Thomas Jones, Jets Workhorse Back, Goes Over 1,000 Yards - Again
Every winning New York Jets team has had a quality feature running back. Names like Matt Snell, Freeman McNeil and Curtis Martin conjure up memories of real estate being chewed up and success in the win-loss column.
Especially in the northeast, if you do not have a good ground game, forget about it. A workhorse back is a must and for the past three seasons, that has been one less concern for Gang Green. When Thomas Jones was acquired from the Chicago Bears in March of 2007, Jet fans had questions why someone who just led his team to the Super Bowl was joining his fourth team in his first seven years in the NFL.
Their reservations were unwarranted as Jones has rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons in the Big Apple. A big part of his success on Sundays comes in the form of preparation during the week leading up to the game. "There are a lot of guys now working out in the weight room, a lot going in the cold tub, a lot of guys doing extra things," said Jones. "For me, that's something that I do naturally. I don't do it for show. I don't do it so guys can say, 'There's Thomas Jones doing this and that.' I do it so I'm prepared on Sundays."
That has been the case since Day One in New York for Jones, who rushed for 1,119 yards on a weak team in 2007. A year ago, Brett Favre was brought in to run the offense but it was Jones who shined. The former University of Virginia star led the AFC in rushing and was fifth in the league with 1,312 yards on 290 carries, good enough for a 4.5 average. He also rushed for 13 touchdowns (15 total), both franchise records. It was certainly no fault of his that the team missed the playoffs after starting the season 8-3.
Through 12 games in 2009, Jones is once again averaging 4.5 yards per carry and already has eclipsed 1,000 yards, the fifth consecutive season in which he has done so. He also has scored nine touchdowns, all on the ground. But he can't do it alone.
Since Leon Johnson went out for the season with a broken leg in the Week 7 win at Oakland, rookie Shonn Greene has seen a lot more touches and is averaging nearly five yards a carry. Jones has sort of taken him under his wing and the results have been extremely positive.
"Me and Shonn do a lot together," Jones said. "Our whole group of backs, we watch film now, and after practice we each watch a game or two together and go into pass protections.
"I'm willing to talk to anyone," continued Jones. "There are a lot of guys who want to become great players. There are a lot of guys on this team who definitely could. They'll see my example of working hard and they run with it."
Getting pointers and taking advice from a guy like Jones can go a long way. Just like he has done his entire career.