The Eagles signed RB Felix Jones to a 1-year deal. No word on the money yet, but I’m willing to bet it is a tad less than a mega-deal. Could be vet minimum with some incentives.
Jones is a good addition. The Eagles have an elite RB in Shady McCoy. Bryce Brown had a strong rookie season and has big time potential. After that, things are less certain. Chris Polk has potential, but must show he can handle the wear and tear of the NFL. UDFA RBs Miguel Maysonet and Matthew Tucker are completely unproven.
Jones is here to fight for the #3 RB job, but his presence can also help keep Brown focused. Think of all the young players we’ve seen have a sophomore slump because they didn’t handle rookie success well. I hope Brown is hungry and driven, but there are no guarantees. Polk and the UDFAs will battle Jones for roster spots and playing time.
The Eagles might keep 3 RBs. They might keep 4, but that will only happen if there are 4 guys who deserve the spots. In the Reid era keeping that many RBs was a waste, but things will be different under Chip Kelly. He wants to run more plays and he wants to run the ball more.
Last year the Eagles ran 67 plays a game. That breakdown might go like this. Shady was the RB for 50. Brown for 10. The other 7 would be empty sets or some odd formation with a WR in the backfield. Kelly hopes to run 75 to 80 plays a game. He might have Shady on the field for 45 snaps, the backup 20, and the #3 RB for 10. These are just guesstimates, but it gives you an idea of how things will be different.
Here is some stuff I posted over on EaglesBlog when the Eagles worked Jones out recently.
Interesting news. There were many who thought Jones should have been the Eagles primary target in the 1st round in 2008. Ray Didinger was on the Jones bandwagon in a big way. Here’s what he had to say back then:
“Draft Felix Jones, the electrifying running back from Arkansas. I actually like him better than his more celebrated teammate Darren McFadden, who will be drafted in the top 10. Jones is 5-10, 207 pounds and unlike McFadden, who is all straight line speed, Jones has explosive lateral quickness that, in my opinion, will make him more dangerous at the next level.
Jones averaged 8.7 yards per rushing attempt last season at Arkansas, the highest average in college football in more than a decade. He outran some of the fastest defenses in the nation in the SEC and he also excelled on special teams. He set the school record for kickoff return yardage, and he tied the conference mark (previously set by Tennessee’s Willie Gault) with four kickoff returns for touchdowns.
So Jones would help the Eagles immediately as a kick returner, and, as a clone of Brian Westbrook, he could share the load in the backfield. Like Westbrook, he is almost impossible to defend in space, and although they didn’t throw the ball to the backs much in the Razorback offense, he has proven he has good hands. (He actually started several games at a wide receiver the past two seasons).
One other thing: If the Eagles can’t acquire another wide receiver, either via trade or draft, drafting Jones could help fill that void. How? Put together an offensive package with Jones lined up in the backfield and Westbrook at wide receiver. I’m not suggesting that should be the base offense, you wouldn’t want to put that much pressure on a rookie, but you could certainly design a set of plays with both of them on the field, and it would be a nightmare for a defensive coordinator.”
Jones had an up and down career with Dallas. There were times when he looked special, but he could never play to that level on a consistent basis. The Eagles would look at Jones as a role player and possible KOR.
Jones is an odd player. He had big time speed and made some explosive runs, but has only scored 11 rushing TDs in 5 years. Think of him as the anti-Emmitt Smith I guess. Smith lacked top speed, but was a TD machine and workhorse back. Jones has 569 career carries. Smith would hit that total in 1.5 years.
The other interesting note is that despite having 5 years of experience, Jones just turned 26 years old. He’s not a guy that has been over-used, but wear and tear has affected Jones. His yards per carry and yards per KOR were the lowest totals of his career in 2012.
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In order to sign Jones, the Eagles cut WR Marvin McNutt.
In my 2012 draft preview I had him listed as a player for the Eagles not to draft. McNutt was being talked about as a 3rd, maybe 4th round player. I didn’t see that level of talent. He struggled as a Senior when going up against good CBs. That was a red flag to me. Could he handle NFL corners? The Eagles took him in the 6th round, which didn’t bother me. At that point, he was okay value. Sadly, he never did pan out as hoped.
Here is his one “highlight” as an Eagle. (h/t to BleedingGreenNation)
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I’m working on a Brandon Graham post for later today. He is the backup SAM for now, but as Chip Kelly would say…it is just mid-May.
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Jimmy Bama has a good post up on yesterday’s practice. Wait til you see his QB artistry. Michael Vick is hilarious. Truly great stuff.
Sheil Kapadia put up a great piece on practice. He told it in the form of a timeline story. Must read material.
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As always, keep checking EaglesBlog for updates on misc topics.