|Even though he’s had struggles, Felix Jones will remain as the Cowboys’ kick return man -- for now. (US Presswire)|
One of the hot topics this week has centered on the Cowboys' kickoff return spot, where Felix Jones has struggled so far this season, even fumbling away the opening kickoff that led to a field goal and ignited Seattle’s rout last Sunday. While coach Jason Garrett said all players and positions will be evaluated constantly, owner/GM Jerry Jones said Felix Jones would remain the kickoff returner. He was the primary returner in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Cowboys also have worked receiver Dwayne Harris, running back Phillip Tanner and newly signed cornerback LeQuan Lewis in the kick return rotation. There have been discussions about calling up rookie running back Lance Dunbar, who is on the practice squad and actually made the trip to New York in Week 1, with the thought he would be signed the day of the game and play. The Cowboys have obviously changed their mind on that but Dunbar remains a possibility.
Jones ranks 23rd in the NFL with a 21.3 yard average with a 29-yard return as his long. He was drafted in the first round back in 2008 to compliment then-starter Marion Barber but also to return kicks, which he did at Arkansas and was a two-time All-American.
And it might not matter much this week, considering Tampa Bay’s kickoff specialist Michael Koenen is tied for fourth in the NFL with seven touchbacks.
Spears returns: Defensive end Marcus Spears limped off the field last Sunday with an ankle injury and missed practice on Wednesday. But he appears to be improving, not only practicing on Thursday and could even start this game against the Bucs. Spears has been backing up end Kenyon Coleman, who has now missed two straight days of practice with a hyper-extended knee. Rookie Tyrone Crawford is expected to get more playing time, along with Sean Lissemore.
McCray is considered the team’s best special teams player, leading the team in tackles each of the last two years – becoming the first Cowboys player since Bill Bates (1989-90) to accomplish that feat.
But even with his expected starting role, McCray will continue to play some on special teams this week.