Cowboys considering switch in the backfield

Felix Jones could be the Cowboys' new starting running back next season. (Bill Nichols / Associated Press)

While the Cowboys have been uncharacteristically quiet this offseason, their backfield situation is worth monitoring over the coming months.

When owner Jerry Jones met with the media this week during the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla., he discussed a variety of topics, including Felix Jones possibly becoming the starting running back in Dallas.

“That has been a consideration, and it certainly is a consideration,” Jerry Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about Felix Jones replacing Marion Barber atop the depth chart.

In two seasons with the Cowboys, Felix Jones has made only one start and has 146 total carries over that stretch. While there’s no denying that he brings a big-play capability with a career average of 6.5 yards per carry, durability has been a question. The former first-round draft pick finished his rookie season on injured reserve because of a toe ailment, and he missed time last season with a knee ailment.

Jones did pick up his workload as the Cowboys made their run to the playoffs last season. He reached double-digit carries in seven of his final nine games, including the two postseason contests, after never previously hitting the mark.

Meanwhile, Barber was slowed last season by a swollen left knee that limited him to just 11 carries in the playoffs. He signed a seven-year extension two years ago, and at 26 would seem to have something left to offer in a three-back rotation.

Earlier this week, Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said he doesn’t believe any of the team’s three running backs — Jones, Barber or Tashard Choice — will be traded.

“They’re all good workers, they’re all talented and they’re just going to get better and better,” Phillips said. “We like what we have.”

Whether the team likes Jones or Barber more come the start of the season remains to be seen.

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