As long as DeMarco Murray is out, Jason Garrett said the Cowboys are going to lean on Felix Jones.
Garrett said Jones can handle the extra work, and that Phillip Tanner will help.
“Absolutely. When DeMarco got hurt last year, we handed the ball to Felix, and Felix has shown that he can run inside and run outside," the Cowboys coach said Wednesday. "And I think we also saw a guy like Tanner the other day going into the ballgame and getting his carries against that defense and having some positive success as well. You have to go next-man up. We feel really good about Felix Jones. Been a really good football player for us for the last four years.”
Jones rarely handles the kind of workload Murray has handled.
Murray, who is going to miss the Carolina game with a sprained foot, has had six 20-plus-carry games in his 18-game career. Jones has only two 20-plus-carry games in his 53-game career.
This year, Jones began with only three carries total over the first four games until getting 18 in relief of Murray last week against Baltimore.
“I think the biggest issue with Felix was the injury that he had and missed the entire off-season. Difficult for him to run and get himself in the condition that he needs to get into to play running back in the National Football League,” Garrett said. “But that was a long time ago. He’s played a lot of football since then. He worked his way back through training camp and got some opportunities the other day in the game and showed us what he can do.”
Garrett said he likes the idea of sticking with a two-back rotation versus trying to work in the third back, Lance Dunbar.
“You want to make sure those guys maintain their sweat, their rhythm, their adrenalin, all that stuff, and if you’re consciously trying to rotate three guys through there, I think it’s more difficult for those guys to get that,” Garrett said. “The third guy has got to be a pinch hitter like the third guys mostly are. I thought Dunbar did a good job of that the other day when the other guys had to be spelled a little bit. Went in there and just did his job. I think those guys understand that. You want to keep those guys in rhythm as much as you can. You want to get them some carries and get them feeling a little bit in the ball game. So that will be the approach.”
-- Carlos Mendez