Film Review: Josh Jones

When asked about Josh Jones earlier this offseason, Mike McCarthy responded by saying, “He has a unique set of skills and he played a lot of different positions. I think that reflected in some of his performance. Really this year, (he will benefit from) the ability to focus on one or two positions.”

When I went back and watched the tape on Josh Jones I saw a player with tremendous upside but a player who also looked like he was too often thinking rather than reacting to the play at hand. This isn’t anything that is abnormal for a rookie defensive back and certainly wasn’t anything that was abnormal for anyone playing in Dom Capers’ overly complex and outdated scheme.

Enter Mike Pettine. Already this offseason the players have raved about how Pettine has simplified the calls on defense and has allowed the players to make quick, simple reads. If that does in fact come to fruition over the course of the season than there may be no player that benefits more on defense than Josh Jones. Jones is an explosive, hard-hitting safety who can shed blocks and make plays. When he is able to be aggressive and react to what’s in front of him he can be a big time playmaker.

Going back for a moment to what McCarthy said about Jones, he later made it sound like Jones would focus at safety and then work his way into some of the sub packages. While I fully believe we will see Josh Jones in the box as both a safety and hybrid linebacker at some point this upcoming season, it’s refreshing to see Jones get an opportunity to master his craft at one position before being asked to do too much as he was a season ago.

Jones will undoubtedly benefit from the scheme and culture change this year, but he also needs to improve on his own as well. He needs to make sure he understands the playbook and knows his responsibilities without fail. He also needs to get better in both man and zone coverage. Lastly, he needs to learn when to be aggressive and when to play it safe and make sure he’s not leaving an area of the field or player wide open.

With an improved scheme and some work from Jones the sky is the limit. While nowhere near the player in coverage, Josh Jones has some LeRoy Butler in his game. His ability to play all over the field, and come up as physical player at the line of scrimmage is really what made Butler so unique. Like Butler, Jones is able to play deep safety, box safety, set the edge, blitz, and cover. As mentioned, coverage is where Jones can really improve but he has the natural ability to stick with running backs, tight ends, and even some less agile wide receivers.

Here’s what Jones put on tape in 2017:

Traditional Safety

In Coverage

Off the Edge

In the Box

So how can Green Bay best utilize Jones during the upcoming season? The best thing to let Jones do is play a true safety position. This doesn’t mean he can’t come up and blitz, or play in the box as a pseudo linebacker. What it does is allow him to use his athleticism and playmaking ability in a variety of ways and it allows Mike Pettine to disguise where Jones is going to be. Play him in centerfield, in cover 2, in the box, or on the blitz, and make the quarterback and offense guess where he’s going to be. In that scenario Jones can go out and be the playmaker that he’s capable of being and Green Bay’s defense has a potential weapon at their disposal.

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Andy is a graduate of UW-Oshkosh and owns & operates the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Andy has taken multiple courses in NFL scouting and appears weekly on 107.5 The Fan in Green Bay to breakdown film. This past season he was an analyst on Green Bay Nation on WFRV TV in Green Bay. Andy grew up in Green Bay and is a lifelong season ticket holder; follow him on Twitter at @sconniesports.

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Comments (11)

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Snake Plissken's picture

July 05, 2018 at 09:50 pm

I was at that Cincy game (hottest game in the history of Lambeau) and Jones was a monster,..... why Capers didn't help put the kid in the same situation the next bunch of weeks is why he's fired.
I don't care about scheme.
That defense has far better talent on it than was reflected in their performance and that is coaching.
Jones is going to be one of 3 safeties on the field and I like him in the box most. He is not afraid to clean up backs and bubble screens and he can blitz

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PatrickGB's picture

July 05, 2018 at 09:58 pm

The comparison to Butler seems apt. But Butler had better coverage ability, yet time will tell if he can improve. Staying at Safety is probably best. Maybe throw in a few pass rushes like Leroy used to do.

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Hawg Hanner's picture

July 05, 2018 at 10:01 pm

I think we were fine letting Morgan Burnett sign elsewhere. Josh Jones is a better athlete than MB and looks to have a nice career. I cringe every time the complex scheme of Dom Capers is mentioned. Too bad the plug wasn't pulled there some years ago.

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4thand10's picture

July 05, 2018 at 10:10 pm

I think he is a good player with potential to be better. And definitely a good fit at the safety position. I’m also a lot more confident that Pettine puts players in appropriate responsibilities according to their skills. Capers would have messed with his head further by making him a “LinebackersafteycornerubergenericdefensivebackplacekickerjockstrapholderHybrid”.
I don’t think we will be seeing any of that nonsense in Pettine’s scheme. Real defense rather than that carnival casino show we were accustomed to seeing the last few yrs.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

July 06, 2018 at 04:39 am

Agreed that Josh Jones needs to improve his pass coverage skills. I think that will come with experience and good coaching. He is an explosive player and has the skills, just needs to learn how to use them and then apply what he has learned on the field. Veterans like Tramon Williams can be a positive influence on his development as well. The tools are there. He must take advantage of them to succeed.

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Nick Perry's picture

July 06, 2018 at 05:51 am

The thing that jumped out to me was Jones is an excellent tackler. How many times do we see players, especially younger ones go for the kill shot only to bounce off. Jones actually wraps up and tackles his opponent.....Refreshing!

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Bearmeat's picture

July 06, 2018 at 07:51 am

Exactly NP. Jones can be a stud if he eliminates the brain farts and just becomes a bit better in man coverage. He's really fast, and his agility was above average in the combine IIRC, so it's not like he doesn't have the ability.

PS: You posted at 5:51 EST.... isn't that 2:21AM PST where you live? Good Lord dude... ;)

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Nick Perry's picture

July 08, 2018 at 08:31 am

BM...Yes it is ...Im going to look for a more recent post of yours to explain....It's been a problem for months now...Me UP at 2:30 AM!

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Handsback's picture

July 06, 2018 at 08:01 am

In that year's draft I saw where some publications had Jones going in the first round. I didn't know much about him, but reading his bio you could understand the climb into the first round. When the Packers were able to get him...I was pretty excited esp. after the Cincy game. I don't think Capers defense is what caused him his inconsistencies, but rather Jones being a rookie and playing two different positions. I would think it would be hard for any rookie to do well in that circumstance. So using a high draft choice on a ILB in this year's draft, probably means that the SS position is his home.
Jones is going to be a very good player...I think he can become a great player with the right coordinator and I also think Green Bay has chosen one that can make him great.

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porupack's picture

July 06, 2018 at 08:11 am

Thanks for the film review and compelling case for JJones to make a big leap next year. He has the athleticism and instincts, should make big role this year with good coaching. In addition to new DC Pettine (big cause for optimism), there is high quality peer competition among very athletic corps of DBs. I can only think that will push JJones to keep ahead of his peers.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 06, 2018 at 09:29 am

Wonderful article. I agree that Josh Jones looks good at the traditional SS position. I got a bit confused when the term phrase playing deep was used and when he was compared to a FS like Butler (I think Jones can ultimately play FS, but the point is to limit him to just a few roles as a 2nd-year player).

I think that ultimately Jones will be equally adept at playing FS, SS, and hybrid ILB.

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