It’s time for another Packer Nation head-to-head poll. One of the most exciting players that the Packers drafted this year is Josh Jones. With the exit of Micah Hyde there was a need for a versatile guy on the Packers’ defense that could play multiple positions and crash the box if necessary. Jones checks all those boxes. At 6’1 5/8″ and 220 pounds with 3.4 speed, Jones is the total package. As a “replacement for Micah” though, he won’t have the veteran savvy so his response time may be a little slower right out of the gate. So all this brings up a question for Packer Nation…”What should be Jones’ position on obvious passing downs out of the gate (wk 1 versus Seattle) in 2017?” I will give some discussion, specifically in light of the last time the Packers met the Seahawks, and then you make the call.
1. Jones should be at the ILB position
Josh Jones is lockered up with the linebackers in the locker room, but is it smoke and mirrors? There are certainly some advantages to Jones playing up at the ILB position against Seattle. Here are the basic arguments for Jones at ILB:
- Jones has the speed and size to cover tight ends and running backs, and the tight ends in particular have been a thorn in the side of the Packers’ defense for years
- Inside linebacker is a position of need. With the draft picks that the Packers have committed to ILB, they still have Thomas as the nickel ILB.
- With Jones’ speed…he can release and blitz and close on the quarterback very quickly. The Packers lost Jones and Peppers this off-season and the addition of Jones could make up for some of the qb pressures and sacks that are lost.
- Jones may not be as familiar with the ILB position, especially at the NFL level. His ability to remain clear and interpret the middle of the field could be an opportunity for the Seattle defense and in particular Jimmy Graham to exploit. If I was Darrell Bevell, I would love to see the Packers bring Jones up…and would tell Graham to get ready to welcome the rook to the NFL. Remember, the effectiveness of a TE across the middle has little to do with speed.
- Jones is not very big. As a “hybrid” player, 220 pounds isn’t really that big and trying to get through NFL offensive linemen (if sent) could be a struggle.
- Jones won’t be in the deep middle. With his speed in free space at the position he is most comfortable with, Jones just won’t be there to separate receivers from the ball.
2. Jones should be at the “free” safety position
- Jones’ size and speed make him perfect as a “rangy” free safety.
- Jones’ hard-hitting attitude fits the position perfectly.
- This is Jones’ most comfortable position and gives him a chance to see the play “from outside” rather than in the middle of the trash at ILB
- Covering as a single high…Jones frees up Morgan Burnett who has more experience down in.
- Jones unavailable for quarterback pressure. As center-fielder, Jones is virtually out of the running to pressure the quarterback which, with his speed, could be a serious loss. The Packers need inside pressure and for years have leaned on Clay Matthews to get it.
- The Packers have the personnel to handle the back-end duties, adding Jones to the ILB should be priority because we only have Thomas and have had to add Matthews to have success. This year, we don’t have the depth at OLB to cover the outside so adding Jones inside helps a lot.
- Playing deep center could take Jones out of the play altogether, effectively eliminating an explosive player
OK Packer Nation, what do you think? Make your answer known in the head-to-head poll and feel free to discuss this question in the comments below or back on the Facebook Fanpage. Go Pack!