Leland Stein III

Back home, Jones impresses

In sports column on August 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Detroiter anchors Lion’s defense in win over Patriots

By Leland Stein III

The Detroit Lions’ defense was a question mark as the team began its preparations for the 2013 campaign. However, following its second preseason victory, a surprising 40-9 thumping of the lordly New England Patriots at Ford Field, hope again runs eternal for all the Lions faithful.

Detroit's Jason Jones at Lions press conference. – Dan Graschuck photo

Detroit’s Jason Jones at Lions press conference. – Dan Graschuck photo

With the Lions’ offense still sputtering, the defense took center stage against the Patriots, creating four crucial turnovers. Surprisingly, but happily, the linchpin of that effort was Detroiter Jason Jones.

Departed from the Lions defensive line were both starting defensive ends from the 2012 squad – Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril. So, the concern about what would happen there was all too real.

Jones, a Southfield-Lathrup High and Eastern Michigan University alum, has stepped into the void and produced. Signed as a free agent, the 6-foot-5, 275 pounder, could become the pass rusher the Lions so desperately need.

After a stellar career at EMU, Jones was drafted in the second round (54th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. Injuries kept him from being the best he could be, and, eventually he left the Titans and signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks for the 2012 season.

At Jones’ Lions signing press conference, he told reporters that lining up next to Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh should make both of them better.

Leland Stein

The Southfield product, now a six-year veteran said he was delighted to be back home playing in from of friends and family, with a chance to help make the Lions a competitive NFL entity.

“It’s going to benefit me a lot,” Jones said, about playing next to Suh. “All eyes are going to be on him with what he’s done and his track record in the league. It’s just my job to make some plays and play off him.”

Concurred Lions coach Jim Schwartz: “Jones has got great length, he weighs over 280 pounds, which is a big difference from a lot of defensive ends that we’ve had here. However, he’s not sacrificing speed or agility because of it. There is speed and agility that you have to have to be a defensive end and he has that.

“He also gives us a frame with super long arms. He should be able to help us in the pass rush game and should affect throws even if he doesn’t win in pass rush because of his length and be able to knock passes down.”

Everything Schwartz said manifested itself in the New England game. Jones was a beast, playing the position like a Pro-Bowler.

Jones led the way in the Lions impressive four-turnover outing against a potential Super Bowl team like the Patriots. After the game he noted: “That’s what we know we can do. We try to get the ball out in practice every day. Coming into this game we knew we had a pretty good challenge ahead of us. New England has a pretty good offense and they use a lot of things out there. We wanted to come out, set the tone and play aggressive out there, especially playing at home. We always want to be aggressive and we got four turnovers which is great for our defense.”

Yeah it was great to see the Lions beat New England, but the preseason really means nothing in the race to the NFL Playoffs. Still, any coach or fan or player will tell you they want to see their team win every time they line up.

On the momentum from the win carrying over, Jones said: “We don’t want to look back to two years ago and we don’t want to look too far in the future but two years ago we played here and had a very similar outcome and we went to the playoffs. Every year we put on pads we think we know mentally and physically that we are able to get to the playoffs but it’s about going out there and doing it. I definitely think this year with the chemistry of the team we will be able to go out there and perform.”

With a three-year contract in hand, Jones said he wants to be more than a football player and do all that he can to uplift the Detroit area. He has a good track record while in Tennessee, being a big part of the Coaches Association of the Brotherhood (C.A.O.T.B.) organization.

He noted that the group’s purpose was through charitable and educational events, they could help address the youth by mentoring, instructional and sports programs, while working with the juvenile detention systems as well.

Jones is a much need asset to the Lions and the Detroit Metro area, too.

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or Twitter @LelandSteinIII

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