2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Steelers RB Jones fit to be a face in the crowd

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-05 16:29

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers spent most of the offseason hoping its crowded backfield would sort itself out.

Thanks to rookie Le'Veon Bell's sprained right foot and the abrupt departure of Jonathan Dwyer, the picture remains as murky as ever.

No wonder Felix Jones feels right at home. Heading into Pittsburgh's season opener on Sunday against Tennessee, Jones figures to be the primary backup behind Isaac Redman.

It's a remarkable rise considering Jones began training camp on the other side of the state with Philadelphia. The Steelers acquired him barely 24 hours before their third preseason game on Aug. 17. No biggie - before he had a chance to meet all of his teammates, he was carrying eight times for 29 yards while also getting some work in the return game.

``It's the first time that I've ever seen it,'' Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. ``We didn't even have the guy on the practice field once. I met him once before a game, in a team meeting, he leads us in carries during the game and has a kickoff return.

``That in itself was impressive.''

So impressive the Steelers ended up keeping Jones when the roster was trimmed to 53 on Sunday while jettisoning Jonathan Dwyer, who led Pittsburgh with 623 yards rushing in 2012.

Jones spent the hours before the 4 p.m. deadline watching TV and waiting for the phone to ring. It did, but only with family members calling to offer him congratulations.

Sticking around, however, has never been Jones' problem. It's delivering consistently that's the issue. While injuries have certainly been a part of the problem, so have circumstances.

The former No. 1 draft pick has spent his entire football life - dating all the way back to high school - trying to carve out his own niche in offenses with plenty of weapons to go around.

Growing up in Tulsa, Okla., Jones played alongside New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem. During Jones' sometimes spectacular career at Arkansas, he was the two in a one-two punch that included two-time Heisman Trophy runnerup Darren McFadden.

It's why Jones never fixates on things like numbers or touches or why he's been unable to establish himself as a starter in the NFL.

There are talented players everywhere. Jones just hopes to be one of them. If he ends up becoming ``the guy'' even better.

``I definitely have confidence in myself and what I can do,'' Jones said. ``Given the opportunity to go out there and make a play, that's what I do. I just try to create something.''

Even if Jones never did it quite enough to the liking of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who relished taking a fellow Arkansas alum with the 22nd overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft after the running back posted a blistering 4.4-second time in the 40-yard dash.

The breakout never happened. There were moments of course. He returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score in the second game of his rookie season. The average distance of his 11 career rushing touchdowns is 21.6 yards. His 5.9 yards per carry in 2009 led the league.

The home run remains a threat. It's settling for the singles that's the tricky part.

The Cowboys waited five seasons for Jones to become an every down back. It's a concept he never quite grasped with two hands.

Asked to describe why it didn't work out in Dallas and Jones shrugs his shoulders.

``I don't know,'' he said. ``I really can't say. I definitely went out there and did and gave it my best. That right there I can't answer.''

He signed with Philadelphia in the offseason and seemed like a decent fit in new coach Chip Kelly's uptempo offense. He never moved above the third string on the depth chart and the Eagles basically gave him to Pittsburgh in exchange linebacker Adrian Robinson, who didn't make the team.

Jones arrived in Pittsburgh in the middle of the afternoon on Aug. 16. Barely 24 hours later, he was wearing a No. 23 jersey and trying to show his coaches that, as Jones put it he ``still has it.''

Coach Mike Tomlin saw enough to give Jones an even heavier workload in the preseason finale against Carolina, when he carried the ball 14 times and caught two passes.

What looked like a longshot became an eventuality when Jones survived cut-down day. He'll provide a change of pace when Redman needs a breather and the player who averages 32 receptions a season could find himself on the field in passing situations.

While Jones insists he can still become a starter, at the moment he's not exactly picky.

``You have to compete every day,'' Jones said. ``You never know what will happen.''

--

NOTES: LB Jarvis Jones (chest) practiced on Thursday and is expected to play against the Titans. Jones will likely back up outside linebackers Jason Worilds and LaMarr Woodley ... FB Will Johnson (hamstring) was limited again in practice and is questionable.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Chris JohnsonNov 24 05:53p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson will receive work on third downs, because RB Bilal Powell (illness) has been declared inactive for Week 12.

Fred JacksonNov 24 05:43p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin) is active for the team's Week 12 game.

Bilal PowellNov 24 05:43p

The New York Jets have declared RB Bilal Powell, OL Dakota Dozier, DE IK Enemkpali, CB Josh Thomas, QB Matt Simms, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 12.

Cyrus KouandjioNov 24 05:33p

The Buffalo Bills have declared DE Bryan Johnson, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, FB Frank Summers, DL Jarius Wynn, TE MarQueis Gray, WR Marquise Goodwin, LB Randell Johnson inactive for Week 12.

Eric BerryNov 24 05:13p

The Kansas City Chiefs placed SS Eric Berry (illness) on the Non-Football Illness list Monday, Nov. 24, according to a source. Berry will miss the rest of the season.

Eric BerryNov 24 05:13p

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) underwent an MRI on his chest, which revealed a mass in his chest. The team believes he has lymphoma, but there is no definite diagnosis.

R. Griffin IIINov 24 03:33p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will start Sunday, Nov. 30, against the Indianapolis Colts, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Jay FeelyNov 24 03:33p

Free-agent PK Jay Feely (Cardinals) will visit the Denver Broncos Tuesday, Nov. 25, for a kicking audition, according to sources.

Vernon DavisNov 24 01:53p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis had three catches for just 21 yards in the team's Week 12 win over the Washington Redskins, and that came after he had [ More ]

Ryan MallettNov 24 01:13p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett (pectoral) is expected to miss the rest of the season because of the pectoral injury he suffered in Week 12.

Tony RomoNov 24 12:43p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) went 18-for-26 for 275 yards and four touchdowns in Week 12 against the New York Giants, and he didn't show any signs of [ More ]

Shane VereenNov 24 12:33p

New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen had a team-high 62 snaps in the team's Week 12 win over the Detroit Lions, but RB LeGarrette Blount had 17 snaps and [ More ]

C.J. AndersonNov 24 12:23p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson rushed 27 times for 167 yards and a touchdown in the team's Week 12 win over the Miami Dolphins, and it was the most [ More ]

Alfred MorrisNov 23 11:52p

Washington Redskins RB Alfred Morris averaged 6.0 yards per attempt on 21 carries in the Week 12 game against the San Francisco 49ers. It was his first 100-yard game [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 23 10:32p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald's (knee) sprained knee did not respond as hoped before the Week 12 game against the Seattle Seahawks, so he was inactive. He could well miss more games.

Doug MartinNov 23 10:23p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) returned to the lineup in Week 12 against the Chicago Bears. He carried 11 times for 27 yards. He was sidelined for [ More ]

Michael FloydNov 23 10:22p

Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd was targeted twice in the Week 12 game against the Seattle Seahawks, but he did not record any catches or offensive statistics.

DeAndre HopkinsNov 23 09:33p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins posted five receptions for 39 yards in Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He is now over 100 receptions for the first time in his career.

Jorvorskie LaneNov 23 09:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers FB Jorvorskie Lane (ankle) was carted off in the second quarter of the Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears due to what head coach Lovie [ More ]

Mike EvansNov 23 09:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans had three receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears. He has now scored at [ More ]

Ryan MallettNov 23 09:33p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett (pectoral) suffered a pectoral injury in the Week 12 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and he will go for an MRI. He might miss [ More ]

A.J. GreenNov 23 09:22p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green posted a career-high 12 receptions for 121 yards in Week 12 against the Houston Texans. 'It's just one of those days when you just [ More ]

Andre SmithNov 23 09:22p

Cincinnati Bengals OT Andre Smith (triceps) suffered a partially torn triceps muscle in the Week 12 against the Houston Texans. He will go for an MRI Monday, Nov. 24.

T Y HiltonNov 23 08:02p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton was up early Sunday, Nov. 23, for the birth of his daughter, and he promised a touchdown. After his wife delivered their child, he [ More ]

Eddie LacyNov 23 08:02p

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (illness) ran 25 times for 125 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Minnesota Vikings, and he added two [ More ]

Andrew LuckNov 23 08:02p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck completed 21 of his 32 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown in Week 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also ran eight times [ More ]

Charles JohnsonNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson had three receptions for a team-high 52 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers.

Greg JenningsNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Greg Jennings (rib) had four receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers, his former team. It [ More ]

C. PattersonNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle, knee) left the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers due to ankle and knee injuries.

LeGarrette BlountNov 23 06:52p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount carried 12 times for a team-high 78 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 12 game against the Detroit Lions after re-signing with the team this week.

Golden TateNov 23 06:52p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate had four receptions for 97 yards in Week 12 against the New England Patriots. He went over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career.

Jonas GrayNov 23 06:52p

New England Patriots RB Jonas Gray did not play in the Week 12 game against the Detroit Lions after he did not report to the team's facility Friday, Nov. [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group