Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones has obviously helped the team a great deal with his three TD returns, but is he taking unnecessary chances?
The Baltimore Ravens signed WR Jacoby Jones to be their third wide receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. They also felt he could play a part in the team's return game, as kickoff returner David Reed had been a bust and to save the wear and tear on CB Lardarius Webb. Webb was lost for the year with another torn ACL and David Reed was only just returned to the roster.
However, there is no way anyone expected Jones to have the success that he has had in his first season with the team. Two kickoff returns and one punt return for touchdowns have more than paid for the investment the team made in him after he was released by the Houston Texans. Jacoby is the first player in NFL history to have two kickoff returns for touchdowns over 105 yards.
Jones now has 18 kickoff returns for close to a 35 yards per return average, fifth in the league but first for anyone with at least eight returns. He also has 22 punt returns for an 11 yard/return average, tied for 16th overall in the NFL, but 8th for players with at east 15 chances.
Add in a team fifth-best 22 pass receptions for 307 yards (14 yards/catch) and one TD and you have one of the most complete players on the team, after RB Ray Rice of course.
However, regardless of his success, is Jones now becoming so sure of himself that he may be hurting the team as much as helping it? Since his third TD return, Jones now seems to be hell-bent on returning just about every kick he cn get his hands on.
In Sunday's 16-13 OT win over the San Diego Chargers, Jones had two kickoff returns for a 23 yard average and seven punt returns for an eight yard per return average. Unfortunately, he probably should have not returned at least three of the nine balls he call in the return game.
One of the kickoff returns was caught in the middle of the end zone, five yards deep, and only returned 21 yards to the 16-yard line. A touchback would have had the team start at the 20-yard line. Two of his punt returns should have been let go with all probability that they would have bounced into the end zone, also for touchbacks to start at the 20-yard line as well.
In the first half, he fielded one at the Ravens three-yard line and returned it only nine yards to leve the teamin a hole starting at its own 12-yard line. Another was caught at the ten and only brought back one yard, setting the teamup at their own eleven, dangerously deep at their own end of the field.
Even kids are taught to put their heels on their 10-yard line and if you have to step backwards, you let the ball fall for the better chance of a touchback and a much better starting field position. For now, Jacoby Jones returns have only helped this team but if he continues at this rate of dangerously-selfish opportunities, one day it could result in the same game-changing play that helped the Ravens beat the Texans in last year's playoffs when Jones muffed a punt deep in his own territory that he should have obviously let go untouched.