Weight: 208 lbs.
College: San Jose State
NFL Draft: 2007 - Round: 3 - Pick:78
The Packers offense as a whole has not played well for weeks now. The Vikings were able to beat them by a TD last week and hold them to only 13 points in a game that decided the division and the week before that the Cardinals completely bulldozed them and held them to eight points! Throughout this prolonged dry-spell for the Packer offense, most everyone (including the Packers players themselves) seems to think things will eventually just come together on offense for them as they have in the past. Count James Jones amongst that group. Just a couple days ago he said, "Once we get rolling, it's going to be hard to stop us." Nobody doubts the potential an offense led by Aaron Rodgers has, but the key takeaway from Jones' statement is that they aren't rolling right now. How likely is that considering the season that offense has had? They even let HC Mike McCarthy call plays again and it hasn't helped.
However, Jones has done his part to help right the ship lately. In the game against Minnesota last week, he managed four receptions for 102 yards. The yardage total looks nice, but the problem with Green Bay's offense has been in it's lack of efficiency. Jones got 102 yards, but he was targeted a whopping 13 times. He contributes a big play here and there (more than most everyone else on that offense can say lately), but overall, the offense as a whole has looked pretty lifeless for weeks. Jones is 31 now and can't quite get open as easily as he used to. He's still be able to produce relatively well, but he needs good QB play. Aaron Rodgers has been throwing the ball very poorly over the past few weeks and Jones can only be as effective as the QB throwing him the ball.
What's interesting about Jones season is that as the Packers offense has come to a screeching halt over the past month, Jones play has improved since the middle of the season when he was largely MIA. He's gotten 7+ targets and 4+ receptions in every game over the last quarter of the season. He hasn't been very reliable, but he's been the best weapon the Packers have on offense for about a month.
Oh, and he's been wearing a hoodie during games for some reason...
Jones is a natural hands catcher with a great frame. He's pretty built/defined for a WR and has a very strong upper body with long arms and large, soft hands. He's just not very explosive, especially at 31. He's not afraid to make tough catches in traffic and is above average with the ball in his hands. And he really does have great hands. He's also a very good leaper who has the attitude to come down with a ball in traffic. Good at high-pointing the ball and really good at hitch routes. His experience enables him to do a good job reading defense and finding soft spots in zones.
Where Jones lacks is with his speed. It's only gotten worse as he crossed 30 and was never great to begin with. He doesn't have a lot of shake/wiggle and lacks concentration at times. He's also not nearly as good of a blocker as he should be given his size and strength.
Potential Against the Redskins
The Redskin secondary is average at best and very depleted right now, however, I like the way we match-up with the Packer offense. Aaron Rodgers is obviously incredible, dangerous, and always a threat. Still, his down year (and it really has been most of the year) can't be ignored. Is the whole offense just going to magically snap out of it because it's the playoffs? With Rodgers, I believe just about anything is possible... but I'd say it's not likely. Jones potential Sunday is hurt by the Packer OL. They're injured and have been playing poorly for a while now. Conversely, the Redskins pass rush has been on a tear for about a month now and if Rodgers is under heavy pressure, Jones is going to be less effective.
On the back end, you have to think Breeland is going to play against Jones a lot. I love that match-up for Breeland. It'll be very interesting to see if Cary Williams gets any playing time Sunday (due to Dunbar being hurt or just being a rookie). He has experience against Jones and the Packers and would provide some entertainment against Jones. With Hall having had some time at S now and with Goldson having a week off to get healthy, I'm thinking Jones impact is a little limited.
Still, I want to make sure I emphasize this, Jones has been the weapon for the Packers lately. I'm sure they'll try to get a running game going, but Jones needs to be a priority for the Redskin defense. The potential for him to hurt the 'Skins is there largely because Rodgers trusts him unlike almost anyone else and throws his way relentlessly. He will get targets. The 'Skins had better be prepared.
Growing up, James and his mother lived in various homeless shelters before James found himself living with his grandmother during HS. He begged for food as a young boy and was on the streets from birth until around age 15. Since going pro, James and his wife have started the Love Jones 4 Kids foundation to help underprivileged and homeless children with football camps, food, and inspiration. He's a humble man from humble beginnings. Many in his family, including both parents, were heavy drug users. Watch this great, powerful interview with James himself about growing up homeless.
During his senior year in HS, Jones was his football team's MVP... as QB. James has played basically his entire career as a Green Bay Packer aside from last year when he was with the Raiders and during this past off-season when he was with the Giants. The Packers went out and immediately got him back when Jordy Nelson went down with a season-ending knee injury. He is a Super Bowl Champion with the Packers and led the NFL in receiving TDs in 2012.
Of late, one other very interesting tidbit related to James is his apparent love for warmth and comfort as he's been playing with a hoodie on under his uniform. His hoodie even has a Twitter account: @JJonesHoodie!