Before the start of training camp this summer in Oxnard, Calif., Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team would wait to see how Felix Jones performs this season before offering a contract extension.
The Cowboys’ backup running back and primary kickoff returner becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2012 campaign.
“We certainly haven’t ruled out re-signing him, but we’ll see how the year takes us,” Stephen Jones said.
Felix Jones has struggled through the first two games of the 2012 season. He hasn’t been able to make defenders miss in the open field and he doesn’t appear to have the same burst he showcased in previous seasons.
It certainly didn’t help the former first-round pick that he failed the conditioning test before training camp started.
But according to a Wednesday interview, Stephen Jones hasn’t jumped off of the Felix Jones bandwagon.
“I think he’s going to do a good job,” Stephen Jones told the Elf & Slater show on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “Obviously, what’s going on with our kickoff today is tough, and I think Felix wants to make plays. That’s one of the reasons I like Felix so much. He’s made a lot of great plays in the past for us.
“But when you catch that ball six, seven, eight yards deep, and you come out, I think that’s him wanting to make a play. He’s got to make better decisions.”
On eight kickoff returns this season, Jones is averaging 21.3 yards, which ranks 23rd in the league. He also fumbled the opening kickoff in last Sunday’s 27-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, which led to a field goal.
The Cowboys VP later added: “Felix is not the first guy to ever fumble a kickoff return. So we have to make good decisions. We have to do a good job on everything, whether it’s coaching, whether it’s the decisions we make, whether it’s the protection of the ball. We have to get better. But I think Felix is going to do a good job for us as we move forward and just like he’s done in the past, I think he’s going to make plays for us again. The bar is high for Felix. He was a first round pick.
“Obviously, a lot of people – most of our fans – felt like he was going to be a great player for us. He had a lot of great runs, big averages, big everything. Obviously, DeMarco Murray came in and played well last year, so I know he’s pushing but we feel good about the direction we’re going with Felix.”
Felix Jones, 25, had one of his best games last season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team the Cowboys host Sunday at noon. The former Arkansas standout rushed for 108 yards on 22 carries. It was one of his four 100-yard rushing efforts in four seasons with the Cowboys.
“I have all the confidence in the world that Felix is going to have success and is going to make some big plays and help us win football games,” Stephen Jones said. “You don’t have to go back far. It wasn’t too long ago that he was having great football games.”