The Dallas Cowboys decided to play the “wait and see” card in regards to extending Felix Jones’s contract this preseason and so far there’s not much to be seen from Jones.
Jones was the Cowboys’ first of two players selected in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft, the second was cornerback Mike Jenkins.
To say that Jones has been a disappointment thus far would be an understatement, but the Cowboys aren’t ready to give up on him. He’s struggled mightily in his first two games of the season, but Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones says Dallas hasn’t ruled out re-signing the former Arkansas Razorbacks standout.
After injuring his shoulder last season, Jones made it a mission to bulk-up and gain muscle this off-season. He gained weight all right, just not the kind of weight from which you say, “wow, that guy’s in great shape.”
Instead Jones showed up to training camp out of shape and failed his initial conditioning test and it’s been a snowball effect for him since. His failure, highlighted by his lackluster performance as the team’s primary kick returner against the Seattle Seahawks when he fumbled the opening kickoff, has me wondering if his heart is still in it.
During that same game against the Seahawks, as time was expiring, Jones caught a screen pass and trotted down the field. It almost looked like he was skipping. From out of nowhere the field reaches up and trips him. Instead of giving it 110% Jones seemed content with just lollygagging it down the field.
That type of attitude is detrimental to the young backs on the team, and needs to change not just for Jones’ sake, but also for the sake of the team.
Jones has looked slow and lacks the burst necessary to make defenders miss in the open field. On eight kickoff returns he’s averaging 21.3 yards per return, good enough to rank him 23rd in the NFL.
What makes Jones’ recent performance more disheartening is the success that players who were drafted after him have enjoyed. Players like Chris Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall, Matt Forte, DeSean Jackson, Jamaal Charles and Ray Rice, to name a few, all of whom have been central parts to their team’s success.
The Cowboys believe that Jones can have success as the team’s primary kick returner, but he needs to make better decisions. The team could benefit greatly from a field position standpoint if Jones knows when to take a knee and when to run it out.
I think that if the Cowboys are to be successful, there’s another Jones who needs to be a better decision maker as well.