Felix Jones Already Cowboys’ Starting RB
Chris Mortensen is reporting that Felix Jones has already moved to #1 on the Cowboys’ depth chart for this weekend’s mini-camp. The move isn’t as surprising as the timing. We knew Jones would ultimately snatch the starting gig, but we didn’t think it would come this quickly.
Nonetheless, it is a good sign. The Cowboys have been known to let veteran players keep their jobs perhaps a little too long in recent years. This move, along with the releases of Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin, show that the Cowboys are committed to starting the player they deem the best at each position–regardless of his tenure.
Of course, running backs are rotated in such a way that whoever starts is almost irrelevant. What matters is carry distribution.
In 2009, Marion Barber received 54.3 percent of the regular season carries among running backs. Jones garnered 29.5 percent, while Choice checked in with the remaining 16.2 percent.
So how will offensive coordinator Jason Garrett distribute the carries in 2010? In our “Grading the ‘Boys: Running Backs” segment (a good read, by the way), we proposed the Cowboys spread out the touches this season as follows:
- Felix Jones: 50 percent
- Tashard Choice: 30 percent
- Marion Barber: 20 percent
In that article, we said:
“Some may argue that we have given up on Barber too quickly, but now is not the time to wait on players. The Cowboys are built to win now, and the most productive players should play.
These percentages could be attained by starting Jones and letting him play two series for each of Tashard Choice’s one. We would also use Tashard Choice on short-yardage runs, including a bit more Wildcat. Barber would come in to spell Jones and Choice, particularly on third down, and to finish out games. In baseball, closers are only successful because they haven’t pitched all game. The same is true for Marion Barber. By saving his energy, he could effectively return to the “closer” role, creating the most efficient Dallas Cowboys backfield possible.”
The numbers we gathered in that study support our proposed role for each Dallas’ running back. It will be interesting to see how Garrett utilizes each player come September.