IRVING -- Running back Felix Jones practiced Wednesday after missing the past four games with a sprained ankle.
If he plays Sunday against Washington -- he said he planned to play as that was the "only reason he was practicing" again -- he will do so as the backup to rookie dynamo DeMarco Murray.
Jones, who opened the season as the Dallas Cowboys' featured running back, will boost the running game because of his game-breaking speed.
But Murray's outstanding play in Jones' absence -- his 601 yards are more than any back in team history during a four-game span -- demands that he gets the bulk of the carries, while Jones, the 2008 first-round pick, resumes his original role with the Cowboys as the change-of-pace back.
"His track record speaks for itself. Felix played in complementary system in college [Arkansas]. He has a comfort level with that. He has been sharing time since he has been in the league," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We will try to get him back out there, get him some touches and get him going."
A strong running game with Murray has been the foundation of the Cowboys' success. With a 5-4 record, Dallas has won three of its past four games, including their past two.
The team's renewed commitment to the run can't be overlooked. The Cowboys had at least 30 rushing attempts in each of the wins, which are the Cowboys' top three games in rushing yards this season.
The only game they didn't commit to the run over the past month was the 34-7 loss at Philadelphia because they got so far behind early.
Murray rushed for more than 100 yards in the three wins, including the team-record 253 yards against St. Louis.
The success is also due to a return to a run-oriented philosophy Garrett employed last season when he led the Cowboys to a 5-3 finish after taking over for Wade Phillips following a 1-7 start.
The Cowboys had 30 or more rushes in six of those games and went 4-2.
"We are better when we have a consistent running game, no question about it," tight end Jason Witten said.
It has taken pressure off quarterback Tony Romo, who has become more accurate and mistake-free, with only one interception over in the past month and none when the Cowboys have rushed 30 or more times.
It has also made Garrett a better play-caller.
Another part of the equation is the improved play of the offensive line and, when in the I-formation, the lead blocking of fullback Tony Fiammetta. Fiammetta signed with the Cowboys after the start of the regular season and has only played six games, partly because of a hamstring injury. Four of those games were the highest rushing totals of the season.
"The fullback has helped [Murray]," Garrett said. "He understands what we're asking him to do, both in the running game and in the passing game. He does a nice job making adjustments on the move."
Improved line play has coincided with the return of guard Montrae Holland not only to the team but to the starting lineup. Also, the unit has had a chance to grow and gain some continuity and chemistry.
Holland, who was waived after training camp because he was injured and out of shape, was signed before Murray's breakout game against the Rams. He replaced injured rookie Bill Nagy at left guard, giving the Cowboys more bulk and experience, which was crucial considering the team has first-year starters at center in Phil Costa and right tackle, top pick Tyron Smith.
The 44-7 victory Sunday against the Buffalo Bills featured the same offensive line for the fourth consecutive game for the first time all season.
"There probably is no group on a football team that needs to communicate better than the offensive line," Garrett said.
The group is also feeding off the play of Murray and the commitment to the run. Most linemen prefer to run-block than pass-block.
"He's a physical runner," backup guard Derrick Dockery said. "You feed off his energy and vice versa. He makes our job easier."
Clarence E. Hill Jr.