When the Kansas City Chiefs signed Ronald Jones this offseason, it was assumed that he would find himself in the mix in the running back rotation for a team that has been searching for consistency for the past several seasons.
Then the Chiefs drafted Isiah Pacheco, who quickly turned heads at training camp and eventually secured a spot on the roster. This left Jones as the odd man out, and he's been waiting for his opportunity — in Kansas City or elsewhere — ever since.
It looks like his chance to prove himself may finally have arrived.
On Wednesday, the Chiefs placed Clyde Edwards-Helaire on injured reserve, meaning he will be sidelined for at least the next four games. This means that Jones, who has been a healthy scratch in every game this season, could find himself making his Chiefs debut on Sunday vs. the Los Angeles Rams.
"It's just an opportunity to get in and work - literally," head coach Andy Reid told reporters on Wednesday. "He has a chance to play. A legitimate chance."
The Chiefs have subscribed to a "hot hand" theory with their running back room this year. Edwards-Helaire, Pacheco, as well as Jerick McKinnon, have each experienced games where they've been given heavier workloads than the rest of the bunch. However, success in one game hasn't always led to more opportunities the next week.
The past two weeks have firmly belonged to Pacheco, who's coming off a career-high 107-yard performance in the Chiefs' 30-27 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. But because Pacheco isn't as polished as a receiver or pass blocker, McKinnon continues to see a healthy dose of snaps as the team's third-down back.
The point is: you have to be able to do a bit of everything in this offense if you want consistent playing time, something Reid was sure to mention regarding Jones' chances of carving out a role.
"He has to make sure he has all the protections down and the timing of the runs," Reid explained. "Those are things we'll look at. But he's been working at it, and I don't think he should have a problem with that."
It's been a frustrating year for Jones, who posted a not-so-cryptic Tweet just last month, seemingly asking for his release from the team.
Sure would like a RELEASE right about now— Rojo ひ “The Breeze” (@rojo) October 29, 2022
People are free to interpret that as they may, but it stands to reason that Jones thought he'd be playing a more significant role - or any role - on the Chiefs' offense this season. And while it certainly hasn't gone according to plan for the fifth-year running back, the opportunity to reverse his fortunes is knocking at the door.