Stepping Up: Thomas Jones
Let's look back to the Jets' 2006 season. When Pennington was liked by Jets fans, the Jets went 10-6 and made the playoffs, and the Jets seemed like a solid team. But there was one key component that was missing in that team: the run game. Leon Washington, our leading rusher at 650 yards, had potential but was not an every-down back.
That component's problems seemed to be solved for the '07 season when on May 7, 2007, the Jets stole Thomas Jones from the Bears by swapping second-round picks to get him. Thomas Jones in the 2006 season had over 1,200 yards and helped lead the Bears to the Super Bowl.
Well, the 2007 season arrived and Thomas Jones was ehh, ok at best. The Jets where horrible, going 4-12 with no definite QB at the wheel. Because of this they had to give Thomas Jones the ball more than usual and was eventually top five in rushes in 2007.
But he wasn't even in the Top 32 in yards a carry (with people with at least 350 yards rushing) with 3.6 yards. Also, you can't forget he also had only two touchdowns for the whole year in 2007. Not all of this was his fault though; the Jets again had no definite QB, so they had to overuse Thomas Jones. Also, the offensive line looked like Swiss cheese.
The 2008 offseason came and the Jets decided to fix these problems. The Jets brought in one of the league's best offensive linemen, Alan Faneca, and also brought in another great offensive linemen, Damien Woody. The Jets also fixed their QB problems by bringing in—statiscally—the Best QB ever, Brett Favre. Thomas Jones definitely looked like he was going to improve.
The 2008 season arrived and he did. He immediately came out strong in Week One versus the Dolphins, getting 101 yards, averaging 4.6 yards a carry, and tieing his rushing touchdown total last season (one).
It was all uphill for Thomas Jones in the 2008 season, becoming the leading rusher in the AFC with 1,312 yards, top five in the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 13 TDs, and averaged 4.5 yards a carry. He also had more than seven times as many touchdowns than last year (15).
Unfortunately though, we all know how the season for the Jets went. But if T.J. can keep it up, who knows what next year will bring.
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