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Sunday, March 14, 2010

NY Jets #20 - Part 2

As we first determined when we first set down to write this history, to flatter no man, but to guide our pen throughout by the directions of truth, we are obliged to bring our heroe on the stage in a much more disadvantageous manner than we could wish; and to declare honestly...that it was the universal opinion of all...that he was born to be hanged.

That's roughly page 93 of Henry Fielding's Tom Jones. The sentiment befits the hero because young Jones is nothing but a troublemaker from the start. This does not describe Thomas Jones, the now released running back for the New York Jets from 2007 to 2009. But I feel that "born to die" is the nature of the running back position, so much so that I feel more sympathy for this Jones - now a Kansas City Chief - than I do for most of those who come and go.

Remember that for many years to come, Thomas Jones will be remembered as the man who took the ball on 4th and 1 against the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 2009 playoffs, and gave the Jets the first down late, late, late in the game, and with it, the right to only their fourth conference championship appearance. Lance Mehl intercepted Jim Plunkett to win a comparable playoff game in the strike year of 1982; Keyshawn Johnson recovered his own fumble for a first down against Jacksonville to send the Jets to the AFC Title Game in 1998. But when Rex Ryan was seen to say, "Fuck it. We're going for it" on fourth down, Thomas Jones was the one who did the deed. Now the only thing he has to show for it is the money he earned, the right to play a little longer somewhere else, and a memory.

Now, place yourself in the Jets' Irony Machine. LaDanian Tomlinson's last gain on the other side of the ball in the same affair was emblematic of both his futility and the Chargers'. Now he is replacing Thomas Jones. I still believe this is a mistake. Not a terrible mistake - not the kind I think the Phillies made in not keeping Cliff Lee - just a bad mistake that will look dumb. Not the way Chad Pennington made us look dumb while Brett Favre heaved interceptions at the end of 2008, but a mistake. It will be an expensive one, one that sees the rapidly declining Tomlinson make slightly fewer yardage in the backfield for us, and it will make the man who cried "Fuck it" look foolish. I do believe Jones will have a better season than LT next year.

I'm going to remember Thomas Jones fondly. When he was asked about the lack of handoffs in early 2007 - a miserable season among our many - his reply was that he was, above all, a team player and that more yardage was to come. He was correct. He gained 1,000 in consecutive seasons. But like all talented, medium-sized running backs, Thomas Jones is now fallen to the fate of so many of his contemporaries. His slowness toward the end of the 2009 season opened the door to Shonn Greene's great performances at the same time. Easy come, easy go, particularly at a position with a such an attrition rate. I know that a thousand dittoheads can argue with me about this, but I feel like the Jets should have kept Jones another year. He is been a strong locker room presence, and not a negative one. I feel he got the shaft; all running backs get it before even they realize their legs have given out, but to be honest, I think he had one more year in him, and it is a year the Jets will want to have back.

So it goes.

****

Look anywhere on the web for Dennis Price #20, and you'll be very likely to find an actor of some repute in British cinema who appeared very briefly in the nearly unwatchable 1969 film, The Magic Christian, which qualified in its time for biting satire. I've never made it through it, no better than I did How I Won the War or The Ruling Class. Basically, it's one of those late 60's absurdist British films that tries to mock every possible class distinction but ends up incoherent. The only reason to see it is Yul Brynner in drag. Yes. Dennis Price plays Winthrop, a corporate lackey to the mischievous Sir Guy Grand.

In New York, Jean Shepard did dramatic readings on WOR from Terry Southern's original novel of the same name in the early 60's, putting particular stress on the story of Guy Grand buying up up a hot dog vendor's entire stock at a railway station with $100 but expecting his change even while his train pulls out of the station. As the vendor vainly chases the train down, fumbling around for the right bills, Grand puts a pig mask over his face.

By the way
, this Dennis Price I mentioned earlier is no way to be mistaken for the defensive back that the Jets picked up at the end of the 1991 season after he was released by the LA Raiders. This Dennis Price played out the entire 1992 season with one interception, and though his career with us was brief before his knees gave out, he still finished with as many Jets playoff games under his belt as anyone else whose career with the team spanned any number of years between 1987 to 1998, which is the equivalent of one playoff game, a loss to the Houston Oilers in the 1991 postseason that practically nobody remembers. And so it goes.

1 comment:

Slimbo said...

So no more Tom Jones but you get LT instead. (Hopefully this isn't going to be like OJ...the San Francisco years). I guess it's not unusual in these days of the nomadic backfields. Remember when teams would have a running back FOR LIFE? Ho

Hey - Jets open MNF with LT and a new stadium. That's something.