A Depressing Stat from Thursday: Julius Outgained Felix
Most people seem to have fallen into two camps about the Cowboys’ loss on Thursday. The first group is disappointed but recognizes that the team fought hard for Jason Garrett in an exciting game. The other group is just still mad as hell that the Cowboys found a way to lose the game.
Personally, I’m mad as hell that the Cowboys found a way to lose the game but recognize that the team fought hard for Jason Garrett in an exciting game. That’s fence-riding.
I’m even being picky about what to be irritated about—the fact that Julius Jones gained one more yard than Felix Jones. Recall that Julius was supposed to be the next in a long line of great Dallas running backs, and optimism was especially high when Julius rushed for 150 and 198 yards in back-to-back games as a rookie. But Jones only managed one 1,000-yard season during his four-year career in Dallas. In 2007, Jones nominally started all 16 games, but he rarely provided much of a burst and was overshadowed by Marion Barber. Dallas let Julius go after the season.
Barber at that point became the starter, and the Cowboys used a first-round pick on Felix Jones in 2008. Like Julius, Felix provided some immediate spark, but Felix hasn’t come close to matching Julius in terms of production. In Julius’ first three seasons, he gained 2,896 yards on 721 carries. Felix has gained 1,399 yards on 257 carries in his first three seasons so far. Of course, Barber has nominally been the starter this year, but he has only gained 2,130 yards on 554 carries since Julius left.
On Thursday, here were the final rushing stats of these players:
Julius Jones (Saints): 10 carries, 45 yards
Felix Jones (Cowboys): 13 carries, 44 yards
Marion Barber (Cowboys): 10 carries, 19 yards
I realize that Felix added 69 yards in receiving. My disappointment is more symbolic. The Cowboys supposedly upgraded its rushing attack by elevating Barber and drafting Felix and Tashard Choice. Three years after letting Julius go, though, and he outgained Felix and really looked better than Barber.
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Jean-Jacques Taylor had a piece on Felix that is worth reading. One of his comments:
In the Cowboys’ loss to New Orleans, Jones carried 13 times for 44 yards and caught seven passes for 69 yards. It represented just the second time in his three-year career that he has touched the ball at least 20 times in a game.
That, friends, is why the Cowboys drafted the wrong runner. You don’t take niche backs in the first round.
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Another of Jerry’s moves in 2008 was to bring back former coaches Hudson Houck and Dave Campo. Houck coaches the offensive line that struggles to gain a foot when the team needs a conversion. Sure, the line has aged dramatically this year, but I’m not sure why Houck isn’t taking more heat.
The same is true of Campo. This secondary is just God-awful, with both corners giving up big plays on the Saints game-winning touchdown drive. Campo wasn’t in any sort of demand when Jerry brought him back here, and the fact that the secondary has had so many problems does not reflect well on the team’s one-time head coach.