Mike Tomlin Sees Felix Jones As More Than Just A Stop-Gap Addition

Last Friday the Pittsburgh Steelers traded for running back Felix Jones, and he wound up leading the team in rushing with 29 yards on eight carries against the Kansas City Chiefs with limited preparation time. While many saw his addition as a mere insurance policy, head coach Mike Tomlin apparently liked what he saw out of the former first-round draft pick Saturday night and views him as more than just a stop-gap addition to the team.

“Tonight will be a big opportunity for him to state his case, but make no mistake, what he did last week against the Chiefs was pretty impressive,” Tomlin told Bill Hillgrove during his weekly pregame sit-down. “This is a guy who had zero practices. He had a hotel ballroom walk-through, and he showed up and contributed positively to our efforts. We know his pedigree, and he’s not new to the National Football League. We’re excited about seeing what he can do for us.”

Jones figures to get a lot of work against the Carolina Panthers Thursday night with both Isaac Redman and Le’Veon Bell already ruled out for the game, and he has now had a full week to digest the play book. He is more than likely competing head-to-head against Jonathan Dwyer for a spot on the final 53 man roster, so it will be interesting to watch the two state their cases in this game.

Jones is a much better receiver out of the backfield than Dwyer is, and I suspect he will be targeted a few times against the Panthers in the passing game as he was not used in that capacity last week. In addition, Jones will also likely get a chance to return another kickoff or two after returning two Saturday night for 51 yards.

  • MoSteel79

    Anyone know what’s going on with Stephens-Howling? Is he still dealing with some injuries?

  • Jason

    Obviously Dwyer has a permanent room in Tomlin’s dog house if he not only isn’t going to start but is competing with Jones for a roster spot. I think Tomlin was dead set on cutting Dwyer so when Le’Veon went down they scrambled to find a serviceable back to justify cutting Dwyer anyway. Unless LSH’s injury is worse than feared.

  • Bilge

    He’s available to play this week and I would expect a few carries early before giving way to Jones.

    He’s a lock.

  • Bilge

    Why the Dwyer love? He’s average at best.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Dwyer’s thing is all about consistency. One nice play…one fumble. He has to eliminate that. I don’t think it is about dog house as much as trust. They just don’t trust him.

  • Toddy Bravo

    Honestly, I like Felix a lot, but he’s been known to put the ball on the ground too. He has 10 fumbles in his 5 years, not to mention that those came during a very limited number of attempts. By comparison, Dwyer has two fumbles in 3 years, also with very limited attempts.

  • Jason

    Not sure what I typed that screams out Dwyer love. They could cut him today and I’d be fine with it. Just stating the fact that he is clearly in the dog house for one reason or another. And by the way besides possibly Le’Veon what Rb on this roster isn’t average at best?

  • Pete

    I’d be surprised if Jones knocked Dwyer off the team. To his credit he ran well enough but so did Alvester. His average against KC was 3.6 yds per carry. In 2010 he put up something like 4.8 yds per carry on 800 yds behind a very good O line in Dallas. What will he do with limited touches behind a very average O line? Dywer had 2 back-to-back 100+ yd games behind a very less than average O line in 2012.

    Steelers carried 5 backs last season. Jones could be the 4th or 5th back: Bell, Redman, Dwyer, Howling/Jones (Alverster to PS)

  • Kolie Oak

    Well, anybody who has any sense of evaluation would clearly see Dwyer is the best healthy back we have. The Steelers have always had the need for an explosive average size back, like a Mendanhall but without the dancing.
    But since that’s not what they look for Dwyer is our best option.

  • 2443scott

    i think out all the cuts coming the running back cuts or none cuts will be very interesting to see

  • steeltown

    With the way these guys get injured..I don’t see how we can afford to not keep all of them (including Alvestor on the PS) atleast till Le’Veon returns

  • copanut

    Dwyer has fumbled only twice in his career, not counting preseason games.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Interesting conspiracy theory, but I don’t see the supporting evidence. After all, Tomlin named him the starting running back down the stretch last year following a game in which he fumbled.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The Cowboys had a pretty bad offensive line, actually…although they were better run blockers than pass protectors.