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Originally published Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Steve Kelley

Julius Jones hopes to use new system to help in his comeback

Says running back: "You pick your hole and you go with it."

Seattle Times staff columnist

RENTON — One cut and go.

"You make one cut and you go and you live with it," Seahawks running back Julius Jones said. "There's not too much dancin' around. You pick your hole and you go with it. That's it. Simple as that."

One cut and go.

"It means the running backs are reading two guys and once they see those guys make their decision on where they're going to go on defense, the running back's going to make his cut and get up the football field," perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones said. "We just have to open up the holes for him [Jones] and make it easy for him."

One cut and go.

"It's teaching the back that you're going to make a decision with the ball in your hands," offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said. "It's very similar to what a quarterback does. You work your progression and if that No. 1 read's not there, then you go to your second read.

"We want one cut and go downhill. It's kind of an emphasis. With a running back, when you go to that mark that we teach you to go to, you make a cut. That way there's no indecision."

One cut and go.

Make the right cut, get through the hole, and it almost feels as if time accelerates.

One cut and go is the Seahawks' new strategy for the running game. It is the same system Hawks coach Jim Mora and Knapp used with Warrick Dunn in Atlanta.

It looks tailored to Jones' quick-burst style. And Jones believes it will be the key to his comeback season.

"I got excited when I heard that was what we were going to do. That's more my style," Jones said. "I consider myself a north-south runner, and with this offense's run scheme you can do that. Choose one hole. Stick with it. And make it work."

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Jones admits he has something to prove this season. In 2006 with Dallas, he ran for more than 1,000 yards. Last season, his first in Seattle, he gained only 698 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Seahawks' 4-12 free fall of a year.

"Poor effort. Just poor effort, man, by everyone," Jones said. "We're much better than that. I'm way better than that."

He was brought here to replace Shaun Alexander, but by the last half of the season he had fallen out of favor with then-coach Mike Holmgren. Maurice Morris replaced Jones as the starter in four of the last five games.

Jones came into that season with hope and left it in frustration. He believed the position belonged to him and he had lost it.

"I came here for a reason, and last year, for whatever reason, I never got the chance," Jones said. "Some things you just can't control. You try to stay positive. I didn't really have control over what was going on last year, so there wasn't much I could do.

"But whatever, man. It's all good. It's a brand new year. A brand new coach. Brand new situation and I couldn't be happier. Everything feels better. Totally different situation. I have faith in Coach Mora. As soon as last season was over, last day, I was excited to get back here and have a chance to play under Coach Mora."

Several times, during last season's down times, Jones talked with coach-in-waiting Mora, even though Mora was coaching the Hawks' defensive secondary.

"We just had little talks, here and there," said Jones, who turns 28 this month. "He's just a positive person. He helped me stay positive. He was really a good influence on me."

There is a clear chemistry there between Mora and Jones.

"I just gave him encouragement. Tried to tell him to keep believing in himself. Keep working hard," Mora said. "I told him good things would happen for him. I like him as a human being and I like him as a football player.

"We told him, 'The ball's yours, so take it and run.' I think he can be a very productive player for us. He's proven that he can do some good things with the ball in his hands in this league. We think he's a good fit for this system."

Even in the first practice, when the offense was running against air, coaches could see the difference in Jones.

"Right now, he's been very decisive. What I'm seeing in him is that he's showing decisiveness in his decisions to cut-and-go," Knapp said. "And he's been great in the classroom as far as being into the note-taking and into the meetings.

"He's been into the offseason program and the conditioning, the workouts. You see something there that says, 'This is going to be everything I can do.' And he's showing it on the practice field."

A new season. A new coach. A new philosophy. One cut and go. It seems to fit Julius Jones.

Steve Kelley: 206-464-2176 or skelley@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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About Steve Kelley

Steve Kelley covers all sports, putting his spin on matters involving both the home team and the nation.
skelley@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2176

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