11

September

Despite Slow Start, James Jones Still a Weapon for Packers

Don't give up on James Jones just yet.

Packers WR James Jones didn’t see much action Thursday Night against the Saints.  Does this mean the Packers don’t need him or won’t use him?

It reminds me of a guy I know who has a basement full of weapons. Guns, ammo, knives, night-vision goggles, explosives, flares, etc., etc. If you hear of  something blowing up and creating a giant hole, it’s likely in his basement.

I always chuckle when I’m at his house. If you go downstairs to get a beer, chances are good that you’ll have to step over an AK-47 or a giant tub full of bullets the size of your arm to gain access to the fridge. People’s reactions to these weapons differ. Some are fascinated, some are frightened, some wonder why he has so many and some don’t know what to think.

It’s the same with the Packers WRs. There are so many weapons, that people get overwhelmed, probably even the WRs themselves.

James Jones is probably the one overwhelmed right now. He was only targeted once on Thursday night while everyone else seemed to get all kinds of opportunities, even if they weren’t open.

People are wondering why the Packers bothered to resign Jones in the offseason. They just drafted Randall Cobb. Jordy Nelson appears ready for a breakout season and Jermichael Finley was returning. Why did the Packers need to spend over $9 million on Jones, a player that causes just as much frustration as he does excitement?

I’ve always liked Jones and probably give him more love than he deserves, but I’m glad the Packers resigned him and I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

While the rest of the roster has dropped like flies, Packers WRs have been abnormally healthy. Jennings hasn’t missed a game since 2007. Nelson missed three games in 2009, but has otherwise stayed on the field; and Driver has only missed three games since becoming a full-time starter in 2002.

If the Packers luck on keeping their WRs healthy runs out, someone is going to have to fill in. Like Frank Zombo, Charlie Peprah and Jackson/Kuhn/Starks were at various positions last season, Jones is an ideal depth guy at WR and could adequately replace one of the other guys (speaking of health, Jones has only missed six games in his career).

Another thing going for Jones: He’s big. He’s also shown the ability to go up and make some tough catches in traffic, even if he struggles to catch the balls thrown right to him.

Aaron Rodgers completed some passes on Thursday that he had no business completing. Jennings was covered on several throws, but Rodgers put the ball exactly where it needed to be for Jennings to make a play on it. Rodgers is great — maybe the best in the game — but can we expect him to constantly complete passes like he did on Thursday when his WR was blanketed?

Probably not. Those throws might not always be right on target like they were Thursday. Every QB, no matter how good he is, needs a big WR that is capable of going up to make a play or hauling in a pass in traffic that might be a little bit off. Jones can occasionally be that guy.

I’m not saying Jones will breakout and suddenly become the Packers No. 1 receiver. But I am saying there is a role for him on this team and he needs to embrace it. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin met with Jones on Friday and hopefully told him the same thing.

Even though Jones might not be the newest, shiniest, or most powerful weapon laying around on the Packers basement floor, he still belongs. At some point during the season, he’ll come in handy.

Disclaimer: The guy I’m talking about at the beginning of this post is not some crazy militia guy in the backwoods of Ringle, Wis. He’s fully licensed and sells to law enforcement agencies and the military.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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9 Responses to “Despite Slow Start, James Jones Still a Weapon for Packers”

  1. Chad Lundberg says:

    I don’t disagree that Jones is still a weapon for Green Bay,but it’s still possible that he won’t play a big role this year. The only thing to keep him left for is insruance, but you want to pay 9 million for insurance? We have Tori Gurley and Chastin West on the practice squad that are probably capable of doing that.

    Also, between Nelson and Jones, I would much rather keep Nelson, but if Finley stays healthy, and gets his contract, I don’t think there will be enough money to resign Nelson (I think).

    We don’t NEED to, but I’m convinced that it is NECESSARY to trade Jones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      Jones is worth more to the Packers than he is to any other team right now. I don’t condone trading him, but even if they did, they probably wouldn’t be able to get much for him. Otherwise, another team would have signed him before the season began as a FA.

      There’s a reason he ended back up with the Packers.

      Also… while West and Gurley could be valuable members of the team in the future, they are not at the level of a guy like Jones yet. Fans tend to overvalue their own players, especially the new shiny ones that show some potential. There’s a reason they didn’t make the 53-man roster, and there’s a reason no one claimed them off of waivers.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Chad Lundberg says:

        It doesn’t matter if we don’t get much back for Jones, the point is trying to get proper cap space and if we really miss Jones at all, then we can use West or Gurley. I don’t care about other teams feel about them, besides for all we know, they just denied to be on any other team anyway. The way the played on the field is what matters to me.

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        • Adam Czech says:

          If your goal is to win the Super Bowl, Jones > West or Gurley. If you’re rebuilding, then you could part w/ Jones and try the new guys.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

          • Chad Lundberg says:

            Jones definitely helped us win the Super Bowl last year, that’s INDISPUTABLE, but I think the massive amount of arsenal we have THIS season makes it necessary to move on without him.

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  2. BubbaOne says:

    Has everyone forgotten Hawk’s situation the 1st game last year. One game does not a pattern make, even two games. Since the league is about matchups I feel there will be times when JJ can excel.
    A few other points: He provides leverage in the negotiations w/ Nelson. Also if TT chooses to trade him this offseason, his cap friendly contract should net us as much if not more than we would have rec’d as a comp pick. Lastly, we’re in SB run mode, he’s a helluva backup if he’s our 5th receiver.
    Cap space doesn’t seem to be a problem this season. We could be gaining Clifton’s and Grant’s salary cap space after the season so I don’t see JJ’s contract as a reason to trade him now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. [...] Adam says that Despite Slow Start, James Jones Still a Weapon for Packers. [...]

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  4. [...] write off wide receiver James Jones, warns Adam Czech of AllGreenBayPackers.com. "If the Packers luck on keeping their WRs healthy runs [...]

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