Posted on: February 12, 2010 12:50 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2010 12:51 pm
Matt Jones to the Cincinnati Bengals is a good move -- for both.
When Chris Henry got hurt, and then died when he fell out of a truck while on injured reserve, the Bengals lost their deep threat. They couldn't stretch a field last season, and their passing game suffered. Carson Palmer had no over-the-top threats.
Jones can be that guy. That's why the Bengals signed him to a 1-year deal Friday.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars, he never put in the work that was needed to be a quality receiver. That was tough when you are making the transition from college quarterback to receiver. Despite his less-than-enthusiastic approach to the game, Jones still put up some decent numbers.
He had 65 catches for 761 yards in 2008 before his off-the-field issues led the team to release him. Jones served a three-game suspension, and was not signed by a team last season.
Jones has the tools to help the Cincinnati offense. If he is focused, I think this is a good signing. Jones isn't a bad kid. He was just irresponsible as a young player. He didn't care.
If he cares, the Bengals will have some help for their passing game.
Posted on: March 16, 2009 11:35 am
But Jones was released for an even bigger crime that any of that. His crime?
He didn't care.
Jones is one of the many players to come into the NFL who simply don't care about their job. It wasn't important to him. If he played, fine. If he didn't, fine.
There was no want to be great. Some said it was his laid-back, Arkansas way. I saw it differently. And I like Jones. He's not a bad kid. But if he cared, he might still be on the Jaguars roster, despite the off-the-field troubles.
I give new general manager Gene Smith credit. He wants character people in his locker room. So far, he's let three players with questionable character go.The first two were free-agent busts Jerry Porter and Drayton Florence, both signed last year and then released this year, and now Jones.
"We want responsibility and accountability, and those are two important qualities as we continue the process of building this team," Smith said.
Jones was the leading receiver for the Jaguars last season, catching 65 passes for 761 yards and two touchdowns. But he was far from being a No. 1 receiver. It was his job by default.
With Jones gone, the Jaguars are left with Dennis Northcutt, Mike Walker and some unproven talent. It could force them to pick a receiver in the first round of the draft with the No. 8 overall pick. Then again, judging by the track record they've had with first-round receivers in recent years -- Jones and Reggie Williams -- that might be pushing it.
One thing's for certain: The player they do take with the eighth pick will care about his job. There will be a passion there.
That's something Jones never had -- and it may have cost him more than his arrests.