We just got news that the Vikings have signed Datone Jones to a new contract. It’s always difficult to see a Packer player go to another team and even more difficult when that team is a division rival. However, there’s one critical reason why I think the Packers were willing to let Jones go and why, I think, they won’t miss him.
Jones was #2 on the depth chart behind Clay Matthews. Behind Jones… Kyler Fackrell.
What the Packers Will Miss in Jones
Datone Jones’ career in Green Bay was pedestrian. He started as a defensive end but was converted to an outside linebacker in the Packers’ 3-4 defense.
Hopes were never as high for Jones as they were for a guy like Nick Perry, who was, from the moment he took the field his rookie year, expected to be the bookend to Clay Matthews. Still, he looked like he had the potential to be a force.
During the first two years he did some good things but nothing to really make him stand out. So, the Packers converted him to OLB.
Last season Datone recorded 17 tackles and one sack. He played 548 snaps. So, he had a tackle on 3% of the snaps he played.
What the Packers Look Forward to in Fackrell
We haven’t seen a whole lot of action from Kyler during his rookie season but I’ve seen enough that I think he can fill Jones’ shoes and maybe more.
Fackrell got on the field for 160 snaps in 2016 and in that time had eight tackles and two sacks. Eight tackles on 160 snaps means he’s making a tackle on 5% of his snaps. And, he recorded twice as many sacks as Jones even though Jones had 3.5 times the snaps.
This is a small number of snaps and the obvious question is whether Fackrell could keep that up when playing 500-700 snaps. Still, the numbers are kind of exciting and I think they may be one of the reasons Ted didn’t put up much of a fight to keep Jones in green and gold.