Jacoby Jones plowing ahead, unworried

As the Houston Texans let go of right tackle Eric Winston and traded inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans, fans of the team peppered me.

Why, they lamented, is receiver and returner Jacoby Jones still on the team?

The answer is that Texans coaches and brass like Jones a lot better than fans do.

Jones can make some spectacular plays. He can offset them with spectacular flubs.

His foolish handling of a punt in Baltimore helped kill the Texans in their playoff loss to the Ravens in January.

I saw Jones today in Nashville where he appeared on 104.5 The Zone helping to promote Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s charity basketball game this weekend at Tennessee State University.

I asked him, first, about the projection that Houston will take a wide receiver with the 26th pick in the draft on April 26.

“It’s a business,” he said. “I love Houston. I would love to stay there. And I’ve been working hard in the offseason. If it happens, it happens,. If they bring somebody in I will take him under my wing and show him the ropes. Whatever happens, happens, but I’m still ready to play.”

Jones is due a $3 million base, which is too much. He could rank as high as second or as low as fourth in the receiver pecking order when games, and paydays, arrive. He signed a three-year deal in 2011 worth $10.5 million with $3.5 million guaranteed. Barring a sterling camp and a claim of the No. 2 job, I think that base salary will need to come down.

He said he forgot the muffed punt -- the only one of the season, he said. -- in relative short order, because he’s a football player and football players have to forget bad stuff and move on.

As for fan venom …

“Fans are fans, they always look for somebody to point the finger at,” he said, without any contempt in his voice. “If they want to point the finger at me, fine. That year’s gone, in my past. I’m not dwelling on it anymore. I’ll still play for my teammates, my family, those coaches and everybody in that front office.”

He’s trained in New Orleans since the season ended, but will return to Houston Saturday. A nagging spotlight will follow. It's his job to make it fade.