Eye in the Sky Report – A different type of Spotlight on Reshad Jones
I’ll be honest, there were times last year and throughout training camp I was requesting that one player on our secondary get cut and be shown the door. Truth be told, I was among the few that actually thought one player (Reshad Jones) would not provide any benefit to our team. Well, today, I offer my sincere apology to one particular player, as we are now starting to see first-hand the difference an experienced Defensive Coordinator can do with raw talent.
After the Redskins and the Chargers games last year, we witnessed the raw talent that Reshad Jones possessed. Truth be told, that raw talent was why I wanted him cut. Jones provided little to no benefit on the field. If you have the ability I implore you to watch the two games I have mentioned above. Jones was caught doing the superman (-meaning flying through the air and trying to make tackle, but hit no one) and tried to ask Vontae Davis to throw the ball him on interception return (rather than blocking for his teammate he was basically watching him run). Don’t believe, I thought you might, check out the evidence below:
But you know what, that was last year, water under the bridge (or at least I hope). I am here to say that the most surprised player that I have seen this year is Reshad Jones. Not only has he become a dominant Strong Safety, he has made us not even notice the departure of our longest tenure Dolphin; Yeremiah Bell.
Now, that I have a chance to compare last year game tape against this year, the most obvious thing that sticks out is Jones position change. Jones is no longer playing Free Safety (as he did last year, with Bell playing the Strong Safety). Secondly the premise of how Jones is being used is completely different and this has to do with our Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle. Coyle is asking Jones to play a lot more zone and soft 1 coverage’s which is now split evenly between the two safety positions. What this means, is that Jones has the ability to break out of this zone coverage and play a hit on a Running back or TE. Whereas Mike Nolan (our previous DC) asked our Free Safeties to play a Robber technique with no split responsibilities, between the two safeties. Coyle has implemented a back court where the responsibilities are shared between the safeties, and by doing this we can see that our players are able to take a little more risk, as they know that there is a joint last line of defensive.
One thing that we can definitely see throughout the first eight games of the season is that this risk is turning into our reward. I am not going to give all the credit to Coyle for the re-emergence of Reshad Jones game, but if you look at Coyle resume his forte was taking raw talent and making them elite talent. Just look at what he did with Reggie Nelson. Reggie Nelson was first round pick that the Jacksonville Jaguars took in 2007. The Jaguars basically gave up on Nelson and considered him a first round bust, as such traded Nelson to the Bengals in 2010. Nelson was taught by Kevin Coyle, and last year was selected to his first pro ball.
There is no secret that Reshad Jones is now going through the same transformation, and based on what we have seen so far, I am excited about his future for the first time….ever.