It’s a new era in the NFL where every Sunday there seems to be a few 300 yard passers, and now and then one of them eclipses the 400 yard mark. At the end of the season, one of the big name QB’s seems to always be in the 4,000 yard range for total pass yards, and, along with that, the TD numbers reach anywhere from 25-50 for the season.
This places value on smart, agile, and versatile WR’s. Let’s face it, a WR can run a pass pattern all day long, but if he can’t find an open area, the QB usually won’t throw him the ball. One of the advantages to having the guy who recruited or helped to recruit a lot of the talent up in Green Bay is being able to bring in these types of WR’s. Hence the reason why General Manager Reggie McKenzie was so eager to scoop up WR James Jones once he became a free agent.
James Jones (#89)-
Humble. In James Jones case this is an all-encompassing word. Here’s a Professional Football Player who literally started with absolutely nothing as a child. Homeless, and on the streets with his mom, Jones’ upbringing began on the streets of San Jose, CA. Luckily, Jones and his mother were able to find the comfort of a home by the time he reached High School age. In High School is where Jones’ talent was finally recognized, and he began his football life as a QB. In college at San Jose State, Jones’ skills were utilized as a Wideout, and he earned the chance to attend the 2007 NFL Combine due to his breakout Senior year.
The 6’1″ 208 pound WR was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 3rd Round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He immediately became a starter for the team and earned Rookie accolades during the year while catching passes from none other than Brett Favre. In 2010, Jones was an integral part of the Packers Super Bowl winning season under QB Aaron Rodgers. Though Jones has never eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark, he always found a way to get open and give his team the necessary yards they needed to keep moving the ball down the field. He always found a way to get the rock inside the confines of the end zone too, especially in 2012 where he caught 14 touchdown passes (64 receptions for 784 yards in 2012). 2013 was his highest total receiving yards where he caught 59 passes for 817 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Jones entered the 2014 Off-Season as a Free Agent. The Packers couldn’t meet his demands, and the Raiders were more than willing to welcome him back home to the Bay Area. In Jones, the Raiders get a proven veteran WR who is still young enough to do some damage. Yes, he’s 30 years of age, but a WR who takes care of his body can go all the way up to 35 and further sometimes depending upon their role with the team. Plus, Jones will be able to help Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, Brice Butler, Greg Little, and Denarius Moore in their development as big time receivers. Should they make the team, the Rookies brought in will have an excellent route runner to learn from.
Ultimately, Jones will benefit the Oakland Raiders in becoming a winning organization again. He is a necessary piece to the puzzle that will elevate the receiving corps of the Raiders. He may be the number 2 guy, but I could see him serving the team best in the slot as a number 3 or even 4 receiver. He’s quick, runs routes very well, and he has a knack for the open spaces. This will serve QB Matt Schaub best, especially if he needs to get rid of the ball quickly to his outlets. Granted, his contract would state otherwise. However, if the slot is the best place for him, that’s where he needs to be.
Think about it for a minute, the names Jones, Streater, Holmes, Butler, Little, Moore, and maybe one of the Rookies (Mike Davis perhaps), to go along with Marcel Reece, Mychal Rivera, Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew, with the rock being dished out by Matt Schaub makes me think of an arsenal of weapons. All available at Schaub’s fingertips. Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson has to be giddy, like a school child, to have all of this available to him.
Let’s put it another way, barring any unforeseen injuries, there is no excuse for Schaub to not throw for over 3,500 yards in 2014. Look at these weapons. Sure, he may dish it out evenly to all, but those yards will rack up. Think about the matchup issues that other teams will face. Sure, the Raiders have a tough schedule ahead, but there are only so many #1 CB’s on a team. Not all LB’s are good at covering quick slot receivers. They won’t all be blanketed by a CB, and the opportunities will be there.
James Jones is that necessary tough and instinctive WR who is hard to bring down that has been missing since the days of Tim Brown. No, he’s not Tim Brown, but he has many of the qualities that Brown had. Though, not a down has been played in 2014, Jones automatically makes this a better receiving corps with his abilities. Don’t believe me? Want to question my opinion? Great, check out his highlights and you’ll see what Raider Nation can expect to see in 2014: