One thing I noticed last season, especially the last 10 games (last 9 regular season games plus the Ravens) was when the Chiefs started of a drive by handing of to Thomas Jones the drive was virtually killed, ensuring an appearance by the first family of fourth down the Colquitts. Was it just my perception or reality? Well know in the offseason I did a deep dive to look back at every offensive drive for the Chiefs during this stretch to see if Thomas Jones had a negative affect on our offense, and if so, how bad?
The Chiefs had 123 offensive drives during this stretch, 33 of these drives (more than 25%) started with handoffs to Jones. How did he do? 33 carries/79 yards, 2.4 yards per carry (league average 4.2). His other carries in this stretch were not much better as is his performance mirrored Larry Johnson's 2009 output in a Chiefs uniform (132/358 for Johnson, 132/373 for Jones).
Take away the three carries in this span were Jones actually started of a drive by gaining 5 or more yards (28 vs Cardinals, 14 vs Titans, 6 vs Raiders) and you have a rb who gained 31 yds on 30 carries to start of a drive. 21 of his lead starting drive carries netted -2 yards, impressive for a 33-yr old rb. Especially when you consider except for the Ravens and Chargers all of these opponents finished in the bottom half of the league in rushing defense.
For these 33 drives the Chiefs racked up all of 40 offensive points, of course 7 came against a prevent defense by the Broncos when they were ahead 35-0, 3 more of a fumble recovery at the Titans 28 yard line. Average? 1.2. keep this in mind for a comparison to follow.
Yardage wise these drives that we started of with Jones netted 178 plays/706 yds, 3.97 yds per play, league average per play is 5.3, obtw when the Chiefs started of drives without Jones? Those 90 drives had 477 plays/2566 yds 5.38 per play (35% higher), 163 points (1.8 per drive, 50% higher than starting with Jones). Jones lead drives lasted on average 21 yrds, vs 28 starting any other way besides handing it of to Jones, 28 yd, 1/3 more.
We know our lack of wr talent besides Dwayne Bowe is a great concern, but care to see how putting our offense in 2nd&8 (or worse) with Jones "helped" Matt Cassel?
Cassel's #'s from those 33 drives with Jones toting the rock on 1st down:
25-54 259 yds 2td's 1 int, 46.3% completion rate, 4.8 yds per attempt, qb rating 65.3
Now without Jones
141-237 1677 yds 15 tds 6 ints, 59.5% completion rate, 7.07 yds per attempt, qb rating 91.7
Of course everyone knows Chris Chambers is expired milk, Mike Vrabel too, but heck why can't Haley/Pioli see this with Jones? Basically Jones is Larry Johnson without the baggage. Why can't we find a Mike Tolbert or Michael Bush to get 3-4 yrds when Jamaal Charles needs a breather instead of basically throwing in the towel?