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MrBobGray

MrBobGray's Terrible Film Review - Josh Jones

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I initially posted this in the Josh Jones thread, but that's really about his desire to be traded and it felt weird throwing this in the end there.  Not really a great place to discuss Jones, so I'm making this, but mods feel free to lock it up if you want it to just stay in there and I'll move it back.

So I watched 3 games of Jones (Jets, Seahawks, Bears, with a bit thrown in of a few other games to look at certain plays and stuff).  I thought about watching more, but he's the same player in each of these and my time is not as worthless as it once was.  At some point I'll throw some gifs in here too, but I just haven't had the time to get them uploaded.

TL;DR - Jones is not at all the player I was expecting to see.  I went in expecting a bigger Kentrell Brice, and what I got was...not that.  There's probably a really easy comp for Jones but my brain is tired and I'm not coming up with one.  Long story short, he's a lot less angry missile and a lot more lost athlete.  He's long, he can move, and when you tell him exactly what to do he's not bad at it (except for blitzing, but we'll get to that); but his post-snap processing is a very real, very significant flaw.  He just does not see it, he does not feel it, and he often looks like he's the last one to understand what's happening on a given play.  He's a player you can absolutely get use out of, but it's pretty clear why the Packers felt the need to invest heavily in both safety spots.  

PROS - There's more of these than you'd think.  Jones is a long, big bodied safety who can move.  He's more fluid than I expected, and for 6'1", 220 his hips are pretty good.  Certainly enough that physically, there's no real limitations here.  It all plays for Jones on the field. 

He's a better man coverage guy than I expected - even downfield he shows some good patience, doesn't usually bite on the double move and does a nice job sticking in the hip pocket of his man when he's trailing.  His eye discipline seemed fine, I didn't see him get caught peeking in the backfield on anything, but honestly no one really ran anything tricky at him so it's hard to say.  The Packers didn't ask him to do it a ton, but I'd certainly have no issue with him on the vast majority of TEs/RBs in the league.  Receivers would be a bit stickier, but you can ask him to do that occasionally and be relatively sure it won't go too wrong.  The Packers had him man up on Lockett a few times against the Seahawks and Jones blanketed him.  There wasn't anything particularly tricky about the routes, there were a few 9 routes from the slot and some crossers, but that's really all you're asking from your box safety/dime LB.  

He's also got some pros in zone coverage.  His awareness is a real problem here, but he's still a big boy who can run and he did some nice work defending the outside seam in cover-2 just by getting there fast and being hard to fit a ball past.  His discipline was pretty good, he doesn't usually bite hard on underneath stuff and he maintains good depth generally.  I still didn't find any real deep shots against him (he just doesn't drop deep that often) so it's hard to say how he'd do if asked to play deep more frequently, but at least at first blush he seems to have at least some form of ball skills and ability to track it.  He can at least find it a little bit when he's going for the pass deflection.  

Run support is even more up and down.  Most of this will be in cons, but at least he shows the willingness to stick his nose in in the run game.  He's also pretty disciplined, which shows up in the run and pass game; he stays in his gap and doesn't get caught chasing the back when the run isn't coming right at him, and he plays the cutback pretty well.  He stays in his zone in the passing game too, and prevented a few gadget plays where they tried to lure him out and he did his job.  All this is nice, buuuuuuut

CONS - here's where it all goes wrong.  Jones has two big flaws right now and either is enough to keep him on the bench as a starter.  

  1. Jones has almost no post-snap processing at all.  He looks absolutely lost on the regular if he's not being told exactly what to do.  His zone drops at times look like he's fighting to not ask the sideline where he's supposed to be.  His reaction time can probably be measured with a sun dial, and often he'll give up a play despite playing it correctly because he's just so slow to actually make his decisions.  He makes up for some of it with raw athleticism, but that's not nearly enough at this level and he gets burned because of it.  You have to have at least some ability to see it in a timely fashion, and he just doesn't.  He's the kind of guy who won't give up the big TD downfield, but will give up four straight first downs because he gave the guy eight yards of space and still didn't get moving downhill until the receiver had already caught the ball.  It's a slow(er) death than the one a safety like Brice will give ya, but it'll come all the same.  
  2. Jones plays soft.  There's no other way to say it.  This is the polar opposite of his rep coming out, but it shows up play after play after play so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.  He gets blocked out of the play by receivers and HBs, his tackles are often drag down affairs, he jogs to the ball if he thinks someone else will make the play even if he's only a few yards away, his blitzes are borderline comedy, he pulls up to avoid contact regularly and even his big hits seem to mostly fire his target up.  Some of this can probably be attributed to #1 as it's hard to play physical when you're overthinking everything, but my suspicion is this is at least as much pouting as anything else.  Jones simply doesn't look like he wants to play NFL football a lot of the time.  He gave up numerous plays simply due to a lack of effort to the ball; the plays often were not his mistake initially, but part of the role of a safety is making up for mistakes and Jones just does not do that even when he could.  And really I cannot harp on his blitzes enough; some of it may be skill related (he has absolutely no pass rush moves at all) but god the number of times a RB he outweighs by 20 pounds just absolutely stones him is way too high.  He pulls up before the hit just about every time.

FINAL THOUGHTS - Honestly, a lot of it depends on how he approaches his game.  Jones can play, that much is obvious.  He looks like the prototype of the new NFL safety, big and strong enough to hold up against the run and bang with TEs, quick and athletic enough to drop back in coverage and blanket lesser receivers.  But right now his mental game is miles away in a multitude of ways, and certainly his request for a trade and skipping OTAs doesn't make you feel good that he's putting in the kind of work he needs.  If Jones wants to save his career he needs a real come to Jesus moment and he needs it like yesterday.  Step 1 needs to be burying his ego, accepting he's not close to being any kind of team leader, and get to work knowing the defense inside and out.  The awareness he needs will really only come with snaps (if it will ever come at all), and the only way he's going to get regular snaps is embracing his multi-positional role in the defense and fixing his utter lack of physicality.  Until then, he'll get some rotational snaps because he does have a lot to offer, but the role he's looking for is a lot of hard work away.

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Spot on. I haven't really noticed his blitzing effort, but the answer to that question seems to be found in your analysis.

 

It sounds like he needs a good mentor and HaHa was certainly not that guy...

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Thanks for all that. The fact that Jones was a second round draft pick is a big factor here. Jones himself mentioned it when voicing his displeasure about playing time, and it is just as important from the team's (or fan's) perspective. You expect more than this out of a second round pick. Safety is often a position that takes a few years for a player to figure out (I remember slow starts for Darren Sharper and Nick Collins, both second round picks who turned out to be very good), but Jones doesn't appear to be nearly as far along as they were at this point. I would like to see him kept around as an S/LB hybrid, but if he doesn't want to do it, I guess he just needs a fresh start somewhere else. As much as I hate to see it, sometimes it is possible for a player to pout his way out of a contract. 

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I haven't keyed on him  a lot this past season, but you'd think one of his best traits would be blitzing. Interesting that that's one of his flaws. I hope if he stays he can learn how to read plays quicker and play without thinking too hard.

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22 hours ago, AlexGreen#20 said:

I think fans are just a little bit obsessed with calling players "soft". 

I have no idea what this adds to a thread. For someone with as much football knowledge as you have its really unfortunate you're so intent on playing the snarky, detached, elitist role. 

And I think Jones played soft, I didn't say he was soft. I stand by that.

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7 hours ago, MrBobGray said:

I have no idea what this adds to a thread. For someone with as much football knowledge as you have its really unfortunate you're so intent on playing the snarky, detached, elitist role. 

And I think Jones played soft, I didn't say he was soft. I stand by that.

There's no functional difference between saying someone plays/ed soft and saying someone is soft, especially a player as young as Jones.

Every time one of our DBs misses a tackle, they get accused of being soft by our board. Every time a player doesn't jump on top of a pile or add in on an already made gang tackle, they get that label. It's ridiculous. 

What are your time stamps on the Jones is soft comments?

 

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5 hours ago, AlexGreen#20 said:

There's no functional difference between saying someone plays/ed soft and saying someone is soft, especially a player as young as Jones.

Every time one of our DBs misses a tackle, they get accused of being soft by our board. Every time a player doesn't jump on top of a pile or add in on an already made gang tackle, they get that label. It's ridiculous. 

What are your time stamps on the Jones is soft comments?

 

not really related to this thread or debating OP's analysis, but I was just thinking the other day of the thin line players need to thread.

some are accused of avoiding contact, but I remember all the people here a few years ago that would criticize AJ Hawk for "pile-jumping" and otherwise getting involved in tackles that were already being made. 

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I don't see Jones as soft at all.  To me, his problems begin and end with lack of instincts.  I expect he'd be plenty physical if he had any confidence in where he was going.

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8 hours ago, AlexGreen#20 said:

There's no functional difference between saying someone plays/ed soft and saying someone is soft, especially a player as young as Jones.

Every time one of our DBs misses a tackle, they get accused of being soft by our board. Every time a player doesn't jump on top of a pile or add in on an already made gang tackle, they get that label. It's ridiculous. 

What are your time stamps on the Jones is soft comments?

 

You make a very good point about the word soft, the perception of it and how it's used. I agree it gets used too much, and until I read your examples I had honestly kinda forgot how ubiquitous and over used it is. So, given that kind of usage I will retract the label soft, because you're correct; Jones is not "soft". And neither are 99.9% of football players frankly. People who haven't played it aren't aware that anyone truly "soft" sure isn't staying in the sport long enough to make the NFL. 

I will say that Jones plays tentative and rarely commits to a course of action, even on something as simple as trying to overpower a RB on a blitz. I say he played this way not is this way because he was not that guy in college and he's had flashes in the past of not being that guy. I don't think he's weak or scared or anything ridiculous, but there's a huge difference on film and on the field between a guy playing with reckless abandon (as he used to) and a guy who looks like he's thinking about the contact (as he often does now) whatever the reason is. In this case, I postulated two reasons but the fact is I have no idea because I'm not Jones and I have no personal contact with him. My personal suspicion as mentioned is that it's a combination of slower processing (which has always been an issue), lack of experience and knowledge of his role, not being adjusted to NFL game speed and some angry pouting toward the staff. That last bit is just supposition based on his comments and responses (or lack thereof) from teammates and coaches, and I probably don't need to be throwing him under the bus due to my second rate psychoanalysis. Especially because the thing is I don't care why he plays the way he does, just that he does. 

As for timestamps, I'd actually love to do that. I'm on vacation, but I will when I get back. I know what I saw, and I'm confident in my analysis and happy to back it up, but if I'm wrong then even better! Means I get to do more learning which is really my favorite anyway. They won't be of tackles because that's not his biggest concern, I actually don't take issue with him as a tackler too much (other than not firing through contact and riding the back down). Nostly it's how he takes on blockers, with a smattering of not engaging with plays he needs to be part of. 

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I think we can all agree here that Jones was another one of Dom's Duds. Frankly, I'm starting to think that we should've tried to trade him last season regardless of our depth, or lackthereof, at Safety. 

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30 minutes ago, Joe said:

I think we can all agree here that Jones was another one of Dom's Duds. Frankly, I'm starting to think that we should've tried to trade him last season regardless of our depth, or lackthereof, at Safety. 

Definitely don't agree with that.

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1 minute ago, deathstar said:

Definitely don't agree with that.

Nor do I. Jones can play, he can just also play much better. 

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Well he ain't gonna do it in Green Bay it looks like so don'tcha think we'd rather get something for him rather than cut him? It sounds like he just doesn't want to play here and his skills haven't warranted the 2nd round pick we used on him.

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1 minute ago, Joe said:

Well he ain't gonna do it in Green Bay it looks like so don'tcha think we'd rather get something for him rather than cut him? It sounds like he just doesn't want to play here and his skills haven't warranted the 2nd round pick we used on him.

This is such an irrelevant point and one that is used way too much.

Also, what the hell are you going to get for him? Positions athletes that haven't performed are all over the market. Are you really optimistic that the 6th round conditional pick you're going to get for him will be an upgrade?

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