In fact, according to Jones, his lack of playing time since
the first preseason game against the San Diego Chargers was precautionary.
“Just (to) calm it down - doing the right steps to get it right for the season.
The most important thing is get it ready for the season when it all gets started,”
Jones had complained of soreness in his surgically repaired
shoulder in early August even before the San Diego game, and both he and starting
right tackle Sean Locklear (knee tendonitis) sat out the second preseason
game against the Green Bay Packers. The results were disastrous, as the Pack
sacked Seattle quarterbacks seven times and embarrassed Tom Ashworth at left
tackle in particular on the way to a 48-13 rout at Lambeau Field. For the
Seahawks’ final two preseason games, home wins against the Vikings and Raiders,
Locklear manned the left side admirably.
Still, Jones has been the main man for so long, it’s almost
inconceivable to imagine anyone else at the far left of Seattle’s line. The
only game he’s missed since early 2002 was the 2005 regular-season finale
against the Packers, when the Seahawks had home field advantage wrapped up
and rested many of their starters. "I'm just taking it real slow,"
Holmgren said on August 7th of Jones’ practice and play status. "He's
going to be one of our guys we are going to need to play all season and play
well. So I'm probably being a little bit nice to him."
In 2006, Jones played all sixteen regular season games, and
two playoff games, despite a shoulder injury and a sprained ankle. His sub-par
year can be taken in context. At age 33, and in his 11th season, there are
still a few good years left for this seven-time Pro Bowler and future Hall
of Famer. Jones will most likely practice this week – his estimate seems to
be Wednesday - just to get the rust off, as he’ll be preparing for Gaines Adams, Tampa Bay’s rookie defensive end, who was drafted fourth overall.
“You can’t worry about that out there,” Jones said, when asked
if his shoulder will be on his mind during practice. “You go out there worrying
about that, (and) you are not going to be focused. When Wednesday comes my
main focus is to go out there and know the game plan and make sure I am ready
when Sunday comes.
“I’ve got a couple days to get ready. The thing about it is
it is still the same offense. I have been to practice; I have been to all
the meetings and stuff. I’ve been doing stuff to get myself ready. I just
have to go out there and go through some contact.”
After a frustrating 2006, Jones is more than ready to cement
Seattle’s offense for another season. “You get that adrenaline rush. The thing
about it, you can see how good this team can be and you want to be a part
of that. Hopefully things go the way they are supposed to go and we are in
the hunt in the end.”
That journey will be far easier taken with number 71 in the