Dallas Cowboys rookie Jones making an impact 05:04 AM CDT on Monday, August 4, 2008
OXNARD, Calif. – Marion Barber led the Dallas Cowboys with 975 yards rushing and was named to his first Pro Bowl last season despite not starting a regular-season game.
"I think last year was his year, and he proved himself," coach Wade Phillips said. "Obviously, we feel comfortable with him carrying the load. The other guys, we'll see how they fit in, but he's our bell cow."
But if early indications mean anything – and sometimes they don't in training camp – then Barber's backup, Felix Jones, might play a larger role than expected, even with his first-round pedigree.
Jones has been electric at times in training camp, showing impressive speed and vision. Running backs coach Skip Peete raved Sunday about a run Jones had made on a draw play three days prior.
"He came through the line, and the safety started filling, and he bounced it out to the left, and no one was there," Peete said. "He got back to the huddle, and I asked him, 'How'd you know where to go? What made you do that?' He said, 'Well, Coach, I just felt the safety, based on the way the receiver was blocking, that I could get outside of that.'"
Garrett calls Jones an instinctive runner, and Jones takes almost an artistic view of things, breaking it down by jersey colors (blue on defense, white on offense).
I know what he is trying to say, but it makes me think that Jerry has spent a little too much time staring at men in tight pants.
"Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we're going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I don't know, I don't know if we'll have enough time."
OXNARD, Calif. — Calling them Thunder and Lightning might be a little trite if not premature.
And it’s probably been used enough.
But after Saturday’s preseason opener against San Diego, is there any doubt that rookie running back Felix Jones has a certain electricity about him that goes hand-and-hand with starter Marion Barber’s battering-ram style?
Two days later, the Cowboys were still buzzing about Jones’ performance, which featured a 19-yard run and going 28 yards on a simple swing pass.
The first-round pick from Arkansas showed cutting ability, quickness and acceleration that haven’t been seen in Dallas since the days of Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett.
"It’s exciting watching him run," linebacker Bradie James said.
"Barber excites us another way. He is the pounder, the bruiser. Now we have the finesse guy in Felix. Anytime he touches the ball, he has big-play potential."
With rookie fourth-round pick Tashard Choice gaining 40 yards on seven carries, including a 19-yard touchdown, the Cowboys have the makings of a nice running back trio. Barber rushed four times for 24 carries in a cameo appearance against the Chargers.
However, Jones is the one everyone is still talking about. His phone hasn’t stopped ringing from well-wishers back in Arkansas and his hometown of Tulsa.