Cowboys should cut Felix
He's not that guy anymore. He's no longer a dynamic playmaker capable of giving his team momentum any time he touches the ball.
Jones is Curvin Richards now.
That name ring a bell? He's the backup running back Jimmy Johnson cut for fumbling twice in the 1992 regular-season finale. Johnson decided the only way Richards could help the Cowboys was as a sacrificial lamb. Johnson made an example out of Richards, and the Cowboys won the Super Bowl weeks later.
Jones has only fumbled once this season, gifting a field goal to the Seattle Seahawks by coughing it up on the opening kickoff Sunday, but poor ball security isn't the primary reason he should be released. It should just be the final straw.
Actually, Jones shouldn't have survived the round of cuts to get down to the 53-man roster.
It's a cardinal sin for a running back to show up to training camp out of shape, but he failed the conditioning test the evening before the first practice. Of course, a lot of sins can be forgiven for guys who can make plays.
The problem: Jones' days of making plays are done.
There isn't a dropoff from flabby Felix to Phillip Tanner. And Lance Dunbar would be an upgrade on kickoff returns.
Jones is a change-of-pace back who is significantly slower than the starter. He has no burst or wiggle. He makes tacklers miss less often than he misses meals. His ineptitude was evident on the final play of Sunday's stinker, when he stumbled and fell despite no tackler being near him on a meaningless screen pass against the Seahawks' prevent defense.
Jerry Jones is on the record predicting a big year from his fellow Arkansas alum, but that's silly spin from a salesman. Want to know what the coaches really think of their beefy backup tailback? Felix Jones has a grand total of one carry in two games, and they're looking at other alternatives to return kicks.
Jason Garrett said Sunday evening that the thought of cutting Jones hadn't even entered his consciousness. There was some progress by Monday afternoon.
"We'll continue to evaluate Felix like we do every player on our football team and decide what that role is going forward," Garrett said, no longer completely dismissing the idea of dumping Jones.
Jones' role should be the sacrificial lamb.
It wouldn't make sense
The Cowboys are not going to release running back Felix Jones. There's no reason to do it.
Yes, the production is lacking in the return, running and the receiving game.
Yes, he doesn't seem to have the same burst as in years past.
Yes, he doesn't seem to be in the best shape of his professional career.
But there is uncertainty behind him and in front of him.
Starter DeMarco Murray, as talented as he is, has yet to complete a full NFL season. He missed the last few weeks of the 2011 season with a fractured ankle.
Keeping Jones around in case Murray gets hurt gives the franchise the comfort of having someone who has at least started games in this league.
The backups, Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar, are talented yet unproven. You're not sure what you're getting, and those two players battled injuries during training camp.
Cutting Jones and moving up Tanner to No. 2 and Dunbar from the practice squad to the active roster would prove problematic for the Cowboys.
You don't want a bunch of undrafted guys replacing a former first-round pick for major snaps.
At least right now.
It's only two weeks into the season, and Jones hasn't given the coaches anything to make them believe he can be a productive player.
However, it beats Tanner and Dunbar, who have yet to produce anything of substance. If anything, the Cowboys should move Jones off kick returns. Make Tanner or Dwayne Harris the deep threat and let Jones become the off returner.
In the run game, the Cowboys probably should let Jones start a series or two. It could give him an opportunity to find a rhythm in the offense, which he clearly lacks. Jones doesn't have the speed to get off the edge right now -- losing five to 10 pounds might help -- so stop putting him in situations where he's set up to fail. No more swing passes to Jones. Maybe a few dump-offs here and there.
Bring him along slowly and hope by midseason he'll find a flow to the game.
If this doesn't work, then make a move.
But cutting him now wouldn't make sense.
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