Jones missed the majority of training camp due to a calf injury and has struggled to find a rhythm early. Of course, the Jets recent swoon hasn't helped him out much.
At 1-5, the team has been playing catch-up most of the season, and Jones hasn't seen the amount of carries you would expect from a franchise back. This is a trend that Eric Mangini hopes to change.
"You really want all your players in a rhythm," Mangini said of getting Jones the ball more frequently. "Laveranues (Coles) in a rhythm, Jerricho (Cotchery) in a rhythm. You want all those guys involved because they all put pressure on different areas of the defense. When you're able to be balanced, when you're able to attack a lot of different areas and get all those guys involved in the game, then you have balance and you're stretching the field horizontally, you're stretching the field vertically, you've got the run-pass option and you've got to honor play-action passes a little differently. It's a balance."
Yielding 145 yards per game, the Bengals defense ranks 29th in the league against the run, and Jones should have the opportunity to build on last weekend's momentum. In fact, Jones' ability to productively chew up field, and burn time, could prove pivotal toward Sunday's outcome.
The prowess of the Bengals offense has been well documented. Led by quarterback Carson Palmer and his duel threat at wide receiver - Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh. This unit is a threat to score on any down. Given the Jets recent struggles defending the pass, their best bet of limiting the Bengals offensive productivity may be to keep their passing attack off the field all together. The most effective method for doing so likely would be for their own offense to put together sustained, run-driven, drives of their own.
The Jets and Bengals are two teams that desperately need a win to keep even the slimmest glimmers of playoff light still alive. With one win a piece, another notch on the loss column likely would prove fatal for both. Still, Mangini insists that the Jets will take the same, consistent, approach.
"We're looking to win every single week and that's no different," Mangini said. "This game doesn't count for four. This game counts as one. Just like last game counted as one. We need to be successful one game at a time. There's no getting any bonus points – it's 'take care of this week', the preparation leading into the game and the process in order to get the win."