Felix Jones Added

Posted: May 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 53 Comments »

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.

* * * * *

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)

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

Les Bowen wrote about the QB Battle and practice.

Jeff McLane shared his observations.

* * * * *

As always, keep checking EaglesBlog for updates on misc topics.

_


  • GEagle

    Tebow was offered the backup QB spot of the Philadelphia Soul…hahahahahahaha PRICELESS!!!…With 4TE likely to dress on game day(since we don’t use FB), could we possibly see 4Rb dress?

    • GvilleEagleFan

      I think you’re far more likely to see us go into the season with McCoy, Brown and Jones, with one or two of the UDFAs on the practice squad available to be called up if one of those three goes down (let’s pray it’s not Shady).

      • GEagle

        I would have to agree, as well as joining hands in prayer for Shadys health!!!

        • GvilleEagleFan

          Maybe the mystery girl he dumped on the NJ turnpike was a Dallas spy trying to injure Shady. If I was a star RB and some floozie starts swinging for my knees I wouldn’t hesitate to tell my bodyguard to “get her.” But in all seriousness, he needs to keep himself out of those situations.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

    I think Brown has all the talent in the world. And I don’t think signing Felix signifies anything other than the coaching staff wanting to add competition to the RB spot.

    But that being said, I feel like people are taking for granted the fact that Brown will fix his fumbling issues so easily. I want to believe that he can, but worry that it might not be such a quick fix. Mentally and physically, I’m sure he can handle being the full-time #2. But I’ll be willing to bet he won’t see the field much under Chip if he can’t hold onto the ball.

    • GEagle

      There have been sooo many RBs to have fumbling problems as rookies..yes Bryce lacks experience, but it isn’t some unfixable problem..Never really liked Felix. Let’s hope he contributes

    • Iskar36

      Fully agree with this. There’s no question that Brown has the potential to be a stud RB for the Eagles, particularly being used in the offense we believe Kelly will use. In addition, fumbling is a fixable issue. Still, far to often we look at Tiki Barber as an example of a guy who corrected his ball security issues and ignore the larger group of players who never make the needed adjustment in the NFL to succeed. Fortunately, Brown is still a very young and since he had limited college experience, the hope is that you can break the fumbling habit a little easier than a guy with more experience and whose bad habits have been more established.

    • Ark87

      agreed, that being said, fumbling at the rate he did is surprisingly common among rookies when put into perspective in terms of carries per fumble. Someone compared Bryce Brown’s carries per fumble rate to a whole slew of HoF rb’s rookie year (I can’t find it anywhere now, dammit!) and it wasn’t THAT god awful or damning.

      Can’t assume he will get good with ball security, but the overwhelming majority of players improve their ball security after their rookie seasons (probably because the ones who don’t get cut before they see a second year haha).

  • Iskar36

    Tommy, have you heard anything about Damaris Johnson? He seems to have some of the versatility that Kelly likes, but lacks the speed Kelly typically wants from a small WR. Having said that, a few people have mentioned him as a guy the Eagles seem to like. Any thoughts on how/whether he fits?

    • TommyLawlor

      Dave mentioned the coaches liking him a lot. I think he’s a good fit with Kelly. Small, quick, and has good RAC skills. Would be ideal if he was faster. In the mix at slot and as PR.

  • SteveH

    How are we going to replace Mcnutt’s ability to block punts? I’m starting to worry about the Chip Kelly regime.

    • Mac

      And who is going to be RGIII on the scout team?

      • TommyLawlor

        Maybe Chip is going to trade for RGIII.

        Chip Kelly > Mac…clearly. You should be ashamed, sir.

        • Mac

          I need to put my words in a better position to succeed.

        • A_T_G

          But if he is going to trade for RGIII, why is he putting an exact clone on the open market for other teams to use in practice?

          McNutt wasting a roster spot > ‘Nutt-less opponents, clearly.

    • TommyLawlor

      SteveH > Chip Kelly … clearly. Kudos, sir.

  • EaglesJRL

    I like what I saw out of Brown last year in limited time. I remember my only concern being how much he seemed to shy away from contact for a guy his size. Not sure if it was shying away from contact or the fact that he always thought he could beat everyone to the edge. I’d like to see him become a more physical runner between the tackles, size and speed is a rare commodity.

    • TommyLawlor

      Brown was extremely raw last year. You can be the coaches will work with him on a lot of things this spring/summer. Great talent, but needs lots of work.

      • EaglesJRL

        Hopefully they can also hire Tiki to teach him how to hold onto the ball.

    • Ark87

      I wonder if he was afraid of contact because his ball security was so bad (and he knows it). Good news is ball security can be coached. Bad news is it’s really hard to coach a player to play more physical (if it had nothing to do with a fear of turnovers).

  • Mac

    At best, we’ve added a RB with decent size and speed to be a play-maker. At worst we’re spending time checking out a guy who will get injured shortly after being added to the 53 man roster and lands on IR. Seems like minimal risk to kick the tires on a guy who was (at one time) a pretty decent RB.

  • aub32

    Hey Tommy, I knnow his has nothing to do with Jones, but I’ve been trying to rack my brain for some time on what’s the benefit to havung a guy like Avant in this system. It seems to me that every play for Avant is one taken away from Ertz or Casey. Also, With Ertz and Casey on the field, it would allow multiple formations making the no huddle more effective. I like Avant, but he can’t line up at FB, and from what I hear, both Ertz and Caesy have really good hands. I just think keeping Avant takes play away from players that can do the exact same thing and then some. Also, his roster spot could go to a guy with much higher upside, like Momah or Poyer on defense.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.stempo Stephen Stempo

      I think avant, probably more than any other veteran , is in serious trouble of losing his spot on the team. WR is kind of jammed up. I think avant might have to outright WIN the final wr spot on the team. While I love avant I don’t think he’s a lock in any way.

      • A_T_G

        If that happens, and he gets cut, I will feel bad for him, but that is the business. Like Ark was getting at, though, I want him to get beat out for the spot, not just undervalued because other guys are expected to be able to do he same things.

    • Ark87

      It’s so tough with Avant, he’s one of those guys that it’s so easy to forget just how good he is at certain things, and that’s why he’s in danger.

      It’s so easy to see him catch the ball and then sigh. If pretty much anyone else had made the catch, the play could have been explosive. The flaw in this is that you are assuming that the Ertz’s, Casey’s, maybe even damaris’ of the world can run routes like Jason Avant does to get open in the first place. People take the hands for granted, as well as the toughness to not get alligator arms in the middle of the field. He also blocks, plays STs, and is one of the leaders of the team. His RaC is awful, but everything before that, he is exceptional, sure he didn’t get anything after the catch, but a lot of guys wouldn’t have gotten the catch….it’s just excruciating when defenses blow a coverage on him…yeah he’s getting run down after minimal gain haha.

      • Adam

        It’s the 3rd and 4,5,6’s that you miss a guy like Avant. But we’re hoping guys like Ertz and Casey can fill that void.

      • Steven Dileo

        Avant is a veteran receiver competing against Damaris Johnson, Riley Cooper, Ifeayh Momah, Arrellius Benn, and Russell Sheppard who are young and inexperienced. I don’t think it out of the realm of possibility that Avant outperforms them in training camp.

        • GEagle

          I would automatically keep Benn,Desean,Maclin, Momah(6’7, 240lbs of blazing speed, can’t give up on that)…I think you have to keep Damaris, because Desean needs a small burner for a backup…I don’t think I can give avant the Nod over Riley(who’s blocking could really help us)…WR is one of the fascinating camp battles…

      • aub32

        I don’t think the other things Avant does are forgotten, but those roles can be filled by other players. As good as Avant is when it comes to blocking, I would still put him behind Ertz, Casey (Just because they’re TEs) Cooper, and maybe Benn. You are correct in Avant’s ability to run routes, but that is mitigated since he can’t play on the outside. Lastly, cutting him may allow us to keep a guy like Colt or anther ST ace. I just think almost everything he brings to the table can be done by others who have both playmaking ability and versatility on offense.

    • Steven Dileo

      Jason Avant has had 1372 yards over the past two seasons as the #3 receiver. He also plays well on special teams. I would bet money on Avant getting a roster spot over Momah, Sheppard, Benn or Cooper.

    • RC5000

      It’s May. Ertz isn’t even going to be here for OTAs and did it occur to you some injuries could happen that might change perspective? There IS MONTHS to make a decision on Avant (and many guys). Momah is not a sure thing , he hasn’t even played in a couple seasons. I think he may make a run at a spot but he could easily end up on the PS or even cut.
      Why is everyone so anxious to decide everything? We have OTAs, camp, preseason?
      Also in the no huddle, you want as many players as you can get. I don’t know if Avant makes it or not, a lot has to play out.

      • aub32

        Of course a lot has to play out, but I still wonder how he makes the team with everyone healthy. Sure half the WR corp could be injured in a freak accident, but just like personnel guys, you don’t assume a player will be injured.

        Ertz not being here for OTAs does nothing for Avant. Ertz is more versatile. Avant plays one role on offense. If Chip wants an unpredictable no huddle offense, I think it’s safe to say you want Ertz on the field more than Avant.

        In regard to his blocking and STs contribution, I think Riley gives you the same thing, and he can play on the outside. He also started to show up a little bit in the RZ last year.

        Yes this whole thing will eventually play itself out, but I just
        don’t see it playing out well for Avant.

    • GvilleEagleFan

      I know the overwhelming response to your comment was to defend Avant, but I see your point. I think the long-term plan is to phase him out of the offense, but I think you’re looking at the wrong players to replace him. In my opinion, his biggest threat is from a guy like Benn. Not that Benn is a proven slot WR like Avant, but like you said those touches could easily go to Ertz or Casey once we have to start paring down the roster. However, keeping Avant isn’t going to affect how many TE’s we keep because he’d be our 3rd most talented WR. If Benn can show he has good hands and runs decent routes, then he brings all of the physical toughness, blocking skills, and STs play in a faster, bigger, and younger package.

      • GEagle

        Benn might be my favorite addition this offseasown

      • aub32

        I agree. Johnson is also a threat as he can play the slot, but can perform outside as well. He also brings STs value as a returner. My point in bringing up the TEs is that the plays you would need to go to a possesion guy can easily go to the TEs. Also, they have the versatility to line up in the slot, as a HB, or at the traditional TE position. So I see snaps being taken away from the slot WR position in general, and Avant isn’t a factor playing outside. So I just don’t see how a strictly slot receiver makes it on a team with a diminishing slot role and little to no versatility on offense.

        • GvilleEagleFan

          I think we’re two ships passing in the night on this topic. You’re basically saying that Avant’s role in the offense is going to be taken by Ertz, which I agree with. However, sometimes Chip will want a slightly faster guy with a smaller build (a WR) in that position. My point is that this description, along with Benn’s similarity to Avant in terms of willingness to block and physicality, means that Avant’s actual roster spot is more likely to go to Benn than we are to keep fewer WRs in general just because Ertz can function as super-sized Avant. But great points nonetheless.

  • Adam

    Hey Tommy, could you see any correlation between this whole Shady situation (pun intended) and adding another back, or just purely a coincidence? And I don’t mean it’s Chip saying, “Smarten up or we’ll cut your ass and start Felix Jones” more so saying.. “get your act together, because there are other guys on this team that I can give the ball to as well.”

    • Ark87

      Didn’t think about that.

      The thing is, Felix isn’t even close to Shady (who is the biggest weapon on this team by a fair margin). I think Tommy is dead on in placing Felix somewhere in between pushing Bryce Brown and competing for a job with Chris Polk.

      Shady put himself in a dumb situation and probably needs to grow up a bit, but he is the star of the offense, leadership will likely send him an actual message or talk to him directly rather than passive aggressively threatening to replace him.

      • Adam

        Yep, you are most likely right, I highly doubt there is an correlation between the two events. Just some food for thought, really.

        • RC5000

          In a sense there is but more in a general sense that Jones is a little bit of veteran insurance for McCoy (no matter what and yeah he’s tough and durable but you never know when something could happen and McCoy does get dinged up). As much as I like Bryce Brown’s potential there is no question that it’s still up in the air.
          I like Polk who looks like he’s in great shape right now but he has injury/durability issues. You have Maysonet. Kelly is a competitor also so even though he’s building up a future team he still want’s to win now. Also competition is a factor and it’s not like we didn’t have a bazillion WRs (and OL even).

    • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

      I find it funny that everyone expected to see this kind of crap from DeSean Jackson, but he’s been pretty much a model citizen compared to Shady. Let’s hope this doesn’t turn into a problem.

      • Ark87

        To be fair, the only thing certain about shady is that he is immature, twitter feuds with Osi and baby mama…party bus loaded with ladies….and wasn’t that during the season? So far there is no real evidence that any of the nefarious claims actually happened (no injuries were reported to nor observed by the cops, nor was McCoy even mentioned in the initial complaint to the police).

        He needs to be smart enough to avoid these situations, or mature enough to not be drawn to these situations.

        My only concern about Jackson is the rap career. No matter how you slice it, it’s a distraction, but DJax was actually very impressive last year, so I can’t hold it against him too much.

        • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

          Yes, this definitely still falls within the “immaturity” spectrum, but Shady is now the guy with the dreaded “character concerns” on the team (a term which is misleading at best, but that’s how the media works). Let’s hope he wises up and refuses to take the bait when provoked.

  • Steven Dileo

    Felix is such an explosive player that I’m surprised his career turned out this way. He burned the Eagles on a punt return and also had a 60 yard TD against them. I was really jealous of Dallas for having such a player.

    Back in 2009 I was really worried about the future of Miles Austin, Mike Jenkins, Doug Free, and Felix Jones. Now I’m worried about Tyronn Smith, DeMarco Murray, Brandon Carr, Dez Bryant, and Morris Claiborne.

  • A_T_G

    It is a shame to see Marvin go. I was really looking forward to finally having a year with an impressive Cox, large McNutt, great stamina, and more plays than ever before.

    Er, um, wait, I mean it was beginning to feel comfortably normal, um, yeah, just like real life, that is what I meant…

    • http://www.facebook.com/jakwaggoner Jack Waggoner

      We did bring in a big Johnson.

  • ACViking

    RE: McCoy’s Water Fight

    Commenter Adam asked if there may be any connection between the allegations of abuse against McCoy and the signing of Felix the Cat Jones.

    As Cowboys’ former coach Jimmy Johnson once said, he has one rule: stars get lots of leeway and everyone else doesn’t.

    Just saying.

  • A_T_G

    Out of curiosity, anyone know if the Ravens are practicing this week? I’m wondering if Cary did a poor job of planning a wedding date, or if he just planned for a situation that turned out differently.

  • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

    i remember ray being all over his jock, never listen to ray when it comes to players the eagles should draft. ive said it before and ill say it again, i cant stand ray diddy.

  • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

    Felix hasnt been very good at KR (esp recently) wish we could find a legit KR, was hoping we would of claimed trindon holiday last season but no.. but i guess since the rule changes to KR its less important, but still we javent had a legit KR since brian mitchell.. smh

  • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

    and im also hoping polk can beat out felix for the 3rd spot, i think hes the best between the tackles runner we have, brown has the size but he likes to run outside more

  • Miami_Adam

    Did anyone else start fuming a little reading Diddy call Felix a “Westbrook clone”? That’s coming right off Westy’s 2 best seasons, too.

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