Can Brad Jones raise his game in 2010?
July 26, 2010 ~by Brian E Murphy
~The last we saw of Brad Jones, he was actually MIA in Glendale, Arizona, a seemingly innocent bystander to the crime of being torched by Cardinals QB Kurt Warner.
While ROLB Clay Matthews was being double-teamed all game long, and still getting to Warner on occasion, LOLB Jones was manhandled by Arizona RT Levi Brown.
While Warner had all day long to survey the Packers confused pass defense, Packers fans could only dream of a compliment to Matthews coming from the other side. This is why many Packer fans and draft experts expected a guy like Jerry Hughes from TCU to be Ted Thompson’s 2010 number one draft pick. That was, until prototype Packer offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga slid down to their pick.
That being said, Thompson had six more rounds, plus free agency, to bring in a big time pass rush specialist to upgrade Jones at LOLB. So what did Thompson do? He told everybody the copboard is not as bare as others think it is.
Sure, he hoodwinked Packer nation that same line last year when referring to the right tackle position, telling us that Allen Barbre and Breno Giaconimi were both ready. Barbre won that battle, and we all saw in week one against the Bears how ready Barbre really was. The name Adewale Ogunleye is all we need to remind us. Aaron Rodgers still occasionally sees Ogunleye in his nightmares.
But not so fast with Brad Jones. Brad Jones, pass-rush reportoire
When Brad Jones was announced as the seventh round selection out of Colorado in the 2009 NFL Draft, University of Colorado fans told me that Jones is as fast as the wind coming off the edge.
Packer fans saw some glimpses of it last year, in limited duty.
Jones didn’t start at LOLB until after Aaron Kampman blew his knee out in week 11, but starting with the first game in December, Jones had a four-game stretch in which he registered four sacks. He brought down Flacco, Roethlisberger, and Hasselbeck four times. He also had seven tackles against Dallas in a big win in week 10.
However, at about 239 pounds, Jones did not have the strength to go thru any NFL OT’s, and speed alone isn’t enough to conistently get to QB’s at this level.
Following the draft this April, Thompson was asked about the position, and said: “Brad did pretty good during the limited time that he played there last year, and we’re going to work at it.
Every year it’s that way. Quite frankly, Brad Jones is a perfect example. We picked him in the seventh round last year and at this time last year you wouldn’t have thought he’d have wound up starting eight games or something like that and had the production he had in sacks.
I understand everybody’s concerned about that position. We don’t think it’s quite as dire as everybody else does.”
Jones has added a solid 10-15 pounds of muscle since that Cardinals loss, and he’s refined his pass rush moves.
Only time will tell, but Jones hopes and expects his off-season hard work will pay off and will make Ted Thompson look like a genius.
The first test will come on September 12th in Philadelphia against Kevin Kolb, and Packer fans are banking on Jones acing his first exam of 2010.