Player Round Table (Felix Jones)
By FBG Staff; Hosted by Maurile Tremblay
August 6th, 2010

Here at Footballguys.com, we have Spotlights and Faceoffs. Those features are fairly comprehensive, but they are limited to viewpoints from either one or two writers. Some players need a little more commentary. We have opened up the dialog and asked our staff to leave their thoughts on these players and what is expected from them in 2010. Here, discussion centers around RB Felix Jones.

Mark Wimer: While Jerry Jones has been making noise about giving Felix Jones more playing time during 2010, I have seen no indication that the coaching staff actually intends to give him more playing time. Nor has Jones ever proven to be a durable back who could handle a full-time, featured-back workload. He's played a total of 20 out of 32 possible games during his career, and 138 touches (116 rushes with 22 receptions) during 14 games last year is his career high.

The Cowboys aren't handing the starting job over to Jones. Jerry Jones praised Marion Barber over the offseason for being in great shape, and looking quicker than he had in the past. Moreover, as a more physical runner than Jones, Barber should continue to close out games in the fourth quarter when the Cowboys are protecting a lead.

I think that Felix Jones will remain a part-time member of the Dallas running-back-by-committee, with Marion Barber starting and ending games, and Tashard Choice sprinkled in liberally. That is not a recipe for a top-10 (or top-20) finish during 2010. Even his ADP of 24 seems a little optimistic to me.

David Dodds: With the addition of Dez Bryant, this team is clearly one that will look to pass first and run later. I think Felix Jones matches what this offense wants to do way better than what Marion Barber can provide. Jones can get to the second level so fast. So when you run three wide and then screen to Jones, he might need just a few well timed blocks to bust the home run. Barber is a grinder. He will be the short yardage guy, but I don't believe he presents as many problems to a defense as Jones does. And make no mistake about things here. Felix Jones is Jerry Jones guy. He is going to be given every opportunity to be a huge part of this offense.

Is Felix Jones worth the RB24 spot? If we knew he would stay healthy AND be the starter, it would be an easy yes. With a history of getting hurt and stiff competition from Barber and even Tashard Choice, the price seems a bit steep. He remains one of the high risk / high reward guys this year though.

Mark Wimer: Barber did look like a grinder last season, but he was playing a majority of the season on a torn quadriceps muscle in one leg (13 games he fought through that injury, reportedly).

I think of him more as a warrior rather than a grinder after learning of his fight through a serious injury last year (one that would have no-doubt sidelined Jones for the season). Now that he is back to full health, and looking good in training camp, I think Barber easily maintains his role as top option in the multi-faceted Cowboy's running back by committee.

Jerry Jones isn't strictly a Felix Jones guy - he loves both of his primary RBs.

Jeff Pasquino: Dallas used one-back formations over 65% of the time last year, and that was before they added Dez Bryant. I can see that continuing into 2010. So either Jones or Marion Barber are going to have to create their own opportunities without a lead blocker most of the time. Jones will have to be an effective pass blocker and durable enough to last 25-35 snaps a game even when he is not the intended recipient of the ball. His durability has been his biggest limitation, and with Dallas having two other capable options in Barber and Tashard Choice, a mix of all three is still the likely best use of all of them.

The Cowboys were most successful when they had the speed of Jones complimenting the power of Barber with a sprinkling of Choice for a change of pace. I do not see any reason why they would want to change that successful formula, so that limits the value some for each back. Jones can still be productive and put up decent numbers, but expecting him to push Barber completely out of the offense and be a featured 20-25 touch back is asking a bit too much.

Sigmund Bloom: Jones looks incredible when he is playing at full speed, like the kind of back who can have top 20 RB value even on only 15-18 touches a game. Few backs are more elusive and explosive in the open field. The problem is that already in two seasons, Jones has suffered three significant injuries, and he has also showed that he's not a quick healer and will not produce through his injuries. The fact that he has spent so much time on the injury report even though he has only touched the ball 167 times in his short career makes it hard to feel good about spending a pick on him that amounts to having him as your starting RB2. When you get the urge to swing for the fences at RB in the 5th round, look to Detroit rookie Jahvid Best instead of Jones. If Best is gone, wait a round or two and take Ahmad Bradshaw or Jones' backfieldmate Marion Barber.

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