NFL: Cowboys’ Felix Jones will no longer return kicks, but workload could increase
By Gerry Fraley and Todd Archer
The Dallas Morning News
IRVING, Texas — Running back Felix Jones acknowledged that he probably will not be used as a kickoff returner in Sunday’s game at Green Bay.
Coach Wade Phillips has said that as Jones’ plays on offense increase, his special-teams duties would decrease. The Cowboys have worked out rookie Kevin Ogletree and running back Tashard Choice on kickoffs this week.
“If that’s what the head man says,” Jones said.
In the last three games, Jones has averaged only 21.4 yards on seven kickoff returns.
Jones will continue to wear a brace on the left knee that was injured earlier this season. He practices without the brace to strengthen the knee but uses the brace in games for protection. He hopes to eliminate the brace at some point.
Jones said he is aware of the brace but doesn’t believe it detracts from his performance. In 20 carries while wearing the brace, he has averaged 4.3 yards. In 21 carries before the injury, Jones averaged 10.1 yards.
Witten keeps it short:
Tony Romo has targeted Jason Witten 13 times on third down, and 13 times the Cowboys have come up with a first down.
While he is still making the clutch play, Witten hasn’t been able to make the downfield play with his 8.9-yard per catch average. He leads the Cowboys with 44 catches, but his longest reception is 22 yards.
“I feel like we’re not getting those plays down the field as much for whatever reason,” Witten said. “I don’t think there’s one thing that you can look at and say that’s what’s triggering it, but a lot of it is underneath (passes).
“But we’ve had a lot of different guys step up and make big plays. (Getting more yards) might be different in the second half of the season.”
Witten’s first of eight career 100-yard receiving games came at Lambeau Field, where he caught eight passes for 112 yards and a touchdown in 2004.
Austin stays focused:
Miles Austin won’t be able to count on the element of surprise Sunday. He had a breakout game against the Packers last season with two catches for 115 yards, including a 52-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter to seal the 27-16 win.
Not that Austin is thinking of what happened last year at Lambeau Field.
“Yeah, I had a big game personally, but I’m not thinking about the last game we played,” Austin said. “Even if they killed us, I wouldn’t think about that, either. I’m just getting ready for this week and this week only.”
Center Andre Gurode and safety Ken Hamlin took part in their first full practice of the week and said they would play Sunday. . . . Linebacker DeMarcus Ware (foot), safety Gerald Sensabaugh (thumb) and running back Marion Barber (thumb) are also probable. Returner Allen Rossum (hamstring) will miss his third straight game.