Thursday, June 17, 2010
On the radar: Adam Jones
By James Walker
A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.
CINCINNATI -- Coachable. Hard-working. Willing to listen.
These were not terms often used to describe cornerback Adam Jones during his turbulent NFL career. But that's the praise I heard from the Cincinnati Bengals' coaching staff during this week's mandatory minicamp.
Jones was out of football in 2009 for various off-the-field issues. The defending AFC North champions took the risk and signed Jones to a two-year contract with hopes that he can provide depth for the secondary.
Adam Jones has been doing all of the right things since joining the Bengals.
It's been so far, so good, according to the Bengals.
"He's come in and done everything we've asked him to do at this point," Cincinnati defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle said. "He's been very coachable. He wants to do well and is extremely competitive. He wants to win at everything. He's got that nature about him."
Jones said he's working to better himself and shed his old image. For starters, he no longer wants to be called "Pacman." That nickname represents a persona that often got into trouble.
Jones' athleticism has never been in question. That's what made him the No. 6 overall pick of the Tennessee Titans in the 2005 draft. In minicamp, Jones has showed flashes by making several nice plays on the ball at cornerback and still displaying natural skills as a kick returner, despite his extended time away from the NFL.
The extra work spent in organized team activities has helped Jones shake the rust.
"I've only had one year of OTAs since I've been in the NFL; that was my second year," Jones explained. "I had a pretty good second year, too. I think OTAs is a big part for me. Some people don't need it. I need the extra work. It's a situation that [keeps me] focused and just getting back to football."
By September, Jones expects to be in even better football shape. But it's his history of not being able to steer clear of trouble that will be the biggest question for the cornerback this season.
If Jones, 26, figures out the latter, Cincinnati's experiment could pay dividends.