Phillip Tanner ready if Cowboys need him to carry the load

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The Cowboys got running back Felix Jones back on practice in a limited fashion on Thursday and he’s expected to play against the Giants on Sunday.

Jones, who has been bothered by a bruised knee, has not been able to stay on the field in either of the last two games, though, which means Dallas needs to have other options on hand to help them replace the injured DeMarco Murray in the backfield. Phillip Tanner is first up on that list and Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that he’s been getting plenty of work with the first team offense this week. Tanner had a career-high 13 carries last weekend and feels ready for an even bigger role this week.

“The most important thing I’ve learned is always be mentally prepared. Just take it to practice every day as if I’m going to be the starting running back,” Tanner said. “That’s been my mindset since the first day. Just to work hard and jell with the offensive line as if I’m the starting running back. So that when my time came, I would be ready.”

The Cowboys are entering Sunday’s game in less than ideal shape, but they need only call up an archive of Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s press conferences to learn the way to deal with the situation. They’d hear Coughlin say something about the next man in line stepping up, a mantra Dallas will have to steal in the coming weeks to keep their season on track.