From the FanPosts -Joel
Amidst the mayhem that was the preseason opener Friday night, was the 2 carry, 25 yard performance by Thomas Jones, which included an impressive 17 yard scamper. Many in Chiefs Nation were elated at this one bright spot and the general consensus in comments seen in various places has been "TJ is back!!" and "This guy is still a work horse at 32 (33 this week)!" Count me out as one of the believers and after the jump let's take a look at what our realistic expectations should be for Jones.
As mentioned, Thomas Jones will be 33 this Friday and by RB standards, he should be getting his mail from AARP any day now. He is still sculpted like a Greek god and brings a great deal of leadership to this team, but if the numbers tell us anything, we need to get the most out of him between weeks 1-9 this season. If that is the case (which I am arguing it most definitely is), then we need to be prepared to possibly drastically lower his carries as this season wears on, and insert Le'Ron McClain as the second featured back late in the season.
In 2009 at age 31, Jones rushed for over 1400 yards and carried the ball a league high 331 times. This clearly was a career year for Jones, but upon further review it's the latter portion of that season that is most concerning. Starting in Week 15 and through the three playoff games for the Jets, Jones carried 114 times for 352 yards (3,08 YPC). This in itself is fair, but if you take away a solid Week 16 performance against the Colts his YPC was only 2.7, including a 2,6 in the three playoff games.
Last season with the Chiefs, Jones was a good addition to our offense and with Jamaal Charles helped us to the number one rushing attack in the NFL. But while I am an optimist at heart, I can't help but notice this:
First 8 Games: 137 att, 570 yards, 4.16 YPC
Final 8 Games (plus playoffs): 113 att, 336 yards, 2.9 YPC
I am aware that Jamaal Charles is the focal point of our running game, but this type of dropoff for Jones must be looked at as alarming considering he is yet another year older and there is little reason to believe these numbers won't decline further if given a carry load even close to last year's.
To those who think I am stating the obvious, thank you but it's a solution that we actually need. Le'Ron McClain is that man in this author's opinion. I am hoping that Haley, Muir and Pioli are well aware of these numbers and will begin to phase in McClain during the latter part of our schedule (AKA the really important and difficult one). By then hopefully, Shane Bannon could be ready to move to FB full time and McClain could get the #2 carries. McClain is just 26. In his one full season as a featured back his workload increased to the point where the last five weeks of the season were his highest in terms of carries per game and his numbers got better and better.
So while it was nice to see a little action from Thomas Jones on Friday night, if history is our guide we need to get the most we can out of him early and then prepare him for a lesser role as the season wears on and we move towards the playoffs. So I guess the question remains, "How Excited Should We Be About Thomas Jones?"
Agree? Disagree? Bring Back Boomer? Let me know. Follow me @deemo15