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Eatman: While Yards Aren’t Piling Up For Felix; Respect Has

Posted Nov 28, 2012

DeMarco Murray has been out for the last six games. And just last week, did Felix Jones surpass him in rushing yards.

Jones now has 335 yards for the season, eclipsing Murray for now at 330. This is the point in the story where we mention the Cowboys rank dead last in the NFL in rushing at 78.7 yards per game.

While it appears Murray could finally be coming back this week from that foot sprain, he’s obviously been missed. You can see that in the stats. He provides a combination of speed and power the other guys just don’t have.

But here in the last few games, I think Felix Jones has earned some respect both inside and outside this building.

A lot of times, we see categorize players as being hurt or healthy, based on if they’re in uniform. Last week against the Redskins, the Cowboys had 46 players dressed out to play, but they didn’t have 46 healthy players.

Felix Jones was undoubtedly banged up and has been for a while. He’s got two knee injuries that aren’t 100 percent, an ankle injury that has been bothersome and had a neck injury. Over the last few games, if anyone needed to sit down it would be Felix. Yet, the Cowboys couldn’t afford not to have him.

Has been great? No, in fact Jones has really never been great since the Cowboys drafted him, other than maybe the first four games of his career when he scored four touchdowns in consecutive games. Since then, his career has been disappointing for sure.

Not only because he’s a first-round pick but just think about the other running backs drafted behind him – from Reshard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Ray Rice, Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis have all been more productive. I probably left out a few as well.

It’s clear Jones will probably not be back next season with the Cowboys. Earlier this year, I wondered if he’d even latch on with anyone next year.

But that has changed over the last few weeks. Jones’ demeanor is so laid-back that we can often, and sometimes unfairly, mistake that for his lack of dedication. That has been a knock on him over the years that he simply doesn’t really care. Only he knows that for sure, but if he didn’t care at all, he wouldn’t have battled through the injuries he has the last few weeks.

He hasn’t been overly productive, but he’s shown some individual effort in a couple of these plays that have been short of phenomenal. That catch and run down the sideline last week against the Redskins was unreal and the touchdown catch he had against the Eagles was pretty impressive, too.

No, Jones doesn’t appear he’ll have the career we might have expected. He doesn’t seem like he’ll get the chance to be a starter – a position he never really had in college.

Jones might not have won any respect from fans that are still upset over everything that has taken place this year. But he’s won some of it back from the coaches and front-office personnel here in the building.

For a guy who will be a free agent next year, that is probably just as important as anything else.
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