Felix Jones made this team because of his vision while running what appears to be an integral part of the gameplan in 2013: the stretch zone play.
How do you help a struggling offensive line? Run the stretch zone. Felix Jones may be the beneficiary of the recent woes of the Steeler offensive line.
The stretch zone helps out an offensive line because you do not have to push a defender back off of the ball. Instead, you are stretching the defense vertically. Moreover, the stretch zone sets up a beautiful play action pass. This play action helps to slow down an opposing pash rush.
The key to a stretch zone is having a running back that can find the seams in the defense as it is being stretched. Simply, Felix Jones did this consistently better than any Steeler back this preseason. Jones may no longer have the pedigree of a number one draft pick, and that’s fine. What he can do, however, is put the Steelers in 2nd and 7 instead of 2nd and 12. Jonathan Dwyer did not make enough big runs to justify the amount of times he put the Steelers in 2nd and 12.
Jones also gives the Steelers another option to use in the passing game and the return game. Jones may have found himself in a perfect situation in Pittsburgh. The Steelers may have found a productive player in 2013 for the price of an outside linebacker that was going to be cut anyways.