NFL Nation: Arthur Jones

INDIANAPOLIS – New Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Arthur Jones didn’t want to reveal too much when asked about if he would be playing more defensive tackle than end next season.

Jones
Jones
Colts coach Chuck Pagano answered the question during the NFL owners meetings earlier this week.

Well, sort of.

“I’m not going to pigeonhole by saying he’s an inside guy or an outside guy,” Pagano said. “He brings position flexibility to our front. He’s a sub-rusher on third down. He can give you inside push, he can beat guys one-on-one. He has sack numbers for an inside guy.”

Pagano was Jones’ defensive coordinator during his rookie season with the Baltimore Ravens in 2011. Jones went from having 20 tackles and zero sacks his rookie season to having 53 tackles and four sacks last season, and now he’ll try to be just as effective in Indianapolis.

“He’s really matured as a young man,” Pagano said. “He knows our scheme. Terminology won’t be an issue. It’ll be a seamless transition for us.”

Pagano’s goal is to have a defensive front that has players who can play multiple positions so that they can constantly rotate them in so in the fourth quarter they’ll still be relatively fresh. Defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois, who missed part of last season with a foot injury, can play on the end.

The Colts were abysmal at stopping the run last season, finishing 26th in the league in that category, and linebacker Robert Mathis had 19.5 of their 42 sacks.

“You can never have enough defensive linemen,” Pagano said. “We roll those guys all the time and try to keep them fresh. If you can play with six, seven guys in the defensive front by the time fourth quarter comes around and everybody is still fresh, it’s going to play to your advantage.”

The Colts currently have seven defensive linemen on the roster: Montori Hughes, Ricky Jean Francois, Arthur Jones, Fili Moala, Jeris Pendleton, Cory Redding, and Josh Chapman.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Defensive end or defensive tackle?

Jones
Jones
New Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Arthur Jones can play both positions, but he’s not tipping his hand on which one he’ll play more next season.

“I’m not going to give anything away,” Jones said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. “You guys are going to have to wait until training camp to find that out because I don’t want anything out that [coach Chuck Pagano] doesn’t want out.”

Jones will help the Colts no matter if he plays defensive end or tackle. He called it a “no-brainer” to sign with Indianapolis once he hit the free-agent market. He signed a five-year, $33 million contract earlier this week.

The winning tradition and familiarity with Pagano and fellow defensive lineman Cory Redding made it an easy decision for Jones. Pagano was Jones’ defensive coordinator and Redding was a teammate of his during his rookie season with the Baltimore Ravens.

“It’s always easy to go to a place where you see and know familiar faces,” Jones said. “It’s kind of like the first day of school. You are waiting at the bus stop looking for someone you know. [Pagano] brought so much passion to the game and a guy that loved his job and really loved football. Anytime you have a coach like that, that loves to win, you would love to go to war for him.

“[Redding] was my mentor in the big brother program they had in Baltimore. He was a guy that helped me mature and showed me the ropes, how to be a professional.”

Jones was real coy in talking about where he’ll play with the Colts next season. He did at least acknowledge that he spent more time playing defensive tackle last season with the Ravens when he had 53 tackles and four sacks. That’s good news for the Colts because they need help stopping the run up the middle. The Colts were 26th in the league in stopping the run last season.

“Yeah, I would say that’s safe to say, definitely,” Jones said when asked if he was brought here to help stop the run. “But you never know, though, you may see me on passing downs, too.”

INDIANAPOLIS -- Vontae Davis had to his due diligence and listen to other teams.

But deep down inside Davis knew he wanted to return to the Indianapolis Colts. Davis knew the Colts were more than just a football team that practiced together and took the field together on Sundays. There's a brotherhood inside the organization, the kind Davis didn't have in his three seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

That's why brotherhood -- and a whole lot of money -- brought Davis back to the Colts. He agreed to a four-year, $39 million contract that included $20 million guaranteed.

“I hate for it to be the business side,” Davis said. “If there wasn't a business side of football and it wasn't about business, I would still choose to be back with the Colts. So that just says a lot about how strong the organization is. My teammates are like brothers. It's a brotherhood. When you go to the Colts, it's something that you hold with you for the rest of your life.”

Davis was the primary target for the Colts when it came to re-signing their own players. He has the talent to be one of the top cornerbacks in the league. It's simply a matter of putting it all together and avoiding lapses in his play.

“He is a rare talent at 25 years of age who is still ascending as a player,” Colts GM Ryan Grigson said. “We are excited to see him reach new heights in his career and help us attain our ultimate goal.”

The Colts showed their faith in Davis by giving him such a lucrative deal. It's said with money comes pressure.

Not so, Davis said.

"You can't let it impact (your play)," he said. "If I was making a dollar, it wouldn't matter. You just have to go out there and play. The organization has trust in me enough to obviously bring me back. I just have to continue to work hard and I think everything will work out for itself.”

The Colts had a solid tandem at cornerback with Davis and Greg Toler -- when he was healthy -- last season. Davis fed off of Toler's aggressive approach. Davis' best game was against the Denver Broncos when he had five tackles and two passes defended. He was so worked up that he referred to Peyton Manning as New England's Tom Brady in a postgame interview on the field.

Davis joined linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, defensive lineman Arthur Jones and safety/special teams ace Sergio Brown as defensive players the Colts signed on the first day of free agency.

“Every team, coming into the season is a new year,” Davis said. “We have to come in and work hard to get back to where we were at last year. I think just moving forward, coach (Chuck) Pagano, Grigson, they're doing a great job of building this team up.”
It only took about one minute into the official start of free agency for the Baltimore Ravens to lose one of their free agents.

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Jones
Defensive tackle Arthur Jones signed a five-year deal that will average $6 million per season, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. He reunites with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who was Jones' defensive coordinator in Baltimore in 2011.

This was long expected. Jones follows the likes of Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe who played so well that they priced themselves out of the Ravens' range.

In four years, Jones went from a fifth-round pick to one of the best young interior linemen in the NFL. At 28, he makes an impact against the run and recorded four sacks last season. During the Ravens' Super Bowl run, he made two key fumble recoveries.

The biggest question with Jones is how effective he'll be without Haloti Ngata drawing double-teams. Jones ranked No. 4 on my Ravens' free-agent rankings.

The Ravens have 14 other free agents: OT Eugene Monroe, WR Jacoby Jones, ILB Daryl Smith, OT Michael Oher, ILB Jameel McClain, S James Ihedigbo, CB Corey Graham, TE Ed Dickson, DT Terrence Cody, FB Vonta Leach, S Jeromy Miles, RB Bernard Scott, TE Dallas Clark and WR Tandon Doss (not tendered as a restricted free agent).
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts want to improve on being 26th in the league in stopping the run last season.

There’s no better place to start than at nose tackle.

Aubrayo Franklin is a free agent after starting there last season.

The Colts are still high on Josh Chapman, but that’s a position where you need multiple bodies.

A name to keep an eye on once free agency starts Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET is Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones. Colts coach Chuck Pagano is familiar with Jones from when he was defensive coordinator of the Ravens.

Jones had a career-high 53 tackles to go with four sacks last season. Franklin and Chapman combined for 44 tackles and zero sacks last season.

The Colts have the salary-cap space to pay Jones, who is only 27 years old.

“He has definitely put himself in a position that teams could definitely bid on him very high because if you put the tape on, they’re going to like him a lot,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters during the NFL scouting combine last month. “… It’s probably the one contract that he’ll have a chance to sign, a real big one. Guys that sign two big contracts, that’s very unusual. Three almost never happens, so you never feel bad about a guy getting an opportunity.”

Here’s a look at some other defensive tackles who will be on the market:

You have to be careful this weekend with what you hear and where you hear it. The NFL's legal tampering window opened at noon ET on Saturday, so while no free agent can sign with a new team until 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, teams are allowed to talk to agents for free-agent players, and talk they do. Reports Saturday indicated the New York Giants had reached out to the representatives for Tennessee cornerback Alterraun Verner and Baltimore defensive lineman Arthur Jones.

Verner
The calls could mean any number of things. Take Verner, for example, who is likely to be one of the most sought-after and highly paid cornerbacks on the free-agent market. The Giants could be looking around to see whether they can afford to spend on a cornerback this offseason, and calling the agent for the top one to see where the market is going is one way to find out. Green Bay just re-signed Sam Shields on Saturday for four years and $39 million with at least $12 million guaranteed. So if the Giants want Verner (or another top cornerback), it's fair to assume they will need to offer $9 million or $10 million a year to get him.

That's a significant price to pay, especially for a team with so many significant needs on the offensive side of the ball. But the idea of making Prince Amukamara the No. 2 cornerback again isn't a bad one for the Giants. That is not to say Amukamara is a No. 2 corner. I think he's a very good player -- not a "shutdown" type of guy, but a good, smart technician who knows the position and works hard at it and will contribute more good than bad. A borderline No. 1 at least. Adding a corner who is better than he is would make the defensive backfield very strong. Defensive back is a position on which the Giants have long shown a willingness to spend big resources (early draft picks or free-agent dollars), and so it wouldn't be out of character for them to throw money at a cornerback early in free agency.

As for Jones, who was a defensive end in Baltimore's 3-4 front, he'd be a defensive tackle in the Giants' scheme and could be an option if they believe Linval Joseph is leaving as a free agent. Pro Football Focus ranked Jones the No. 12 overall 3-4 defensive end last year. He'll be 28 in June and he's a Syracuse guy, and you know how the Giants like those Syracuse guys.

Much more to come, obviously.

Free-agency primer: Ravens

March, 7, 2014
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» AFC Free-Agency Primer: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

 
Key free agents: OT Eugene Monroe, DT Arthur Jones, WR-KR Jacoby Jones, LB Daryl Smith, OT Michael Oher, SS James Ihedigbo, CB Corey Graham, TE Ed Dickson.

Where they stand: The biggest hole on the team is offensive tackle. Monroe and Oher, the Ravens' starting tackles from last season, are both unrestricted free agents. The Ravens want to get bigger on the interior of the offensive line, which indicates they want to upgrade from center Gino Gradkowski. The other need on offense is a wide receiver or tight end who can convert third downs and make yards after the catch. In other words, they are looking for someone to complement wide receiver Torrey Smith beyond tight end Dennis Pitta, who was re-signed this week. On defense, the priorities are at middle linebacker and free safety. The Ravens want to bring back Smith, but they will need to replace him if they can't. With the Ravens moving Matt Elam to strong safety, they need to add an athletic safety whose strength is coverage.

What to expect: With $26 million in salary-cap space, the Ravens need to get a left tackle, center, wide receiver, middle linebacker and free safety in free agency. Baltimore is trying hard to keep Monroe and Smith before free agency begins. If the Ravens fail to retain Monroe, left tackle has to be the focus early in free agency. The contingency plan is to either re-sign Oher (which isn't ideal because he's better at right tackle) or move Kelechi Osemele from left guard to left tackle. The options at center aren't as appealing after Cleveland put the transition tag on Alex Mack. The other free-agent centers are 20-something and middle of the road: Green Bay's Evan Dietrich-Smith, New Orleans' Brian De La Puente and New England's Ryan Wendell. At wide receiver, the top targets should be Denver's Eric Decker, New England's Julian Edelman, Seattle's Golden Tate and New York Giants' Hakeem Nicks, who has been linked to the Ravens since the end of the season. When it comes to free safety, the biggest name is Buffalo's Jairus Byrd. But Miami's Chris Clemons and Indianapolis' Antoine Bethea are solid starters as well.
Let's continue the ranking of the Baltimore Ravens' 13 unrestricted free agents:

No. 4: Arthur Jones

Position: Defensive tackle

The good: Jones steadily got better each season. A fifth-round draft pick in 2010 (157th overall player taken), he was arguably the best defensive lineman on the Ravens last season. Jones is a top-notch run-defender who can get to the quarterback. His 8.5 sacks over the past two seasons is two more than Haloti Ngata in that same span.

The bad: He was a full-time starter for one season, totaling 20 starts in four seasons. No one knows how effective he'll be without Ngata drawing double teams. Jones also had a heart issue at the start of the 2013 season, which caused him to miss the season opener.

The bottom line: Jones is generally ranked among the top 25 free agents available. He's going to get paid but likely not by the Ravens. The Dolphins and Jets have been linked as potential interested teams. The Ravens showed last year they weren't going to overpay to keep players they developed when they let Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe sign elsewhere.
Here is the sixth of a 10-part series breaking down the Jacksonville Jaguars' free-agency needs, position by position:

Defensive tackle

Who’s on the roster: Brandon Deaderick, Abry Jones, Kyle Love, Sen'Derrick Marks, Roy Miller, Jordan Miller and Drake Nevis.

Analysis: The Jaguars are in good shape with Miller and Marks, who signed a four-year extension in December after having the best season of his career. Miller’s play was impacted by his chronic shoulder injury but offseason surgery should fix that issue and he should be the same player he was in Tampa Bay before he signed with the Jaguars in 2013. It’s after those two that the Jaguars have problems. Jones and Miller are young and Nevis has not developed after being drafted in the third round in 2011 by Indianapolis. Love was with the team in training camp, was cut, and then brought back late in the season because of injuries.

NFL free agents of interest: Tony McDaniel, Earl Mitchell, Lamarr Houston and Arthur Jones.

Need meter: 8. Marks gives the Jaguars an athletic tackle who can also rush the passer while Miller is a prototypical run-stuffer. The Jaguars need to upgrade behind Marks and Miller and they will look for help in the draft as well. A four-man tackle rotation would help limit the amount of snaps Marks plays. He was on the field for 805 snaps in 2013, which is too many.

Ravens' impressive sack streak

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The last time the Baltimore Ravens didn't sack the quarterback twice in a game was the team's last trip to Cleveland.

Since that Nov. 4 win against the Browns, the Ravens have produced multiple sacks in 15 straight games. That's the current longest streak in the NFL and the longest by a team since the New York Giants had two-plus sacks in 16 straight games from 2010 to 2011.

During the Ravens' 15-game streak, their defense has totaled 49 sacks, which is tied for fourth-most in that span. The challenge for offenses is to figure out where to focus the pass protection's attention. The Ravens have had 18 players record at least a half of a sack in this streak, which includes 10 linebackers, five defensive linemen and three safeties.

The most pressure has come from off the edges. Terrell Suggs has had nine sacks over this span, and Elvis Dumervil and Paul Kruger have combined for 12. The Ravens, though, have collapsed the middle, too. In this streak, interior linemen Art Jones (7.5 sacks) and Haloti Ngata (3.5) have totaled 11 sacks.

"The key is trying to get the best matchups you can and put the offense in the worst situation they can be," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "When you have a guy who is the weak link, then you try to get your best guy on that weak link. Just like offense tries to get a receiver on a linebacker. It's just the reverse."

In Week 2 of this season, the Ravens sacked Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden five times and hit him a dozen times. But the Browns held up better last Sunday, when they faced the NFL's best pass rush in the NFL. The Chiefs sacked quarterback Jason Campbell just once.

“They have not changed their schemes," coach John Harbaugh said about the Browns. "They’re probably blocking a little bit better. Jason [Campbell] did a nice job getting the ball out quickly.”

If Campbell holds onto the ball too long, the Ravens will likely extend their sack streak.
Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher hasn't missed a game in his NFL career, and that streak likely won't come to an end Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Oher, who had full practices all week, was listed as probable on the injury report.

Defensive lineman Arthur Jones (illness) and backup running back Bernard Pierce (thigh) are considered questionable after being limited all week. If both can't play, Marcus Spears would start in place of Jones, and recently signed Shaun Draughn would fill in for Pierce.

Wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), nose tackle Brandon Williams (toe), and center Ryan Jensen (foot) didn't practice this week and are doubtful.

Wide receiver-returner Jacoby Jones (knee) was declared out earlier in the week.
Baltimore Ravens starting defensive lineman Arthur Jones has "a chance" of playing Sunday after missing the past two weeks with a heart condition, coach John Harbaugh said Friday.

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Jones revealed this week that he hasn't played since the Aug. 22 preseason game because of a racing heartbeat that would not settle down. He was cleared to return to practice this week and has been limited in workouts. Marcus Spears replaced Jones in the starting lineup in the season opener.

"He didn't get too out of shape," Harbaugh said. "He's progressing well. We're going to have to see how he feels on Sunday. He looked OK at practice. But that's something we're going to have to see how he's feeling on Sunday. So, he's got a chance."

Harbaugh also addressed the team's decision to place rookie wide receiver Aaron Mellette on injured reserve Wednesday. There were questions about Mellette's knee injury, because he wasn't on the injury report last week and he didn't play in the season opener.

According to Harbaugh, Mellette's knee bothered him throughout training camp, and the seventh-round pick had to sit out when the knee swelled up. Harbaugh said Mellette learned he had two cartilage tears after seeing a specialist.

"It's not major, major," Harbaugh said. "But they're four-to-six week deals, and we don't really have time for that in terms of holding a roster spot. So, we figured we'd go and make the roster move and get him healthy."
Sometimes fans get overexcited about offseason signings. Apparently players do as well.

Hours after the Baltimore Ravens added pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil, defensive lineman Arthur Jones told The Baltimore Sun: "That's awesome. It's like a dream team in the making."

Hold on, Art. Getting Dumervil is the best move the Ravens have made this season and it's the most significant move in the AFC North this offseason. But this isn't a "dream team in the making." It's not even close.

This offseason, the Super Bowl champions have parted ways with nearly half of their defense as well as their leading receiver. If anything, the addition of Dumervil ends a nightmarish start to free agency. That's all. Baltimore still has just one proven starting inside linebacker (and Jameel McClain isn't cleared medically yet) and one marginal starter at safety (James Ihedigbo). So, it's not time to start getting fitted for next year's rings.

Also, could the NFL have passed the "no dream team proclamation" rule after they did away with the tuck rule? Both are equally annoying. You would think NFL players would have learned how these exaggerated quotes can come back and haunt a team. Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles.

Where the Ravens have really improved themselves is in the front seven on defense. If McClain can get cleared from last year's spinal cord injury and Baltimore addresses the other inside linebacker spot in the draft, the Ravens will have a better defensive front, especially after bolstering the line with Chris Canty and Marcus Spears.

But the Ravens aren't becoming another dream team. And, honestly, I'm not sure anyone on the Ravens outside of Jones thinks so.

AFC East Super Bowl connections

January, 28, 2013
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It is Super Bowl week in New Orleans, as the AFC champion Baltimore Ravens and NFC champion San Francisco 49ers take over the bayou.

Obviously, the AFC East will not participate in the biggest game of the season. But there are some Super Bowl connections from this division to keep an eye on.

Here is your handy Super Bowl guide as it pertains to the AFC East:
  • Future Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss is back in the Super Bowl for the first time since getting there as a member of the New England Patriots following the 2007 season. Moss recorded a career-high 23 touchdowns that year with Tom Brady and played three seasons total in New England. Moss is now a role player with the 49ers and has 28 receptions this season.
  • Baltimore backup safety James Ihedigbo is in the Super Bowl for the second straight year. Last season he made it as a safety for New England. This year’s Ihedigbo is in as a member of Baltimore. Ihedigbo also played with the New York Jets for three seasons.
  • Former Buffalo Bills safety Donte Whitner is now a standout player for the 49ers. Whitner is a former Bills first-round pick who spent five seasons in Buffalo. He bolted Buffalo to play with a winning team in San Francisco and now is playing in his first Super Bowl. Whitner also played in last year’s NFC Championship Game.
  • Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones never played in the AFC East. But he is the older brother of New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones. The two brothers played this year and Arthur got the best of the younger Chandler both times.
  • San Francisco wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. is a former first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins. Ginn played three seasons in Miami and was mostly a disappointment. He caught 128 receptions but did most of his damage on kick returns for the Dolphins.
Arthur Jones/Chandler JonesUS PresswireOnly one of the Jones brothers, Arthur (left) and Chandler, will be able to reach his goal of getting to his first Super Bowl.

The big brother got the best of the little brother in the first meeting. But this time the stakes are higher when siblings Arthur Jones of the Baltimore Ravens face Chandler Jones and the New England Patriots.

A trip to the Super Bowl is on the line for the Jones brothers in Sunday's AFC Championship Game. Baltimore beat New England, 31-30, in Week 3 of the regular season.

Arthur, 26, currently has bragging rights in the family. But the oldest brother knows it's more important to win this weekend.

Whoever advances has a golden opportunity to bring the first Super Bowl ring to the Jones family.

"Absolutely, I rubbed it in his face a little bit," Arthur said Wednesday of beating Chandler in the regular season. "But the bragging rights are not going to matter if I don't win this game. This is a lot bigger game and a lot more at stake than last game."

The good news is one of the Jones brothers will be playing in his first Super Bowl on Feb. 3. The bad news is the other Jones brother will be heartbroken after getting so close in the AFC title game.

However, the first champion among the Jones brothers has already been crowned in a different sport: mixed martial arts. Middle brother Jon Jones, 25, became the UFC light heavyweight champion in 2011 and still holds the title. Jon, when reached on a promotional tour for "The Ultimate Fighter," said this weekend is another great moment for the Jones family.

"I’m so happy for my brothers and I’m excited to see the game this weekend," Jon Jones said. "I know they both want to play in the Super Bowl, so I expect them to play the best games of their lives. I’m proud of Arthur and Chandler.

"I know it’s not easy to make it this far in the NFL, but they’ve both dedicated their lives to becoming the best football players they can be. I can’t wait to see who makes it to the Super Bowl."

There are very few secrets Chandler Jones, 22, keeps from his oldest brother. But this is one of those weeks when he will.

Chandler tweaked his ankle in New England's playoff victory over the Houston Texans, but he did practice on Wednesday. The two close-knit brothers have talked this week. Yet, Chandler is doing his best Bill Belichick impersonation by not informing Arthur of his status.

Still, Arthur knows his younger brother better than anyone and expects Chandler on the field Sunday considering how much is at stake.

“He’s a hard worker, he’s a kid that has heart, and he’s going to be out there no matter what, I think,” Arthur Jones said. “But who knows? I’m not a doctor. I don’t know what’s going on and he’s doing a good job of not telling me.”

Regardless of the outcome, it’s been a great year for the Jones brothers. Chandler and Arthur both made it to the conference title game, while Jon won both of his championship fights in 2012.

It will take Sunday's AFC Championship Game to determine which Jones brother will finish the season at Super Bowl XLVII.

“It’s definitely a blessing for my family, and it’s definitely a unique situation,” Arthur Jones said. “It’s going to be cool. So why not us?”

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