Jones and Jones (Tom Gannam/AP)
The stat sheet says that Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones and fullback Greg Jones combined for six catches for 60 yards in Sunday’s 23-21 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Stats never lie, but they don’t always tell the entire truth.
Jones and Jones had pretty ordinary numbers on Sunday to say the least, but their impact on the game was much more than ordinary. Matt Jones has been one of the biggest surprises of the season for the Jaguars, or any other team as he has seemed to turn his life and certainly his career around. The former first-round pick is on pace for an 80-catch year, which would be nearly double the output of his best NFL season. Jones had just five receptions for 43 yards, but his catches went for big first downs, and Jones appears to be emerging as David Garrard’s go to guy early on.
“We just want to build on that,” said Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio. “We’re going to continue to go down the field but first things first, move the ball, possess the ball. Ultimately, we’d like to hit them over the top some.”
Very few people even expected Matt Jones to make it to training camp following his arrest over the summer for possession of a controlled substance, but he has dedicated himself and been one of the Jaguars best players on offense.
“Matt first of all has had a great start to the year and I think that has carried over from a great camp and a great preseason,” Del Rio said. “So he’s continuing along those lines. He’s worked hard at it. He’s become a more complete player, somebody who David has come to count on and lean on there and he’s shown the ability to catch the ball in traffic and make a couple tough catches there that were very timely Sunday. So we want to build on that.”
The Jaguars made Greg Jones the highest paid fullback in NFL history, and his stats for the season are very run-of-the-mill. Jones hasn’t yet had a rushing attempt and he has caught just four passes for 30 yards including a touchdown. Still, Jones value can’t be measured on the stat sheet as he has delivered crushing blocks and has helped pave the way for the Jaguars rushing attack. Jones lead-blocking helped lead to 236 yards on the ground against the Colts last Sunday. Jack Del Rio described Jones’ effort against the Colts—
“Physicality. The guy really had some flat back, crushing blocks all day long sorting through. There were different twists and gadgets in trying to load the box and bringing people and he’s sorting through it and getting his hat on the right guy and knocking a hole a line for us to pop through. He was really good; some of that unselfish work that can go unnoticed but really helped paved the way for our two stud running backs to get going.”
Del Rio knows that Jones is capable of being more than just a true fullback.
“He’s got the ability to carry the ball,” Del Rio said. “When we selected him and got him here, one of the first things I talked to him about was my desire to have him as a fullback who can also carry the ball. I really think he can be a Mike Alstott type of runner, punishing defenses at the end of games. He’s just been so good as a fullback, I think he’s one of the better fullbacks in the league, he’s been so good as a fullback and with the emergence of Maurice (Jones-Drew), we have that companion back to give us the one-two punch. So he really hasn’t been a guy that’s received the carries that he might have in a different situation, but he continues to be a real fine football player.”
Greg Jones can probably be a complimentary back at the very least for most teams in the NFL, but he embraces his role as a blocker which can often be non-rewarding, at least in the stat sheet and in terms of public gratitude and fame.
“That’s the thing that’s so impressive about him is his unselfish nature, and I’ve said in the past and I’ll say again, there was one particular play that kind of summarizes it all,” Del Rio explained. “We were playing Tennessee, I believe, and it was a late season game and he’s carrying the ball and we got down in the red zone and then we bring in (LaBrandon) Toefield and tell him (Jones) to go to fullback and he blocks and springs Toe and Toe gets the touchdown and you can see Greg. He’s laying on the ground after making his block and he sees Toefield going in and he jumps off the ground and he’s fired up for his teammate. A lot of guys would have handled that differently, and that’s just the type of unselfish football player he is and that’s why I’m really happy that we were able to get him extended this offseason.”
Although the Jaguars haven’t had the start that they have hoped for, it would be much worse if not for the contributions of the Joneses.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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