Jones’s talent never under radar

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on May 23, 2012 – 5:47 am

Adam Jones

This is how much talent Adam Jones has:

Think of all the headlines he has generated down through the years. From being the sixth pick in the draft in 2005 to being suspended for the 2007 season, to his comebacks with the Cowboys and Bengals, to his two neck surgeries the past two years.

And now he slides under the radar for the first time in his career and he’s still big news as the Bengals open their voluntary on-field sessions.

With starting cornerbacks Leon Hall (Achilles) and Nate Clements (abdomen) on the side rehabbing, Jones got plenty of work Tuesday in the first workout. After an offseason he signed a low-profile one-year deal while the Bengals went out and signed two more veteran corners in Terence Newman and Jason Allen, Jones quietly talked about what he hoped to accomplish in his third season as a Bengal at age 28.

He knows he’s no longer Pacman Jones in more ways than one.

“I don’t want to be known as just (a) talent right now. I want to make sure I’m covering everything else,” Jones said. “Of course I have great talent but right now I’m working on my head, being a lot smarter and just play the defense. I feel comfortable with the defense and I’m playing a little bit faster.

“If you want to be a good player or a great player in this league you can’t just rely on talent. In the past I have done that. Now I’m just getting better every day, staying in my playbook, trying to understand what the offense is trying to do against different defensive calls.”

When he signed here two years ago just in time for the OTAs, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer insisted Jones reign in that enormous talent and fire and play within the defense. Jones indicated Tuesday it has been sinking in.

“There’s a time and a place for everything,” he said. “I know my role on this team. I’m going to sit back and keep my mouth shut and let my play speak for itself.”

Maybe no play spoke louder about what he can do with the ball in his hands than last year on Oct. 30 in Seattle, when he got his hands on it for the first time in 13 months. He took a punt 63 yards for the club’s longest return in eight years and would have scored if he didn’t pull up with a hamstring/groin injury that took him out of the next two games and lingered.

The play signified both what Jones can do and what he hasn’t been able to do because of injuries and why he thinks if he can stay healthy he’s still a very good starting corner.

“Of course I would have been able to turn the corner on that one. I couldn’t do it with the injuries, torn hammy and torn groin. I had to choke it down,” he said.

He admits last year was tough as he started for Hall in the last seven games while he battled rust and his body. But Jones says this is the best he’s felt in years. He’s put on some bulk and it’s the first time since ’06 he’s heading into a season without a layoff or injury.

“This is the best I felt since ’06,” he said. “Body weight, strength, I’ve gained five or six pounds to 187. I feel good, man.”

Combine that with the talent that just never goes away and his huge competitive streak and Jones is going to make it all very interesting. While he returned only one more punt last year (for four yards), wide receiver Brandon Tate set the team’s single-season record for punt return yards and attempts.

“Oh yeah. I really want that punt return job,” Jones said. “I want that job. I want both jobs, but I really want that job, too. The coaches pretty much know I want to be back there on punt return. We’re all competing. We have a long time before summer gets here. I’m just going to try to get better and better.”

No matter what happens, it will be a headline. That’s how much talent there is.

Posted in Hobson's Choice | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Jones’s talent never under radar”

  1. By mwindle1973 on May 23, 2012 | Reply

    Adam Jones is a special athlete. If you were talking about any other player missing the time Jones has in the last 6 years he would’ve lost it, and be out of the league. Ricky Williams is the only athlete that I can think of that has a similar career track. Thankfully Jones isn’t a RB and doesn’t have to withstand that kind of pounding. I think, barring injury, that he is poised to have a career season. He’s been underweight most of his time here, because he’s been limited by injury. He’s shaken the rust off, he’s got the body back to top shape, now he just needs to keep getting smarter in his coverage. I think the PR job is his if he stays healthy, and that’s where he can do the most damage. When healthy I believe he’s still a top 5 PR. Who knows what happens with him as a CB, because it’s packed. And I think you’ll see the team strategy change a little. It’s likely after the starting 2 that the 3 & 4 CBs will change based on the opponent. Likely there will be a variety of packages using all the CBs within a game as well. Where in the past the 4th CB was lucky to get a few snaps a game.

  2. By mwindle1973 on May 23, 2012 | Reply

    On Andy Dalton’s arm strength…if I had to rate Joe Montana’s arm strength on a scale of 1-10…with 1 being the weakest arm ever to sit on an NFL bench and 10 being the strongest cannon ever…I’d rate him about a 3 or 4. But you never noticed how it limited him. Because it didn’t! If you have enough other skills, that’s enough arm strength to operate all the throws in a WCO. But I’d rate Dalton about a 6 on arm strength. To me he has sufficient arm strength. He has enough to make all the throws you need to make in the NFL. The 70 yard bomb is a play you’ll be lucky to get 1-2 chances at in a season. But Dalton can consistently throw 55-60 yards. And I’ve seen him hit the 16-18 yard out route from the opposite hash last year. That’s what you need according to scouts. People are looking at the under thrown passes, but a lot of them were under thrown, outside shoulder passes on purpose. You don’t throw over the top when the WR is underneath the CB. Some of them were inaccurate and needed to be deeper. It’s mechanics, and also the overlooked breakdowns in protection that lead to these mistakes. And that’s what they were mistakes, not lack of arm strength, but fixable mistakes.

  3. By flp88 on May 23, 2012 | Reply

    I believe that Jones’ contributions last year went a little unappreciated. He came off the bench rusty and did an admirable job on an island out there at CB. He wasn’t losing games out there for us like many other NFL corners might have done under the same circumstances. I was even able to forgive his playoff blown coverage because of how hard the guy tries. I hope he beats out Tate for the return job because he puts that fear of ‘I can break one at any time’ out there. I’m sure he will find his way into the lineup somewhere if he stays healthy.

  4. By mwindle1973 on Jun 9, 2012 | Reply

    Bobbie Williams going to the Ravens is an interesting one. Can’t blame the team for moving on with this one. But still, he may have been worth signing just to keep him off the Ravens. It all depends on two things. One if he returns to form, or close to it. The second is the performance of Otis Hudson. If he keeps developing then it was the right move either way. If he doesn’t and ends up off the roster next year anyways, then we might as well have signed Williams again and had more options as well as not having to play against him. But the team had no choice, and neither did Williams. It would have been an up hill fight to make the roster.

  5. By mwindle1973 on Jun 9, 2012 | Reply

    @Hobson: Nice piece on Adam Jones and Police Chief Craig. I wonder if will run this story? HAHAHAHAHHA! THat’s pretty funny isn’t it? They can’t seem to stop calling him Pacman Jones long enough. This is a success story. When layed against the tragedy of Jones’ former WV team mate Chris Henry nobody should take this lightly. If they are going to run the Chris Henry tear jerker pieces, then they need to recognize the huge steps Jones has taken in the last 4 years. It may have not been a quick enough turnaround for some, but he has slowly changed his life. I know it hasn’t been that long since he was in trouble, and he may find trouble again. But the point is, when he does make mistakes he gets right back up, pays for his mistakes, and continues to grind away at improving himself. Not the fairy tale that the NFL media wants to embrace. But this is how young troubled men turn their lives around. Slowly and with lots of time and attention from others that care.

  6. By mwindle1973 on Jun 12, 2012 | Reply

    I’m wondering why they never ran more than 1 season of the Spike TV, Michael Irvin series ‘4th & Long’. I guess it just didn’t get good ratings. But as football hungry NFL fans are, it’s hard to imagine such a series not getting good ratings unless it wasn’t marketed properly. But the fact is the reality series produced great results in reality. The winner and one of the runner-ups are now in the NFL. The show ran in 2009 and by 2011 both Jesse Holley and Andrew Hawkins were on active NFL rosters. Coming off the Cowboys 2010 practice squad Holley was active for 16 games in 2011 and had 7 catches at 24.1 a catch for 169 yards. Hawkins was active for 13 games and had 23 catches for 263 yards. Who knows if it’s just the increased exposure, or the increase in opportunities from the exposure, or the specific work with Irvin on the fundamental NFL skills. But it worked. And they did a good job picking candidates. I’m sure each year they could run this program and land 1 or more player(s) in the NFL from each season. It may take them 2-3 more years to stick in the league like with the original series run in 2009. But I’d love to see it back!

  7. By mwindle1973 on Jun 12, 2012 | Reply

    If you look at the history of the Marvin Lewis era roster breakdowns, this seems to be the formula: Offense) 3-HBs, 1-FB, 3-TE, 6-WR, 8-Oline & 3-QBs = 24 total offensive players; Defense) 8-Dline, 6-LBs & 10-DBs = 24 total defensive players; Special Teams) 1-P, 1-K & 1-LS = 3 total special teams players; This equals a total of 51 players Traditionally the 2 extra spots that are given to player(s) on the bubble that will play special teams only, and/or to stock an extra player(s) to a position group(s) where there is heavy talent and competition, and/or to keep a player(s) who may not clear waivers to the practice squad if cut. This may be the year we keep that 4th HB or 4th TE but history say it will be one of those 5 position groups that get the extra spots. So 7th WR, 9th DLine, 11th DB. 9 Oline, 7th LB? LB is the wildcard with maybe nobody and maybe 3 guys to consider. That’s anywhere from 6-13 guys that will go for 3 spots. And it’s a situation where maybe only 3 guys or less could make it to the practice squad. This roster cut will be one of the most important in franchise history and will define the team for the next few years.

  8. By mwindle1973 on Jun 12, 2012 | Reply

    Something I left off my last post about the roster breakdown…It’s notable that the 2-3 extra roster spots in the the Lewis era have always went to the following position group(s): WR, Oline, Dline, LB, DB. And all these positions are packed this year. Look at Dline. At DT we have Peko, Atkins, Sims, Still, Thompson, Hayden & Meatoga. At DE we have Dunlap, Johnson, Geathers, Anderson, Harvey & Evans. You can see keeping 4 DEs. But picking 4 DTs? How do you do it? Peko & Atkins are locks. One would think that Sims would be too. But Still & Thompson are 2nd and 3rd round rookies, they won’t clear waivers, so aren’t they locks too? The only thing I can project is with Meatoga and Hayden. One will go to the PS and one will be cut. So that looks like a place where we have to use the extra spot or cut the recently re-signed Sims. But it’s not that simple, because the situation in detail at WR, Oline & DB is the same. At LB the addition of Burfict & Johnson to the pile of contenders at LB, that already included Skuta, Rey, Muckelroy & Moch, has made what once looked like 4 guys, into 6 guys fighting for the final 3 spots. Hobson was right in his recent article. This roster fight will go down to the final day. It will be interesting to see if they sock more towards youth and securing it’s potential for the future, or if we stock towards the older developed talent that could help us more in the present. I’d hope we would keep building for the future at this point.

  9. By mwindle1973 on Jun 14, 2012 | Reply

    Just about every time Marvin Lewis is in a press conference he gets asked if there is any news on his contract status. He keeps saying none. Lewis has said in the past he will not actively negotiate a contract while he’s actively coaching the team. He’s made it clear this refers to the spring camps, training camp, regular season, and the time between the combine and the draft. It’s a matter of him wanting to be 100% focused on football. IMO if a new deal is going to happen before Lewis’ contract expires, it will be in the next 6 weeks. If it doesn’t happen by the time camp opens, then it is likely Lewis & Brown will reconvene in January to work out a new contract. If this happens it will cause a stir, but I think Lewis has every intention of working out a deal. It’s just Marvin being Marvin. He’s serious when he says he’s focused on football! You have to respect that he’s so intensely focused that he doesn’t want any kind of thoughts about contract talks that could be negative, stressful or distracting and effect his focus on the team. Plus I’m sure he’s aware that another successful season would give him more leverage in contract negotiations. I would think at this point all parties want to continue down the path they’re on. But that most important thing this franchise can do is lock him up this time for 4-5 years. He’s fought long and hard to build this franchise up to one that can compete every year. I’d like to see him be able to finish the job.

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