Saturday, October 13, 2012
Felix Jones takes on Ray Rice
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING, Texas -- Friday afternoon, Cowboys running back Felix Jones didn't want to speak to a reporter about his season. Jones said he had something to do that was more pressing.
That's fine, because when it comes to the football field, Jones hasn't been important. His role with the team is hard to explain and his overall production is terrible.
On the season, Jones has rushed for just 13 yards, coming on a nifty 13-yard gain in the Week 4 loss to Chicago. On kick returns, Jones is averaging just 21.5 yards.
Jones hasn't had an impact, if at all with the Cowboys in 2012.
Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, Jones must look across the field and watch a man taken in the same draft class, Ray Rice, and wonder what might have been.
Or maybe why.
Jones was a first-round pick and Rice a second-rounder.
Here's Rice's career in a nutshell: Second all-time in Ravens history with 4,796 rushing yards, a franchise record 15 touchdowns in 2011, a two-time Pro Bowler, and in 2012 he's second in the league with 609 yards from scrimmage. Since 2009, Rice leads all NFL players with 6,494 yards.
Here's Jones' career in a nutshell: Injuries to toe, hamstring and knee, zero Pro Bowls, played in 16 games just once, 2010, his 148 rushing yards against Philadelphia in the 2009 playoffs were the third-most rushing yards in a postseason in franchise history.
When the Cowboys drafted Jones it was mainly to back up Marion Barber. Jones was asked to be a change of pace to the power of Barber. It never happened. The Cowboys never used Jones the right way. In some ways the Cowboys should have used Jones the way the Philadelphia Eagles used LeSean McCoy. When Brian Westbrook was the starter, McCoy was the third down back.
The Cowboys tried to do that with Jones, but it didn't work.
In the 2008 draft class, the Cowboys college staff projected Jones as a first-rounder and Rice a second-or-third-round pick. It's OK, because most NFL teams had it the same way.
You can't blame the college staff for how they projected Rice because they were right. The NFL coaching staff didn't know how to use Jones. And so when the 2012 season ends, Jones will leave and sign with another team, while Rice will forge ahead with a big money contract with the Ravens.
Jones' career with the Cowboys has been a failure.
Sunday when the Cowboys and Ravens meet, maybe Jones can provide the coaches with a small glimpse of what they wanted him to be. Then again, DeMarco Murray is the lead running back now and all Jones can do is hope for his chance on kick returns and on third downs.
Maybe at some point on Sunday afternoon, Jones will help the Cowboys. But that's a big maybe.
We do know Rice will help the Ravens. There's no maybe about that.