In Part I of my scouting report on Seahawks defensive lineman Jason Jones, the "what is his skill set?' door was cracked open with screen shots from two games in 2009. Admittedly, I feel it was only a glimpse of Jones' game because as noted previously, the sample size for this scouting series is four games each from '09, '10, '11, respectively. The focus here in Part II (and going forward) is to blow the door open and introduce many elements of his skill set; by showing the ups and downs of his play, but also beginning to hypothesize what he can offer the Seahawks.
In this part his versatility and athleticism will be a main talking point. This uniquely put-together athlete reflects the front office's propensity of valuing unique and scheme diverse players, often possessing good length and are usually tough - think K.J. Wright, the secondary, and Red Bryant as players that have one or perhaps all of these qualities. I think at least part of that sentiment will shine through with this signing.
For example, when Wright was drafted the front office wasn't sure if he was an inside backer or outside player - we've seen he's potentially both - and approached his positioning with an open mind. Linebacker coach Ken Norton Jr. was intrigued by Wright as a middle man from the start, while Pete Carroll recently said he'd prefer Wright to remain outside. I think that Jones' addition could bring a similar mindset. As you will see in the next few parts, Jones' tape provides many possibilities and even a few surprises.
Week 8 2009 vs. Jacksonville
Why this game? I wanted to see how he played coming out of a bye, versus a division rival with a big quarterback and strong running game, at home. I noted at the end of Part I that Jones wreaks havoc in this game. This game will be all about pass rush and it's going to be fun.
Well, we get off to a slow start as he tries to cheat just a tiny bit too much pre-snap.
After the penalty and a timeout, we get to below. Jones is the inside man of a three man front.
Jones does nothing on this play, other than battle a double/triple team until the ball is thrown. It's worth noting Tennessee had the ball for nearly the entire 1st quarter, so this is not the Jaguars adjusting to the game. Jones was given attention from the start.
Next drive he makes a "something out of nothing" play. He is fighting a double team and doesn't leave his feet...
Paws up, ball down.
We move into the second half of this game and Jones continues to struggle a bit in the 3rd quarter, not flashing like we saw in Part I. But what about the havoc? The storm begins on 2nd and 10, late in the 3rd.
Jones appears to be on the inside shoulder of the guard. For the play; notice how he crosses the center, fights the double team and then gets the center off balance when the guard slides away, pushes through and fights hard with his hands as the center grabs on, and then simply out-motors everyone else as he chases down Garrard.
Somehow Garrard manages to get this ball off and we see the big quarterback winning the battle here, as it's ruled incomplete. Nonetheless, Jones likes to run quarterbacks down and I love it.
This next sequence of plays is the first positive example that shows Jones' ability to stunt, both to the inside and outside.
These are back to back play calls.
He loops around the trash, inside the offensive tackle - facing the other way - and flushes Garrard.
Now the next play; Jones is perhaps lined up on the left shoulder of the tackle, if not the B-gap, and will keep separation so he can loop around the wide end.
But Jones is already truckin' - chipping Jones when he rushes on the edge can work, however. The tackle makes a last ditch effort to keep Jones out of Garrard's face, but check out where this ball goes...
Forced into an area with three defenders, and the interception is dropped.
The takeaway from these two plays; Jones is a piece that can be used in conjunction with other members of Seattle's line - for example, with the size of any of our massive big three lineman or perhaps someone with more speed like Chris Clemons or a linebacker/safety - to create versatility with the interior and exterior pressure package. For now, we see his ability to do this as a defensive tackle.
This final example is some icing on the cake before the focus shifts away from the pass rush. Jones will go 1 on 1 with the guard:
Off the snap he hesitates. Notice the space he keeps between himself and the lineman, and also the left hand is free so he can execute a move. Is Jones going B-gap or A-gap?
Inside move against the guard, charges hard and crushes Garrard. The pass falls to the ground. Love seeing pressure around the opposing team's goal line.
You may have noticed the last four examples occurred in the last 16-plus minutes of gametime. Even though Jones has a motor, his inconsistency comes from the fact that he can be a non-factor for stretches in games. But as you saw here, when he is on, he can be an absolute nightmare and make plays in bunches when rushing the passer.
Week 10 2009 at Buffalo
Why this game? It's the last game of Jones' season, the Bills still have Marshawn Lynch and it's a contrast in terms of the "level of competition" compared to Pittsburgh or New England (in Part I).
We've seen Jones' versatility getting upfield towards the passer. This game will focus (for the most part) on his ability to track the play; whether it be a run, dump off or in coverage.
Early the Bills come out in something different than what we have seen. Fred Jackson is behind the center in shotgun and Lynch is the back. Jackson fakes the handoff and Jones gets trapped going with the fake:
He shows some good hustle in the end. On the next play the Bills use the same formation and Jackson fakes the run inside tackle towards Jones, but stops to take a few steps back and throw the deep touchdown pass. Jones gets double teamed and can't make an impact.
This next one is some of the best hustling we've seen from him. Watch off the snap how Jones keeps himself separated from the offensive lineman.
Jones has a beat on the quarterback and heads towards the receiver.
Great read and react, downfield hustle play by Jones. Strong tackle, too.
But, check out this play later in the half. Jones is getting physical and the pass is about to be dumped to Jackson. Jones will pursue:
Jones goes for the tackle with the shoulder and not the wrap, and his teammate misses on the wrap attempt. Jackson bounces off. Jackson is also a beast. Lynch made a beastmode run or two in this one as well. A little different flavor than the play before, as Jones is the clear loser of the battle.
Finally we get to see a little bit of the dropping in coverage that Greg Cosell mentioned in the quote presented in Part I. I apologize for the first image but the transition on the broadcast is rough and this was the only way I could show his pre-snap position, which might be on the offensive tackle. Things are blending in and maybe beginning to move:
Here, watch how Jones is tall but able to stay fluid for a man his size when dropping into coverage. He appears to have a good feel for the receiver going over the middle, and his reaction to the deep ball is favorable:
He gets a star for being the only player far away from the play that appears to know the ball has gone downfield. Honestly, this is a play I really like because we've seen Seattle drop most or all of their linemen into coverage at one point or another - Red Bryant intercepted one doing just that and Chris Clemons had one in the preseason. I like that a player they expect to be a pass rusher can also flash playing the other way when given the chance.
On the flip side, it's worth noting Jones was not on the field for stretches and not too involved for a lot of this second half.
Here's one final play from 2009, one that is very similar to the outside stunt in the Jacksonville game above. This is an athletic play. The game situation allows for Tennessee to be aggressive with their front four, with the double stunts. A nice way to end the year.
He keeps himself free...
He knocked the lineman to the ground as he exploded into the air. It's hard to sit here and not get excited about the different combinations of players Gus Bradley will try when using Jones.
That brings us to the end of the four games from 2009 and a third of the way through the tape. Thus far we've seen a little bit of everything; his versatility rushing the passer and the athleticism going both ways, but he's also prone to playing too high and can get tied up against double teams, even 1-on-1, during running plays (an area of his game that will receive more attention in upcoming posts). He consistently shows good effort snap to whistle and he's pretty relentless rushing the passer. However, he's shown a tendency to make plays in bunches and then go quiet. And though he is versatile, he spends the vast majority of his time on the left side of the defensive line. He hasn't shown to be a complete "up and down the line" player to this point.
In an effort to keep you from feeling like you're sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner for each of these posts, they will be presented in chunks of two or three games per post. To quickly sum up this one; the goal heading in was to begin showing the versatility and "uniqueness" to his game. The first game highlighted his ability to move along the line of scrimmage and rush the passer in a variety of ways; game two showed his athleticism, both sides of his instincts, and highlighted downfield pursuit. The first chunk of Jones in 2010, when he is a member of the starting lineup, will be posted very soon.