So far, this season hasn't been pretty for Jacoby Jones. Financially, Jones is doing quite fine after receiving a guaranteed $4.5 million from a four-year, $12 million deal signed in the offseason, but his play on the field hasn't lived up to those standards.
Perhaps the best title for Jones' role on the team is "playmaker," not necessarily solely as wide receiver or kick returner. Jones isn't a wideout worthy of a $12 million deal and even though he's arguably the best kick returner in the game, no team spends a tremendous amount of money on pure kick returners - there needs to be some sort of balance.
On offense, Jones has more dropped passes (5), than he does receptions (4). Jones hasn't been able to display his signature dance moves in the end zone this season and has only amounted 50 yards receiving. The team may be able to swallow his lack of production on offense, but Jones' previous success may have hurt him at any chance of redemption in the return game.
Jones only has six returns to his credit this year, tying him for 17th in the league. With returns down as a whole due to rule changes for player safety, it's a common occurrence for kicks to sail over the returners head out of bounds. Even if a team does kick it short, they'll often try to kick away from Jones given how much of a weapon he is in the return game.
Last week's loss against the Colts was partially to blame on Jones for two of his mistakes in the return game, which was one of the worst he's had as a member of the Ravens. Jones first muffed a punt, allowing the Colts to recover on the 22 yard line. Later in the game, Jones would field a kickoff near the back of the end zone and return it only to the Ravens 14 yard line. Fans will remember Jones' 108 yard touchdown in the Super Bowl (which should have capped off his MVP nod) so Jones is certainly capable of making big returns but clearly he was trying to make something out of nothing and let his desire to make a big play get in the way of good judgement.
The Ravens have invested in Jones, so he'll likely have a longer leash than someone whom would replace him. At this point, you can't criticize quarterback Joe Flacco if he doesn't have confidence in Jones to catch a pass on offense and due to his previous success, Jones will have limited chances in the return game.
If Jones wants to see even half of that $12 million extension, something has got to give. Given how great of a person he is in the locker room and off the field, it would be in everyone's best interest if he started to show up on Sundays or else #12 could have a different last name on the jersey next season.
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