Felix Appears To Have Just What It Takes

safety already."

That is what you want to hear about your running back, even if he's probably going to play second fiddle to Barber, that he has good vision and anticipation. That he instinctively knows who he is going to beat initially and already is on to the second line of defense.

Exactly what made Emmitt so good.

"You know, you have a good feel for when you can get away from tacklers, and sometimes I feel like, yeah, I can get away here. And then there are other times, you know, I don't have a hole to run through," said Felix here Monday afternoon, the only thing detracting from his radio interview - he's so polite and soft-spoken - was the listeners inability to actually see his wide smile.

So, do not think Felix can't run inside or that he's unwilling to run inside. Maybe just the opposite, because somewhere along the way he's learned the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

"People are really surprised I don't mind running through the tackles," Felix said. "I really prefer that (because it helps you) to get up the field real fast."

And he has a pretty good idea of who he is. To me, that's good.

For when asked to give a scouting report of himself, he said, without little hesitation, "Very elusive, fast, once he sees the hole he gets in there as fast as he can, makes the first person miss and is very explosive."

Now, along with his ability to catch the football - and boy, that sure looks good when they line up Barber and Felix Jones in the same backfield, then motion Felix out wide into the pass pattern, forcing the defense to decide if they will cover the lightning fast running back with a corner, a safety or a linebacker, ha! - here is something else I like.

Jones doesn't seem afraid to follow his instincts, to venture a little bit away from the prescribed hole if he thinks there is, or will be no hole. Some guys will just pound up in there, no matter what, simply doing what they are told to do. The other Jones did that far too many times last year when the backside cut was available.

Of course, this can be a good thing and a bad thing for a rookie running back because sometimes they give up on the play far too soon, losing the patience to ride their blockers until the hole opens. That gets you in trouble with the coaching staff, especially if your decision is the wrong decision.

As Jones says, "Yeah, I have ventured out, and that wasn't where I was supposed to go . . . Coach made it clear this play is designed to go in this certain spot and you need to go there. So I have ventured out and it wasn't really a place I needed to be. Coach [Skip] Peete is (big) on hitting the hole and staying with the blocks."

Yeah, well, but the good ones know when to hit the hole and when to venture out. Those are the ones with good vision and the ability to not start making any moves until they get through the line of scrimmage. Jones knows on most running plays it's his responsibility to make someone miss. There is usually one more defender than the running back has blockers, so that's a prerequisite to running in the NFL.

So yeah, I know they aren't tackling out here, just tagging up the running backs. That is why there is great anticipation by this staff, and probably you guys, too, about Saturday's first preseason game in San Diego. Then we'll see if what we think we're seeing is really what we're seeing.

And there is a good chance, providing there are enough kickoffs, of Felix Jones returning a few of those, too, a specialty of his at Arkansas. Should be good stuff.

Can't wait since we shall soon see if this Jones is the same as that Jones we once knew, the one who seemingly was poised to set the NFL on fire when healthy early in his career, only to fizzle into a far-too-robotic running back. One who didn't see the field nor make anyone miss anymore for some odd reason.

Yep, we'll see just what's in this Felix's bag of tricks.

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