The NFL’s No. 1 rushing offense will have hit the field next season with the same two running backs that carried the load last year. Pro Bowler Jamaal Charles was a given, but veteran Thomas Jones was less of a certainty. Chiefs head coach Todd Haley repeated that not only was he happy with Jones’ first year in KC but that he is expected back.
“I couldn’t be more excited about what Thomas Jones has brought to this team both as a player and as a leader,” Haley said of Jones, who had 15 more carries than Jamaal Charles last season but almost 600 fewer yards.
“He’s the epitome of the same guy every day. We’ve got a little plan for Thomas that I’m excited about getting to. I’m excited to have Thomas back. He’s a big part of what we’re doing.”
Even though he faded down the stretch for the second season in a row, it can’t be overstated how important it is to have Jones back in the fold next season.
True, his presence gives Haley an excuse to take carries away from Charles, but also he will take carries away from Charles.
I am happy to lead the “Free Jamaal Charles” movement as long as needed, but the kid does need a durable backup to keep him fresh. I’d rather he not stay quite as fresh as Haley had him, but after seeing Charles get up slowly more than once every game the last quarter of the season it’s clear that he needs help.
We also shouldn’t forget how big Jones was for Charles off the field. You’d be hard pressed to find a better role model for the Chiefs young running back, especially after he had to be in the same locker room with Larry Johnson.