Cowboys running back Felix Jones‘ season got off to an embarrassing start when he failed a conditioning test on the first day of training camp, an event which seemed to push him even further behind DeMarco Murray on the team’s depth chart at tailback.
Jones only had three carries in the first four games, but he stepped in for Murray last Sunday against the Ravens and ran for 92 yards to help the team set themselves up for a disappointing finish in a 31-29 loss. Jones left the game with cramps at one point, leaving things in the untested hands of Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar, but he said earlier this week that he’s ready for the lead role while Murray is out of the lineup.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones agrees and points out that the running back looks quicker now that he’s in better shape.
“Felix Jones is one of the most conscientious, hardest workers that I’ve been around as a football player,” Jerry Jones said on KRLD-FM, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “You’ve got to almost shoot him to get him off the practice field. So he works at it. Now, he did come in not the shape he wanted to be. I don’t have an answer for that, because that’s not typical of where he is. But since that time, he’s gotten quicker. He is quicker. Maybe he had a little extra pound or two that he shouldn’t have had or wouldn’t have had if he could do it over, but in my mind he’s ready to go. He’s quick. … He’s quicker at practice. You can see some of the quickness that he needs to have to have his game at its best.”
Felix Jones has gotten other chances as the lead dog and they have not gone particularly well for him or the Cowboys. They don’t have much choice but to put the ball back in his hands against the Panthers, whose defense could set them up for another big day on the ground.