Bucs will focus on Jones

Lake Forest - Thomas Jones has struggled to gain yards without Rex Grossman in the lineup and things will be no different against his former team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jones spent one season in Tampa and rushed for a career high 627 yards, but most of that came in the second half of last year. He rushed for 134 yards on two occasions over the final 7 games he averaged 76.5 yards per game, which caught the eye of the Chicago Bears, who gave him a four-year $10 million free agent contract.

"He took advantage of the opportunity that presented him," Brooks said. "He carried the ball last year and obviously he took advantage of it and made a very good run towards the end and was rewarded by going to Chicago and being a featured back."

The cap strapped Bucs couldn't compete with the offer or the chance to make him a featured back.

"Thomas is a great guy, a heck of a football player," said head coach Jon Gruden. "I hated to lose him, not only as a playmaker but as a key in our locker room."

After three games Jones led the NFC in rushing yards and topped the NFL in total yardage. However, R Grossman's season-ending injury meant opposing teams didn't have to worry about the pass.

In the first game Jonathan Quinn started, Jones rushed for 32 yards on 12 carries. He picked up his production against the Redskins with 97 yards, but Quinn actually had more rushing yards in the first half.

While the Tampa defense is ranked in total fourth, they're 21st vs. the run. Warren Sapp and John Lynch both left via free agency, which leaves OLB Derrick Brooks as the leader.

"Obviously he's a very big part of the offense and we can't let TJ get rolling," Brooks said. "I'm kind of glad he played with us so we're very familiar with his talent. We just have to make sure we tackle and don't leave one man in a position to make the tackle, so we get seven hats on him."


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