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Whose line is it anyway? It's L.T.'s now

When comparing last year's numbers for LaDainian Tomlinson and Thomas Jones, there's no contest.

Jones was almost twice the back as Tomlinson statistically. Jones logged career highs, Tomlinson career lows.

ESPN Stats & Information found Tomlinson averaged 1.9 yards per carry against eight defenders in the box, the NFL's worst average -- by more than half a yard -- among all backs with at least 50 carries. The former San Diego Chargers star also struggled between the tackles compared to Jones, as the accompanying chart shows.

So why on earth did the New York Jets release Jones and agree to pay Tomlinson more money than Jones is getting from his new team?

Sure, Jones is 10 months older. But Tomlinson has 3,410 career touches. Jones has 2,586 and is coming off the most productive season of his life.

But rather than examine the stat lines or lines around their eyes, perhaps we should consider the offensive lines.

Football Outsiders ranks O-lines based on adjusted line yards, a formula that assigns responsibility for a running back's gains and losses and adjusts them based on down, distance, other situations and opponents. It's a complicated, but accepted method.

The Jets had three Pro Bowlers on their offensive line. All five of them started all 19 of their regular-season and playoff games. They ranked ninth in adjusted line yards at 4.28 a carry.

The Chargers lacked continuity. Only two of their linemen -- Pro Bowl left guard Kris Dielman and left tackle Marcus McNeill -- started every game. They fielded five different combinations. And the Chargers ranked 18th in adjusted line yards at 4.02 yards a carry.

Football Outsiders also calculates a stat it calls "power success," an evaluation of an O-line's efficiency at converting runs on third and fourth down and goal-line runs with 2 or fewer yards to go.

New York converted 70 percent of those runs, ranking sixth in the NFL.

San Diego converted 46 percent -- dead last.

Shonn Greene will be the Jets' featured back anyway, but based on those numbers, maybe Tomlinson's change of scenery (i.e. the five big fellas he's sees lined up across him before each snap) will boost his production enough to justify the Jets' decision to bring him aboard.