Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Know Your Opponent: Julius Jones

RB Julius Jones’ first season in Seattle has gotten off to a tough start – for the team if not his own production – but the athletic running back is approaching the situation just like he would a potential tackler: head on

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RB Julius Jones is off to a good start with his new team, even if that team is struggling a bit in the early going

Julius Jones was one of the more highly sought-after free agent running backs this offseason after a productive first four years in the league with the Dallas Cowboys.

Jones signed with the Seattle Seahawks, and six weeks into the 2008 season his former mates in Dallas are sitting at 4-2 (although dealing with some recent troubles), while his current team has struggled to a 1-4 record with a long, tough road trip to Tampa Bay on tap.

Despite the what-ifs, Jones doesn't regret his decision to join the Seahawks in the least. In the same way he might take on a would-be tackler, Jones is continuing to press on, full steam ahead, working towards improving the Seahawks' season.

"It's definitely not the start that we wanted but it is what it is," Jones said. "We have a decision to make – which direction we're going to go. We can go either way down or make the best of what the situation is and continue to get better and strive to try to do something toward the end of the season and that's what we are going to do."

Jones has certainly proven his worth as the Seahawks' biggest free agent acquisition, rushing 90 times for 417 yards so far, a 4.6 yards-per-carry average. He has also found the end zone twice through five games, already equaling his touchdown total from last year as he split carries with Marion Barber in Dallas.

While the Seattle offense has struggled with injuries at the quarterback and wide receiver positions, Jones says the slow start thus far comes down to the entire team putting together complete efforts and overcoming the early-season obstacles.

"We just haven't been playing well as a team," Jones said. "We can't really seem to get into a groove. We did one game [against St. Louis in Week 3] and had a really good game, but since then and the game before then we haven't really put good games, offensively and defensively, together. We haven't really come together and played our best. Once we start doing that, which we need to start doing Sunday night, I think we will be fine."

For Jones and the rest of the Seattle offense, Sunday night may be a difficult time to get back on track. That's because a nasty, hard-hitting Buccaneers defense awaits.

"They do what they do and they do it really well," Jones said. "They have a lot of veterans on their team and guys that are hardly in the wrong position because they know the defense so well and they have been in the system for so long. When someone might get out of place, we as a team have to take advantage of that, try to make a big play off of that because they don't really have them that often.

Even though the matchup with the stout Bucs' defense will be a tough one, Jones knows the game is critical to turning the Seahawks season around, and he'll be doing his best to make that happen.

"They are playing well as a team," Jones said. "It's going to be a good, tough, physical game down there. They know that we need a win and of course they are going to be trying to win on their home turf. It's a NFC matchup, so both of us really need a win and I think that we need it a little bit more desperately. It's going to be a battle and I can't wait for it.

"Last week was a really urgent win that we were trying to get. This week is even more urgent. We have to win. We want to win. I'm not saying we're going to win, but we really need to win. Everybody understands the situation that we're in and the only thing you can do is dig yourself out of the situation that you put yourself in. That's what we are going to try to do. We've got to have the win."

And with a prime-time TV audience watching the Sunday night matchup between the Seahawks and Bucs, Jones expects his entire cast of new teammates to follow his lead and come out fired up to play.

"Look for a new team to come out on Sunday night," he declared.

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