clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Felix is just another Jones in the Steelers backfield

Felix Jones came to Pittsburgh on Friday in a trade involving second year linebacker Adrian Robinson. What does it mean? If the move was made for any other reason than just to take a flyer on a once-promising running back, the Steelers backfield situation may be more dire than we thought.

Larry French

Consider this writing a little therapy for Yours Truly, because I know in a short hour or two, my brother is going to call me all excited about the Steelers trade acquisition of running back Felix Jones from the Eagles on Friday in exchange for second year linebacker Adrian Robinson.

My brother is all about "name" players, and Jones is a name, not a great name, but he's someone we all know. Jones was the 22nd selection in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Cowboys--one pick before Pittsburgh selected Rashard Mendenhall. Now there was a name we were all excited about, that until No. 34 became the 1100 yard enigma that failed to become popular enough for any Steelers fan to actually capitalize on the obvious and sport signs at Heinz Field like: "Give it to Rush-hard!' Or "RUSH-hard with Menden-HAUL!" There seriously could have been a U-Haul endorsement in there for Rashard if he wasn't so darn absent-minded about being present and accounted for.

Anyway, I can just hear my brother now: "Jones was a first round pick, T! A first rounder! And we got him! Remember when Bettis came over in the 1996 draft? He can be another Bus! Or at least a pick-up truck!"

Of course, what I'll have to remind my brother is that Bettis was pretty awesome before he came to Pittsburgh, and he was also acquired for a second round pick--not Adrian Robinson.

For all you fans out there who were hoping Emmanuel Sanders would leave the Steelers in the offseason in-exchange for an unbelievably awesome third round pick (my brother, included), YOU should know Adrian Robinson ain't no second round pick.

This has been a weird summer to be a Steelers fan.

First, we were so excited about rookie running back Le'Veon Bell and what he was doing in training camp, he became the most anticipated second round pick since....probably the guy who was drafted by the Rams with the pick they got in the Bettis trade.

Then, Bell was held out of his first ever preseason game as a precaution because of a bruised knee, thus signifying that perhaps he was already the number one guy in the backfield.

Days later, those suspicions were confirmed when Bell, without ever playing a fake down in the NFL, ascended to the top of the depth chart and became a co-starter, along side Isaac Redman.

Monday night, Bell played four unimpressive downs against the Redskins, before exiting with a mid-foot injury and paving the way for Jonathan Dwyer, the fat guy who is now kind of skinny but not skinny enough to make the coaches and fans forget that he never had the cache to get away with having a Bettis waistline, to rush for 68 yards on 14 carries.

And finally, on Wednesday, it was revealed that Bell may have suffered the same Lisfranc foot injury as tight end Matt Spaeth (albeit, a less severe version) and could miss several weeks of action. Despite the fact that Bell had yet to make a fake first down in the NFL, this sent thousands of Steelers fans into a panic:

"How are we going to replace Bell?"............."I sure hope Dwyer and Redman can hold down the fort until Bell gets back. I've seen a lot of great running backs in my day, and Bell has the chance to be the next Mendenhall, but with popularity.".............."I sure hope two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can pick up the slack in Bell's absence."

The Steelers brass must have felt the same type of panic and pulled the trigger on the trade for Jones.

What does the trade mean? Considering Jones never really made much of a splash in Dallas, only rushing for 2700 yards in his injury-plagued career; and considering he was pretty far down the Eagles' depth chart after signing with them this past offseason, my guess is the move was made to give other backs a breather or two in the remaining days of the preseason.

Who will open the season at running back for the Steelers? If Felix Jones can come to Pittsburgh on August 23 and possibly compete for the job, that may be the least of our worries.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go prepare myself for the "Felix Jones is a beast!" phone call from my brother.

More from Behind the Steel Curtain: