offseason shoulder surgery that kept Jones from running, but he believes Jones is ready now.
“He’s worked his way back through training camp and got some opportunities the other day and showed what he can do,” Garrett said.
Jones carried 18 times for 92 yards and had a touchdown against Baltimore.
Garrett said Jones will also continue to handle kickoff returns even if that seems impractical, while also having Dunbar practice some there.
“But you always want to have a guy rotate through if you feel it’s too much work on offense,” Garrett said.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Tony Romo news and what he will be watching for in OTAs.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his comments on how Jason Garrett should handle being on the hot seat and not let Jerry Jones get in the way.
Play Podcast Cowboys safety Barry Church joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the new defensive scheme and the impact it will have on him, how much more intense he expects practice to be with Monte Kiffin and his expectations.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news, including Jason Garrett downplaying Tony Romo's involvement in offensive planning and play calling.
Play Podcast John Lynch joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss playing for Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, why Cowboys fans should be excited about the new defensive staff, why Valley Ranch will no longer resemble a country club and his thoughts on the Cowboys' roster.
Play Podcast Herm Edwards joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news and give his take on what new face will make the biggest impact for Dallas.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what he saw at the Cowboys' rookie minicamp and how he helped Rod Marinelli on the defensive side of the ball.
Play Podcast Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what he took away from the Dallas Cowboys' rookie minicamp.