When D.J. Fluker went down with a hamstring injury in the first quarter of the Seattle Seahawks Week 5 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, second year offensive lineman Jamarco Jones stepped in and filled the spot admirably. Jones was then given the start in each of the next two games, first against the Cleveland Browns in Week 6 and then the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7.
Jones’ performance in Week 6 earned him praise from the coaching staff and the highest pass blocking grade of any Seahawks offensive lineman for that game. However, as I looked at last week, part of the defensive gameplan of the Ravens in Week 7 appeared to be to isolate Jones in one-on-one matchups in order to take advantage of his limited athleticism.
In Week 8 Jones played just a single series, logging only nine snaps, but as soon as he set foot on the field, the Atlanta Falcons defense attacked him in a way that appeared to show they were well aware of his limitations. They didn’t play around and try to bull rush or use a bunch of power moves, as they simply used quick, athletic moves to swim right around him and his lead feet. On his nine snaps the Seahawks passed six times and ran three times, and on two of the six pass plays Falcons defenders simply used their better athleticism to go right around him.
The tape is out there on Jamarco Jones, and defenses know if they can get him into a 1-on-1 matchup they can simply go right around him.— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) October 28, 2019
He had six pass blocking snaps Sunday, and these were two of them. https://t.co/8IkDcigCzD pic.twitter.com/vcVCQqRF4S
In addition, he’s not just whiffing on these plays, he’s whiffing as he lunges at the defender. I’m not going to go all technical regarding offensive line play, but lunging is bad for offensive linemen, as our own Hawknado, who played offensive line in college, explains:
When you lunge, everything goes to hell. The second you lunge, all weight is going forward and down, your feet might as well be nailed to the ground, and the only chance you stand is connecting. Generally, you’re gonna lose and look stupid doing it.
Whether he’s lunging to compensate for his lack of footspeed, or whether he’s attempting to generate more power with his limited weight, we can’t know, but it represents a clear step back in terms of technique and fundamentals. Less than a month ago Jones was receiving praise for near flawless technique, but over just a quarter of the season his technique has regressed and he’s all of a sudden struggling against lesser defenders than he was easily handling a month ago.
In short, an Atlanta defense that is one of the worst in the NFL at generating pressure knew exactly where and how to attack the Seahawks offensive line as soon as Jones was inserted into the lineup. That’s two opponents in a row that have gone after Jones, and that would seem to be a trend that is unlikely to change going forward. With half of the Seahawks remaining games against teams that were among the best in the league at generating pressure over the first eight weeks of the season (San Francisco 49ers - 1, Los Angeles Rams - 6 and Carolina Panthers - 7), Jones’ continuing development will certainly bear watching, especially with the team’s starting guards not exactly known for their durability.