If Thomas Jones reaches the end zone Sunday against the Bills, he'll claim at least two and as many three franchise scoring marks all to his lonesome. But don't expect trucking TJ to beat his chest if he delivers another TD for the Green & White.
"Anytime you have any kind of touchdown record, it's not an individual effort. It's a credit to the offensive line and everyone on the offense — the receivers blocking downfield, my fullback, Tony Richardson, and the coaches calling the right plays to put us in position to be successful," he told newyorkjets.com today.
Jones is tied for the franchise record in three categories: most touchdowns in a season (14), most rush touchdowns in a season (12), and most consecutive games scoring a touchdown (7). He also quietly paces the AFC with his 1,144 yards on the ground.
"I just think he's done a great job. You're talking about a guy who took last season and used it as motivation," said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. "He dropped down in weight some and he's done a really good job. He's spent the time getting to know the new offensive linemen. But I just think you see a guy who's really running with a sense of urgency to get in the end zone."
A young 30, Jones needs just 191 yards to top his previous career high of 1,335 yards with the Bears in 2005. But the offensive leader, who speaks softly with the media and emotionally implores his teammates on gameday, just doesn't get caught up in stats or even good performances.
Jones wants a team record as in 9-5. He is eager to help the Jets beat the Bills and then move on from there.
"You have to have a short memory sometimes," he said. "When you win a game or you have a great game, you have to be able to move to the next one because there's always another game. It would be a blessing, it would be a great accomplishment [to break the TD record], but at the end of the day, if you don't win, it's kind of like you didn't even score."
When asked about Jones, Schottenheimer just beamed. TJ's not only a great teammate but an easy player to coach. The 5'10", 215-pounder, the son of Virginia coalminers, is as self-motivated as they come.
"He wants to help us win. He's as competitive a guy as I've been around, whether you watch him in practice, in the locker room before the game, on the field," Schottenheimer said. "Just watch him sometime — watch him on Sunday when they break from ballhandling."
In the Jets' first meeting with the Bills up in Buffalo, Jones averaged 5.8 yards on his 12 carries, scored a 7-yard touchdown and had a key 23-yard gallop midway through the final quarter. And now after two consecutive losses, the Jets will look to TJ to help get them back on track.
"I want to do my job. If everyone does their jobs, then we'll be in good shape," he said. "We have a lot of veteran leadership on this team, a lot of guys who are vocal, a lot of guys who step up and make plays. I'm just one of them."
Jones ran like a lion unleashed from a cage in each of the Jets' past two home outings. He topped the 100-yard mark and scored two touchdowns — in the first half alone — against both the Rams and the Broncos.
"Anytime you get in a groove early in the game, it's just a positive for the offense if you're moving the ball, moving the chains, wearing the defense out and keeping your defense off the field," he said. "But you never know how the game's going to unfold. You just have to take it a play at a time and that's what we've been able to do."
It would be a travesty if Jones is not named as a Pro Bowl selection next week. And if he is named to the AFC squad, it would be his first trip to Honolulu and a destination fitting for the humble workhorse.
"There is an energy and excitement about the guy and he carries that over for pregame and it carries over to the game," Schottenheimer said. "He's playing with so much confidence and such a sense of passion that it's been a lot of fun to watch."
Here are the Jets franchise season records Jones is poised to break and the players he's tied with:
|1960||WR Art Powell||14|
|1965||WR Don Maynard||14|
|1972||RB Emerson Boozer||14|
|2004||RB Curtis Martin||14|
|2008||RB Thomas Jones||14|
|2004||RB Curtis Martin||12|
|2008||RB Thomas Jones||12|
|Season||Player||Consec. Games TDs|
|2003||WR Santana Moss||7|
|2008||RB Thomas Jones||7|