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MintBaconDrivel  
#1 Posted : Monday, July 7, 2014 10:22:03 AM(UTC)
Anyone else surprised Datone Jones had 3.5 sacks in such limited time?

Jason Wilde said:
GREEN BAY — Rather than returning home to sunny Southern California after last season ended, Datone Jones stayed. Through the bitter cold (the second-coldest on record) and 61.1 inches of snow in December, January and February (the seventh snowiest on record, and not including the nearly 4 inches that fell on April 14), the Green Bay Packers' 2013 first-round draft pick stuck it out.

"I live here," the defensive end said during organized team activity practices this spring. "I'm a Wisconsin native."

Well, not exactly. But he will be much more beloved in his adopted home state if he makes a significant jump in his second NFL season and gives the defense a boost after being largely a non-factor as a rookie.

Jones played a mere 263 regular-season snaps last season as part of the Packers' defensive line rotation, and only run-stuffer C.J. Wilson (108), rookie fifth-round pick Josh Boyd (103) and coming-back-from-injury Jerel Worthy (12) saw less action. He played only four of a possible 60 defensive snaps against Pittsburgh on Dec. 22, and only five of 51 at Chicago on Dec. 29. (Boyd, by comparison, played 25 snaps against the Steelers and nine against the Bears.) Jones did play 13 snaps in the playoff loss to San Francisco — including a handful as a stand-up quasi-outside linebacker when injuries hit — and wound up playing in all 17 games, finishing with 19 tackles (10 solo), 3.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, and a blocked extra point on special teams.

Jones did suffer a sprained ankle on his first snap in an NFL preseason game, which set him back during training camp and cost him valuable developmental time in practice.

"I never made an excuse for myself," Jones said. "Now, I'm healthy. I feel like I have a lot to build on from last year and I'm coming into this year and starting to play fast. Just playing with an attitude and playing with a lot of juice."

That's exactly what his coaches want from him. The Packers went into the offseason with four defensive linemen headed to the unrestricted free-agent market — Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, B.J. Raji and Wilson — and only Raji was re-signed, coming back on a one-year deal. (Wilson signed with Oakland while Pickett and Jolly remain available.) Meanwhile, the team has added five defensive linemen in the past three drafts — Worthy (second round) and Mike Daniels (fourth round) in 2012, Jones and Boyd last year and Khyri Thornton (third round) this year — with Jones as the biggest investment.

"When Datone came in here, we were really excited about him. Then he got hurt and he didn't really look the same," defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said. "Hopefully he can stay healthy this year.

"I think everybody when he first came in here saw his athleticism. He's a tough kid. There's never been a question of that. He probably fought through that thing and tried getting on the field [when he should have sat out], being a first-round pick and all of that. His maturity in everything he does — his studying, his practice habits — everything will take a leap this year."

Although defensive coordinator Dom Capers called Jones "a hybrid-type guy," the team doesn't seem inclined to put him in the newly created defensive end/outside linebacker group coach Mike McCarthy is calling the "elephant" position. Rather, he must show he can play defensive end in the base — something he rarely did last season — and will be expected to be one of the two down linemen, along with Mike Daniels, in sub packages, having seen most of his action there as a rookie.

"I didn't come out with 30 sacks like everybody expected," said Jones, who may have been exaggerating a bit about the expectations put upon him. "[But] I feel like a lot of guys don't come into the NFL hot. Most guys, even a lot of legends across the NFL, you look at their numbers and what they did the first year.

"It's about what they do the following year. How did they get better? That's all who I am. I had a chance to go look at the film from last year and every day I come out making sure I'm progressing every day. Making sure I'm getting after it.

"I'm already feeling 100 times better than how I felt last year. I had a full offseason and I learned so much from these older guys so far. I'm just ready to go out and play."
nerdmann  
#2 Posted : Monday, July 7, 2014 10:38:00 AM(UTC)
This defense finally did start showing up last year, emotionally. But with all those injuries, why were guys like Datone stuck on the bench?

Capers reminds me of Tom Rosseley in this regard. Seems like there's no accountability on that side of the ball. If you're one of Capers' boys, you get to play, if not, go take a seat. Same thing with his staff. Not a new up-and-comer in the bunch, now that Kevin Greene mysteriously walked away. Maybe now we know why.

The Green Bay Packers aren't a country club for Dom's buddies to hang out in, it's an NFL franchise. They need to start showing up and getting it done. Including stretching and warmups.
Mucky Tundra  
#3 Posted : Monday, July 7, 2014 12:17:14 PM(UTC)
nerdmann said: Go to Quoted Post
This defense finally did start showing up last year, emotionally. But with all those injuries, why were guys like Datone stuck on the bench?

Capers reminds me of Tom Rosseley in this regard. Seems like there's no accountability on that side of the ball. If you're one of Capers' boys, you get to play, if not, go take a seat. Same thing with his staff. Not a new up-and-comer in the bunch, now that Kevin Greene mysteriously walked away. Maybe now we know why.

The Green Bay Packers aren't a country club for Dom's buddies to hang out in, it's an NFL franchise. They need to start showing up and getting it done. Including stretching and warmups.


Nerd, I absolutely agree with you on the injury and playing time situation. It seemed silly to limit his playing time when there were numerous injuries and the team needed everything it could get in terms of energy and playmaking. I thought he and Daniels were making a nice tandem in the middle as well. And with him being a first round draft pick, at some point you throw him in the deep end and hold your foot on his head to see how he reacts.

Hearing him say that Wisconsin is his home and that he spent all winter there is very encouraging to me. IIRC p2w mentioned at mini-camp that Datone looked bigger and stronger. Hopefully he can maintain a consistent playing weight this year. Every draft profile had him around 280-83 yet he came into camp at 295. This was after saying he figured he would play at 285-90. Both ESPN and the Packers website have him currently at 285 (I'm guessing he couldn't maintain the 295 between the injury and losing weight during the season). In retrospect, it might have been better for him to have played at 285-88. I think he packed on too much last year and when that ankle injury hit we were stuck with the worst situation: a guy with a bum ankle carrying more weight than he's used to.

I'm big on this guy and think he's gonna play up to his potential this year. He'll be starting at the end of this year at one of the DE spots and Dom will have a hard time taking him off field (though he'll probably try).
DoddPower  
#4 Posted : Monday, July 7, 2014 12:44:17 PM(UTC)
I thought Datone's lack of playing time was simply due to the fact that those in front of him were playing and/or practicing better? If that's the case, that seems like a fair enough reason to limit his snaps. A coach has to play whoever they think gives them the best shot at winning the game.

I think Datone showed potential last season. Let's hope he can realize it this year.
play2win  
#5 Posted : Monday, July 7, 2014 6:03:09 PM(UTC)
Mucky Tundra said: Go to Quoted Post
Nerd, I absolutely agree with you on the injury and playing time situation. It seemed silly to limit his playing time when there were numerous injuries and the team needed everything it could get in terms of energy and playmaking. I thought he and Daniels were making a nice tandem in the middle as well. And with him being a first round draft pick, at some point you throw him in the deep end and hold your foot on his head to see how he reacts.

Hearing him say that Wisconsin is his home and that he spent all winter there is very encouraging to me. IIRC p2w mentioned at mini-camp that Datone looked bigger and stronger. Hopefully he can maintain a consistent playing weight this year. Every draft profile had him around 280-83 yet he came into camp at 295. This was after saying he figured he would play at 285-90. Both ESPN and the Packers website have him currently at 285 (I'm guessing he couldn't maintain the 295 between the injury and losing weight during the season). In retrospect, it might have been better for him to have played at 285-88. I think he packed on too much last year and when that ankle injury hit we were stuck with the worst situation: a guy with a bum ankle carrying more weight than he's used to.

I'm big on this guy and think he's gonna play up to his potential this year. He'll be starting at the end of this year at one of the DE spots and Dom will have a hard time taking him off field (though he'll probably try).


Mucky, the guy looked GREAT! He, Boyd and Daiels looked to be inseparable, and they were clearly having a lot of fun in the OTAs that I saw. Yeah, he is noticeably bigger, and you'll see once the preseason starts. Boyd too. Our DL is going to look very different from the one we fielded last season.

I'm very hopeful as well for him to have a breakout year in 2014.
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