Thursday, September 19, 2013
DT Chris Jones slides under radar
By Field Yates
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A condensed week leading up to the Patriots' second regular-season game forced things to move faster than normal, and perhaps overlooked in the shuffle was the addition of defensive tackle Chris Jones, a player the team had previously coveted.
Jones was claimed on waivers last Wednesday after being let go by the Buccaneers. The Patriots were awarded Jones after a successful claim, but it wasn't the first attempt they made to acquire him.
When Jones was waived by the Texans (who took the Bowling Green prospect in the sixth round of this spring's NFL draft) in late August, the Patriots put in a claim for his services. The Buccaneers, with the inferior 2012 regular-season record, had priority over the Patriots and thus were awarded him.
Now that he's a Patriot, Jones adds depth at defensive tackle, an area where the Patriots were thin in Week 2, as Jones was inactive after being claimed just 24 hours before the game.
In speaking with Jones on Thursday, he laughed that his lone regular-season game with the Buccaneers was against the Jets in Week 1 and that his first with the Patriots was also against the Jets.
In a twist of fate, he happens to facing his former team this week, and one area that he noted was the size of the Buccaneers' offensive line.
"Going against guard Gabe [Carimi], a lot of those guys were big," he said. "Gabe is a tall guard and [center Jeremy] Zuttah, he tries to just clear the pocket a lot and [guard] Davin Joseph is probably their best offensive lineman. He's really good at moving around, punching you and getting you out of there."
Carimi, a former right tackle for the Bears, stands at nearly 6-foot-7, while Joseph and Zuttah are listed at 313 and 308 pounds respectively.
Jones also delivered some insight into a schematic wrinkle the Bucs run on defense, as they often use a tilted nose tackle over the center, something he calls a key to their execution.
"Whenever you have somebody tilted on the center, you're trying not to get reached," Jones said. "That's the number one, if you get reached there, you're done. You really just mess up the whole defense, it's really predicated on that defensive lineman. If he gets reached, it throws all the linebackers off whack and gives a huge gap for the running back to take off. That's what they want to do with the one-technique tilted."
The Bucs use a variety of different fronts and align their interior lineman in various gaps from play-to-play. One of the toughest defenders the Bucs have is tackle Gerald McCoy, who Jones said he studied during their time together as teammates.
"When I was watching him practice, he was very detailed. Whenever he was doing his work he was very methodical with everything," he said before later adding, "I think that's what makes him really good."
It would seem to make sense that, given the size and physicality of the Buccaneers offensive line, Jones -- who is wearing number 94 -- could be active for his first game as a Patriot on Sunday. Besides starters Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, the Patriots have relied upon rookie Joe Vellano and defensive end Chandler Jones in a reduced alignment to clog the interior of their defense.