Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Just by listing Jones as a role player, we edge closer and closer to labeling him as a first-round bust. Maybe he’s already there. I don’t want to put too much stock into a player’s selection-to-production ratio. I don’t write payroll checks.
Instead, I try to keep an unbiased perspective and make clear-headed observations about what is best for a winning season.
It’s easy to forget that just a year ago, Jones was the highly anticipated starter for a very good Cowboys offense. Then, in a 20-16 Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots, Jones suffered a high-ankle sprain.
Enter the next man up.
Some defeats matter more than others. And while it wasn’t surprising that the Cowboys lost to the Patriots, it was surprising that they found the next Emmitt Smith in the process.
We’re not sure. It’s pretty hard to predict the future of a player that has started only seven games. But just the fact that we’re attempting to says a lot about how well DeMarco Murray played in Jones’ absence and how good he has looked in the preseason so far.
What we can predict is that Murray will be the starter. And of all the players on offense not named Romo, he may affect the win/loss ratio the most.
We can also predict that Jones will play a big role offensively. I would be very disappointed if Garrett doesn’t have several plays designed that feature both backs on the field at the same time.
And obviously, Murray can’t play every snap. Jones’ role as a change of pace back shouldn’t be underestimated. He has speed, good hands and he can block. His production while Murray rests is imperative to the Cowboys’ success.
There’s also some skepticism about Murray staying healthy for 16 games. It’s not unthinkable to say that Jones ends up as the starter during some point of the season. It would behoove him to make the most out of those opportunities, considering he could be out of a job in 2013.