On the one hand, I can't believe it. On the other, it's completely understandable. No matter how ridiculous it seems, NFL writers have to find something to question, to poke, to prod. So the fact that people are already started to mumble about Thomas Jones pre-season production shouldn't surprise. Yet it's still a bit unnerving when reading such ridiculous notions.
The slate will wipe clean in two weeks. These numbers will never be remembered. Trying to find stats from preseasons past is like trying to find [insert analogy here of something damn near impossible to find]. Thomas Jones ran for 1,400 yards last season last season on 331 carries, both career-high numbers. He's been a beast the last five seasons in both New York and Chicago and seems to get better with age, defying the oft-quoted wisdom concerning 30-plus aged running backs.
The Chiefs were widely praised for signing Jones to such a cap-friendly deal of 2 years, $5 million and getting the best running back available on the market. The two-headed monster of Jones and Charles seemed to move the Chiefs toward the next level in their offense as, all of a sudden, the Chiefs running game had to be respected on every play. Yet within the first two weeks of the preseason, people observing the numbers see that Jones is averaging just over 3 yards/carry and had the much-discussed fumble in the Bucs loss. And the questioning has already begun.
Jones will be fine. More than fine. And fans and experts will quickly realize once the regular season begins that the signing of Jones paired with the drafting of Dexter McCluster and the continued development of Charles will give the Chiefs some real offensive firepower that will allow the defense off the field to catch their breath this season. If the addition of Javier Arenas can give the Chiefs better field position, a guy like Matt Cassel doesn't have to feel the pressure to take it 80 yards downfield every drive. And Jones and Charles can provide a better foundation than anything Cassel had to rely on last season.