James Jones makes career day out of opportunity
GREEN BAY—Famine one week, feast the next. Veteran receiver James Jones has learned not to worry about going hungry while playing for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
After being targeted just twice in the season opener last week at San Francisco, Jones recorded two career bests vs. Washington on Sunday, hauling in 11 catches for 178 yards.
The seventh-year pro wouldn’t call it his best game, though.
“I don’t want to say it was one of my best because I didn’t score any touchdowns,” said Jones.
Jones came close when he tried to punch in the ball over the end zone plane in the second quarter. He lost the handle at the last second and fumbled it on top of the pylon.
“It was a turnover; I gave the ball back to them,” said Jones. “That’s the worst part about it. If I had went out (of bounds) on the 1, it’s all good. But I turned the ball over, which equals a minus on my grade. You don’t want that.”
Still, a negative on one play cannot overshadow this kind of performance. A double move by Jones on a stunned David Amerson resulted in his 57-yard reception.
Other times he just made defenders miss. Jones became the first Packer to have an 11-catch, 175-yard receiving game since Javon Walker had 11 for 200 yards at Indianapolis on Sept, 26, 2004.
“If you let the first guy tackle you, you get no respect when you come to the sideline,” said Jones. “I don’t care if it’s a 70-yarder. You’ve got to make somebody miss to get a good chest bump from your teammates.”
Jones also decided to have a little fun with his teammates with a special accessory for all of them and assistant coach Edgar Bennett: hats.
The hats aren’t Jordy Nelson’s style. They look as if they’d be worn by someone in a music video and not someone like him, who works on his family farm in the offseason. They have “Wideout” and “Nelson” written in heavy, bejeweled, mirrored letters about the size of the HOLLYWOOD sign.
“Put that hat on!” hollered Jones as Nelson pulled on his socks and shoes following the 38-20 victory.
“I scored two touchdowns! I don’t have to,” Nelson said, grinning.
With a running game to balance them out, Green Bay’s big three—Jones, Nelson and Randall Cobb—took the hot hand of Rodgers and scorched Washington with a combined 372 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
“Jordy was the touchdown maker today; me and Randall had yards,” said Jones. “It’s a good thing to have, man, when you’ve got a lot of weapons. You can’t really slow us down.”
Washington’s defense will not have fun reviewing this game film Monday, especially if they thought Jones would be a small factor. Just as he said last week, Jones wasn’t worried about the goose egg in Week 1.
“It’s a long season, man,” said Jones. “One game, zero catches means nothing. Our quarterback is trying to get everybody the ball. He’s trying to win; we’re trying to win. You’re going to have days like this and days like that.
“I wasn’t necessarily in a zone, I was just making the most of my opportunities.”