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Cory's Corner: Josh Jones is the Packers' Gorilla Glue

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Cory's Corner: Josh Jones is the Packers' Gorilla Glue

The secret has been out for quite some time now. The term base defense is turning into a fossil. For the eighth straight year, the number of defensive snaps with at least five defensive backs has gone up.

Even in 2011, the Packers used a 2-4-5 alignment 62 percent of the time.

The reason of course is the influx of the passing game. The Packers were torched all over the field in the NFC Championship Game to the tune of 493 total yards and 12 pass plays of 15 yards or more.

That’s where Josh Jones comes in. His bio may say safety, but defensive coordinator Dom Capers is thinking other things.

“That was the first time doing linebacker drills,” the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Jones said with a smile after finishing up a Packers’ rookie practice.

Think of LeRoy Butler 2.0. Butler did a great job of playing the run and attacking the passer, but Jones is going to be a step further. With his speed and coverage skills, he can take an inside linebacker job right now in a nickel defense — which is what the new “base” defense is.

“I expect to contribute in any way I can, regardless of what my role is,” said Jones. “I can do a lot of things for a defense.”

That’s exactly what the Packers want to hear. The buzzword in the NFL right now is versatility. Running backs that are more worried about touches as opposed to just carries. Quarterbacks that can gallop 10 yards in a blink and sling it 70 yards and quick defenders that can seemingly play just about anywhere.

“I love the game so much and I would hope that it’s visible when I play,” Jones said.

While everyone else was gushing about combo stars Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook, Jones appears to the defensive equivalent from last month’s draft. Even if Jones doesn’t technically start, he will likely play the majority of the game anyway.

Jones is a tremendous lift for a defense that has looked befuddled guarding running backs out of the backfield. And just when you think you have that solved is when you get gashed with a long run between the tackles or give up a backbreaking 10-15 yard quarterback scramble on third down.

Jones is meant to stop those things. Think of him as Gorilla Glue. Capers will be able to stick him into just about any situation and be confident that Jones will be able to hold firm. He’s fast enough to attach himself to wide receivers. He’s big enough to body up tight ends and he’s got enough nasty to stampede the line of scrimmage.

Jones may not put up the numbers, but he’s going to be a guy that quarterbacks are going to want to locate right away. Lose track of him and the unassuming 22-year-old will suddenly turn himself into a linebacker and blow the play up.

Jones is listed as a safety. Just don’t expect him to be planted in center field because he has so much more to offer. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (34) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

Man, if King and Jones live up to their athleticism as players, we will finally be able to say goodbye to those years of frustrating defensive holes. Plus, with Daniels and Adams as penetrating DTs, it's possible that we will get back to being a turnover defense.

I'm also still hopeful that Fackrell and Martinez will step up the pass defense. "Green and growing!"

Savage57's picture

If the Packers were willing to bring in Jones to play the Deone Buchanon mini-missile role, then why didn't they spend the draft capital to go get the better model, Obi Melifonwu?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Yes, we could have used pick 108 and 61 to move up to 53 or so to take Obi Melifonwu. I don't know that Obi will be better than Josh Jones either since they seem very similar to me. At any rate, and nfldraftscout both rated Josh Jones a bit higjher than Melifonwu, while others had it the opposite. I liked both of them, but I didn't think much of Melifonwu's instincts. Obi is 6'4" while Jones is 6'1". Athletically both are freaks:
40 4.40 vs. 4.41
Bench: 17 vs. 20
Vertical: 44 vs. 37.5
Broad: 11'8" vs. 11'
20 yd: 4.30 vs. 4.40
3 Cone: 7.07 vs. 7.05

I'll take Jones and Biegel over just Melifonwu.

RCPackerFan's picture

When Jones was drafted my first thought/question about him was what position was he going to play.
I was assuming he was going to at the very least be in the mix to play the hybrid ILB/S position that Burnett played last year.
Fast forward to over a week later and that is exactly what it looks like after the Packers rookie orientation camp. By having him line up at LB it looks like they are going to find ways to use his size and speed to their advantage.

I am definitely looking forward to seeing how they use Jones this year and how his size/speed can be a difference for our defense.

dobber's picture

My first thought was they'd put Jones at one spot (SS) so he could focus on one position at a time. Then he could grow into others as he learned the defense and the players around him. I either picked the wrong position (ILB) or was just flat wrong about one position at a time....

Tundraboy's picture

I thought the same. Hope it pans out as we think and then some.

Nick Perry's picture

When Jones was first selected I thought the Packers should have drafted Jordan Willis. After reading up on Jones, reading all the posts of my fellow Packers fans I quickly learned Jones was the better pick and probably just as necessary. Jones can stop a lot of that stuff over the middle. He can stick with a RB or TE in coverage and stick a RB coming up the middle or trying to get to the edge.

The Packers are going to have a much faster defense this year. Not just with King and Jones but with players like Frackrell, Beigel, or even Adams too. The Packers improved their overall speed at every level of the defense this year, but still have players who can punch you in the mouth. Jones is going to have a lot to say about how much the Packers improve in the middle of the field.

dobber's picture

I still find myself wishing the Packers had found one of the higher-end pass rushers in this draft. If Biegel hadn't had foot problems in college and played more snaps as a Sr., maybe he'd be regarded in that category. Still, I'm pretty nervous about their depth on the edge.

But...I really like Jones. I can't wait to see him lay out Dalvin Cook.

Tundraboy's picture

Love it. Especially the punch you in the mouth part.

RCPackerFan's picture

Speaking of players that can punch you in the mouth. I really am looking forward to seeing what Brice does in year 2.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Jones and Brice bring big athleticism and hitting. Burnett is gone after this season.

I love the new hybrid position, but you must have freak athletes to play it--like Deion Buchanon or Deion Jones. Green Bay now has its freak, so the big job this year is coaching him up.

MarkinMadison's picture

They will be much faster. Letting an aging Peppers and an under-productive D. Jones go leaves more snaps for smaller, faster players like Fackrell and Elliott. Hopefully they can still hold up to the Cowboys' power attack. That said, if it is basketball-score type game passing game should win out over running game 9 games out of 10.

Handsback's picture

To me, Green Bay has two guys that they plan to use as that safety in the box, Jones and Brice. If the last few years have told us anything ..........the Packers need depth and now they have it for that position.

That position has existed for years in college and they called that guy the Joker, Rover, and even headhunter. I wonder what the pros will start calling it? Roverback?

dobber's picture

More importantly, Brice and Jones are S depth that can run.

Matt Gonzales's picture

Pretty high expectations for a rookie, but this is the role of think he can eventually grow into. I could see him spending more of this year in a role closer to ILB, and his growth there will determine how much they are willing to pay (or of they're willing to part with) MB

Lphill's picture

The bottom line is Capers has more versatile players and faster as well, if all goes well and there is some improvement in the pass rush and the secondary The defense will be much improved to defend the pass . I am not as concerned with the rush defense I think the Packers still finished in the top ten there.

dobber's picture

It's the back-and-forth that bothers me. Not-so-good against the run in 2015, good against the pass. Not-so-good against the pass in 2016, good against the run. Makes it hard at times to figure out just how to fix stuff...

worztik's picture

You've ALL made strong and valid points for JJ at this point in time! I love his measurable traits and it appears that he has the great attitude to go along with them. My only fear is what was expressed here as well, that being, too many expectations at the risk of overwhelming him! Remember, he's only 22 and just starting his career in the NFL. I hope that you are ALL right in what you've written so well... I wish him GOD speed and great health!!!

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I'm hoping Dom keeps the roles simple for King And Jones. Play King at outside CB--no slot--and play Jones in a hybrid Safety/ILB role--no jumping all over.

These are kids, and if they're thinking too much, they're moving too slow.

I think the same with Amichia--put him at RG, with a little Center mixed in. No Tackle or left side work. Let him master a few things before trying to make him master everything.

Spock's picture

High expectations by the fans for sure! If Josh Jones is half as good as described the first year he'll still be an incredible pick! Here's hoping.

Finwiz's picture

On paper this looks like a great pick - on paper - the measurable numbers, 40 time, height, weight, ect.
But then you ask yourself if he was such an impact player, why didn't he go before round 2? Why wasn't he a 1st round pick. I've heard he has a tendency to overrun plays, and throws his body into tackles - doesn't wrap up. We have PLENTY of DB's that throw their bodies around and don't have a clue how to wrap up on a tackle. Just watch Quinten Rollins - he's the poster child for how not to tackle. I doubt they can fix this. I see him more as a cover safety, extra DB, than I do someone that's going to play in the box and stuff the run.

dobber's picture

True...but virtually all the same criticisms were made of Nick Collins when he was evaluated and drafted, too. He's still gotta correct these things, but the bottom line is that he's likely already better (and will have the capacity to be in more plays) than the guy he replaces on the field. If it's Hyde -- and, yes, he was a heady player who got himself in good position to make plays -- Jones's speed will put him in position to try to make plays that Hyde could never get to.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Agreed, but that's what coaches are for. Draft athleticism and coach it up. If we drafted all-technique guys, we'd be slow, small, short...basically, what we've been before these last two drafts.

Time for the coaches to really earn those paychecks.

Ben Pearson's picture

To be honest, I wasn't too hot about JJ initially but I've found myself convinced by everything I've read about him since that he seems like a promising player. The points everyone has made about him being so versatile and such a gifted athlete is really exciting (I am trying to harbor expectations a little because he is a rookie after all).

My initial concerns weren't rooted so much in JJ play or his abilities but more with the "idea" of drafting yet another "versatile player" instead of a true positional player. Just look at our defense, Randall was a S in college he's awful. Rollins played basketball in college also really really struggling. Micah hyde was a safety in college he wasn't good.

On the flip side of the coin look at our stand out defensive players. Ha-Ha was a FS (only) in college and he's been incredible. Morgan Burnett was a SS in college and has excelled. I'm not necessarily married to this theory at all I'm just curious if anyone else has these same worries about constantly drafting "versatile players" instead of drafting true positional guys like Kevin King who is a clear cut CB and CB only. And don't get me wrong I know there are success stories of versatile players excelling (look at the entire Pats secondary) but it clearly hasn't worked so well for us.

This is why Josh Jones makes me nervous.


worztik's picture

Ben... you make some valid points, however, don't be nervous! Leave that to me, Since'61, Nick, Dobber and all the rest of us... you can just relax and watch the rest of us panic! ;-)

dobber's picture

That's what the worry chair is for....

Ben Pearson's picture

You got it fellas! I'll leave this one up to you. Again, not married to that theory at all and I am a lot more excited about JJ than I initially was and I hope my theory carries no weight with him.

Finwiz's picture

I've never been a fan of drafting players and converting them to different positions, so I get your point. The only guy I can think of that it worked with was Shields, but was that really a success considering he had a concussion every time he got hit head on? Should of left him at WR and sent him on deep posts.

Jersey Al's picture

With regards to King, he played safety for a year and has played both outside corner and in the slot. So your dreaded "versatile" tag can be applied to him as well. Another thing for you to worry about!

Jersey Al's picture

With regards to King, he played safety for a year and has played both outside corner and in the slot. So your dreaded "versatile" tag can be applied to him as well. Another thing for you to worry about!

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Great points, Ben, though I really don't see Jones as a versatile guy. I see him as ideally suited for a specific role--the Safety/ILB hybrid. It's like our defense is now a 3-3-1-4, with Jones being the "1".

Nothing wrong with that.

King played all over the secondary in college, but he projects to a pure outside corner in the pros--which I love.

Hyde was "versatile" because he lacked the athleticism to occupy a set role. Jones has no such weakness.

croatpackfan's picture

I apologize to all of you, but I have to write this:
It become disgust how many of you talks/writes about Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. I would kindly ask you to put yourself in the position they were last season. Both was injured at the beginning of the season. Prior injury both played correctly. But, almost everybody here forgot that Packers were playing last season mostly with 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th CB option, while 1st, 2nd and 3rd CB were sidelined. When Randall and/or Rollins were playing they were playing under injury, so they gave large cushion to the opposing WR to be able to react on sore groin or whatever they were injured. Few games the played almost healthy, both played at least OK (e. g. Randall against Seattle!). But claiming that both are bust is cruel and not fair.
Because of that I think you have to put yourself in position they were. Lets say you are reporter and you need to write your article in 3 minutes to be on time. But you have one arm broken and there is no chance to write article with only one hand in the given time. Your boss will say that you are no reporter because you can not obey deadlines. And he do not want to hear from you any excuse....
Be better persons, be better fans...

worztik's picture

Croat... I hear what you are saying and I can understand it! However, many times we expect these players to be as skilled at what they do more so than we do of other occupations, such as what we would expect from say our auto mechanic or dentist. If either had to do their job and worry about others doing their jobs at the same time in order to be successful, we sure wouldn't be so critical. That said, it is the nature of sports fans in our country to expect perfection at all times... no matter what! Just the way it is and always has been... not to say that it is right or acceptable... just sayin'!!!!

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Actually, I expect Randall to start ahead of House, opposite King.

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