In Part III the focus was on early 2010 and to an extent, the "extremes" of Jones' game. We saw some bad, but also saw his big-time playmaking potential as more than just a pass rusher. A goal with the entire series in general; new areas of Jones' skill set will continue to be uncovered and any overlap from what we've seen will hopefully further clarify certain elements of his game.
These final two games of 2010 show some alignments and types of plays that are unique to what we've seen thus far. Jones' athleticism, instincts and open field abilities will come back into focus, similar to Part II. We'll see some changes the staff implemented over time and get a glimpse of things that will become common in 2011. The second game in particular I believe is one of the most vital games we've seen thus far. It will help move the conversation into 2011.
A few quotes from Pete Carroll and Jones to get us started!! First, Pete:
"We're hoping that we can really feature him in all of our nickel package stuff and also fit him in to other situations that will suit him...But we'd like to see him as an inside rusher for those packages and then we'll play him some outside and times in some different spots that try to utilize his quickness...He's got big-play ability to him, he attacks the football really well, he forces fumbles, he knocks passes down and he's got an activity to him that we think can really help us and enhance a pass-rush that needs to continue to grow."
To an extent, this sums up a lot of what we'e seen thus far. Jones was a major factor for the Titans on third down happenings. He's been a monster attacking the A-gaps and the Titans' scheme utilizes his length and agility as an advantage. In every part we've seen Jones knocking down passes. Jones has shown the activity Carroll mentioned. In Part III we saw Jones force fumbles. We've seen his quickness around the line but also, for a man his size, good movement in space and even a little coverage.
Building on Carroll's comments, Jones noted he came to Seattle because of the organization,"amazing" facilities and passionate coaching staff - the excitement about what they are building on defense was attractive and this is a group of "good football coaches." Jones believes Seattle is a "perfect" fit for him to excel as a football player. He's excited to play with this group of lineman and I believe excited to be coached by Gus Bradley and Todd Wash, two men that have influenced each other as both player and coach over the past 25 years.
Jones on his game: He played inside in college and people didn't know where he fit; "I think I'm more comfortable as an inside pass-rusher but I know Seattle is going to ask me to play defensive end, play the '6' technique in certain situations. It really doesn't matter to me. I think as long as I'm out there on the field I think I can make plays wherever I'm at." Gus Bradley's passion stuck out to Jones, "...with him explaining defense to me, it kind of got me excited about how he wants to use me and how motivated he is to have the defense be top 10, five again this year..."
A self given scouting report: "...a guy that plays hard, plays 100% effort, definitely going to make plays, definitely going to feed into the crowd; the louder the crowd, the better I play." I'm imagining Jones and Branch on the field together, getting the 12th man going as the opposing offense is in the huddle...my head hurts.
Week 14 2010 vs. Indianapolis
Why the Colts? Peyton Manning. Also, we've seen Jones against mostly mobile quarterbacks (Tom Brady in the snow was an odd occurance) and thus I wanted to see Jones versus one of the very best at standing and delivering. Plus, center Jeff Saturday is one of the most solid at his position. One non-Colts related factor; we are late in the season and I'm curious to see how Jones is holding up in his first year as starter.
Well, he starts this game on a mission.
We're about to see Jones attack the A-gap again, but this time it's to highlight how the scheme helped out, as we've seen a lot of this already; Manning's stand, slide and deliver comes into play here so it's worth showing. Jones is set up on the right tackle and notice the two defenders in the box on the other side. they will stunt (end comes around and inside) while Jones crosses the guard and does his usual; maintain space and set up for the inside move.
Notice how the stunt completely turned the center away from Jones, busy swimming inside the guard and towards Manning.
Oh, he slips!
You see how good Manning is; he scans, decides and is fine as Jones is completely in his face. The slip was just enough to make the difference here...
Check out the effort here.
6'5" with 37 inch arms. Now, if Peyton had pumped and Jones went up like this, a window could be created. Not going to show an example, but it happens in the next game (and as mentioned in Part I). But, he kind of forces this incompletion. Drive ends here.
Here we see Jones lined up in the B-gap and he's going to shoot. This one is all about staying skinny, then reading and reacting.
Play action. That's quite a position. Look how small he is. Jones plants, stabilizes and transfers his weight forward to make a play.
Impressive body control and yup, he gets a paw on the ball.
The insanely hot start continues. Here we see him in the A-gap and slanted in; Saturday lunges and Jones works over the top of him, crossing Saturday into the other A-gap and then negotiates the pulling right guard. This is really good stuff here:
Saturday re-engages. Jones gets one arm on the ball carrier...
Tackle. Impressive hand work, balance, effort and finishing. A note; everything highlighted in this part thus far occurred on 1st and 3rd down.
As noted, Jones does cool down in terms of making the actual play. But, the effort never stops. These next few (starting in the 2nd quarter) show that 100% mentality Jones spoke of earlier.
Oh, perfect; a 2nd down example! Jones in the A-gap with both hands on the ground. Something I've noticed about when both hands go down; he comes off the ball with better power, but can get out of control. I like this example because it shows the power and a great second effort.
He gets double teamed and turned around, but notice the crease off of the right shoulder of the left guard.
Not the tackle man, but he's there to make sure it stops. Taking on the double team and then shooting a late gap, near the goal line; I think this could qualify as "motorocious." Again, he'll get double teamed and lose off the ball, but he's shown capable of recovering and making a difference on some plays.
We move onto the second half where Jones' impact plays don't quite have the same impact. And also, we see the Colts slow down Jones' penetration. I deleted screen shots of a boring play where he gets double teamed by the guard and tackle, then he can't break through to make the play as the back hits the hole or recover on the other end. Just acknowledging.
This is probably my favorite play of his from the half. He is yards away from Manning, yet makes a big impact:
Sometimes quarterbacks simply can't negotiate his presence. This ball is way off. There's that activity Carroll talked about.
These two plays late in the game stood out:
Here Jones loses balance and gets mauled by Jeff Saturday. You see how much Jones is leaning and losing leverage:
You win some, you lose some.
Here Jones (he looks to have two hands down) blows right by Saturday...
But Saturday recovers to keep Jones from making the play. Great penetration, though.
A quick hypothesis; we've seen Jones come out like a banshee and then disappear from games, or the other way around where he starts slow and wreaks havoc later. Because his motor is always running, I do wonder if he tires for stretches. In no way is that a knock; considering he'll rotate on our line, it may not be of notice. Or maybe it's not really an issue. First year as starter comes into play here, perhaps. It's not like the good plays are suffering in general, though.
Week 16 2010 at Kansas City
Why this game? The Chiefs feature a strong running attack and an offense that was historically careful with the football in 2010, have a tough stadium to play in and it's another game that shows when the going gets tough. And as mentioned earlier, we see some totally new things in this game and I did not know that heading in.
Early, to me, he looked a bit off kilter. The motor was totally there, but impact plays just weren't coming. Regardless, I think this is one of the more intriguing games thus far. His role changes along the line and we see him reading, reacting and pursuing downfield often.
On this first play notice how Jones gets cut by the tackle (Barry Richardson) which is something the Steelers did to Jones a bit. He's able to roll over it:
But Jamaal Charles is simply too fast and Jones can't make the play, but you see him pursuing.
The next play shows something similar, but in a very different way. Body control and change of direction, especially for a man as long limed as him, continues to flash, also factoring in not too much that it's cold and the field isn't great.
Jones doesn't touch the quarterback on this play, but we learn a lot. Jones tries to stunt right from left defensive tackle, but the protection slides that way. Because of the play action Jones will work back across to the left on the second effort:
Now you see Matt Cassel is about to take off into the open lane.
From what I could find, Cassel ran a 4.9 40 compared to Jones' mid 4.7 time, but Cassel's 4.08 short shuttle shows some quickness. Cassel had a head start here and looked at full speed when Jones got going. If anything, take away from this that Jones got to speed quickly from a stop and spin, and was not losing ground on Cassel. Yeah, he slips every so often...I give him a little leeway with that build.
This play builds his portfolio versus the screen. This is a bit of a flashback to the Buffalo game in 2009 when we saw Jones tracking screens downfield. Watch Jones read the play action, react and pursue the tight end screen on 2nd and long:
His ability to make this type of downfield tackle will fit nicely on Seattle's line.
This one builds on the cut block from above. Check out Jones' ability to absorb and avoid the trash with his feet:
The point of the past few plays; to show that his athleticism and motor are two assets that he always brings to the field. We know how important that is to this defense, and we know this coaching staff is willing to fit those traits in with their scheme. (I can't imagine how excited Gus Bradley is to have a player that's kind of a rough mix between Alan Branch and K.J. Wright. That was a stream of consciousness thought and maybe it worked.) The going has been tough, but he's constantly bringing it.
So remember how way back in the beginning I alluded to the fact that this game would show some scheme changes; that will be the focus from now on.
Check out where Jones is lined up:
Way outside on the right!!! But, the two minute warning prevents this play from happening. Dont' worry, chaos still ensues.
Jones lines up wide of the tight end left and kicks inside to the C-gap (Jones could be at 5 or 7 tech, check this chart for clarification on alignments).
Big tight end Tony Moeaki gets the initial punch and Barry Richardson comes over to put Jones on the ground. Interesting start to the outside experiment here.
Moeaki is in the slot and Jones is wide of the tackle. 1 on 1 pass rush from the left end time. Ohh, this is something new!
Riding him outside and behind Cassel. Valiant effort, but decent enough blocking too. It's worth noting we've seen Jones rip previously when stunting outside from aligned inside the wide end, but not as a wide end himself. No longer is it a game of movement and scheme, but a 1 on 1 matchup.
Out of halftime we continue to see this change of Jones playing much more on the outside, which provides a little glimpse into what we'll see in 2011. But also, given that we know the Seattle sees Jones lined up over the tight end as one of his many potential roles, these next couple plays will give us a feel for that.
Woah, Jones at "wide 9." However, Moeaki will give him enough battle...
That Jones is not able to bring down Thomas Jones coming through the hole. Here, the long arms weren't enough to get it done.
These next two plays show something unique to pretty much anything we seem to this point with Jones. Here you see Jones lined up in what looks like a "6-tech" on Moeaki (invoking the disclaimer from part I, only coaches film will tell the "truth" here) who is in an H-back position and about to motion:
Jones sees that Moeaki is coming back towards him, but is also watching the quarterback.
Play action fake, Moeaki is sneaking out and Jones is caught out of position. Look at his feet.
Jones kind of gets caught in no-mans land here, as he moves a tiny bit upfield towards Cassel but doesn't impact him, letting Moeaki sneak out free for the pass. But, he drops it. Luckyyyyy play here.
Kansas City thinks they've found something, but I love this adjustment by Jones. Jones is a bit wider this time, Moeaki motion. Notice the fullback:
This time Jones is all over it, noticing the fullback coming his way. See how Jones is in a much more 'ready' position.
'Not gonna work this time, buddy.' He hits and disrupts the timing of the play. Now we see more footwork, body control and pursuit in action.
That's a big fella that flashes 'suddenness.'
Half a sack all around!
Anyway, for our final screen shots from 2010 we see Jones working an inside move coming from the outside, as opposed to lining up inside and working inside. We see Jones at wide 9 and presumably about to rush the passer. Notice Moeaki standing up, and perhaps about to chip Jones.
There is a very little chip, if any. Maybe Jones avoided it, maybe Moeaki was supposed to have Jones thinking 'chip' when there wouldn't be one. These screenshots are close enough together to look at his footwork as he sets up the swim. We see the hesitation, and then the move:
Richardson stays low again, able to keep himself from fully falling back on his heels, and Jones can't fully clear after the swim...
Richardson is able to keep Jones off Cassel. No tip, but also no first down. Jones is not a speed player, but we see his combination of power and speed had enough of an impact to help get the defense off the field. However, Jones was against a young, massive player who hasn't wowed in his career (based on the reading I've done). The question is how does Jones mathcup against higher rated tackles that have a reputation as nasty or a "finisher?" As we've seen with the two left-end rush examples in this part, Jones has ability but he doesn't appear nearly as comfortable coming from the outside. But, he already told us that.
Click here to see him force a fumble against Thomas Jones in the 4th quarter. It's an example that also shows the type of "spirit" Jones plays with; a combination of Anthony Hargrove and Aaron Curry, but sometimes a bit less dramatic. What I like, though, is that Jones celebrates like he does here when his teammates make plays, too. It's not just about him. Pete Carroll has talked about Hargrove's positive spirit previously, and Jones' enthusiasm is something consistent in his game. And from the ejection example in part I, it looks like maybe it carries over into the locker room too.
I'm fully aware it's totally possible, after four straight days and approximately 9000 words about Jones, we've hit overwhelming on the scale. So, I'm going to stop here and we'll jump off the Jones train for a couple of days. Check back later in the weekend or early next week for the continuation and conclusion, which starts by moving into 2011. There I'll do a quick summation of what we've seen to this point. In the mean time, here are Parts I, II and III in case you missed it or want to go back.