Brad Jones, the Green Bay Packers would be better without you


Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Brad Jones has not not endeared himself with fans during the early going of the 2014 season – and it didn’t get much better after Sunday’s heart-stopping win Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

So in came Brad Jones, much to the chagrin of Packers fans everywhere.

Thanks to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense, Green Bay pulled out a 27-24 win over the Dolphins when tight end Andrew Quarless caught the game-winning touchdown in the right front corner of the end zone with three seconds remaining.

But without the last second heroics of Rodgers and company, the story line of this game could have easily been the disastrous performance by the defense in the second half.

Clearly, the Dolphins made some major adjustments at halftime and it took the Packers until the final Dolphins’ possession to get a stop – and one could argue that without the effort of the defense on that possession that Rodgers would have never had the opportunity to save the day.

This is true.

But leading up to that stop, the Packers’ second half defense was soft at best and just plain bad worst.

Brad Jones.

Raymond T. Rivard

Tied to the defense’s demise was the loss of their starting cornerbacks on consecutive plays. Sam Shields, in a strange set of circumstances, appeared to have suffered his injury to his knee between plays when he was seen limping as the Dolphins were walking to the line of scrimmage and then sat down when he realized he couldn’t get a timeout or off the field in time.

On the next play, Tramon Williams had his ankle rolled up on when Brad Jones landed on him during a tackle.

In addition to the two cornerbacks, the Packers also lost inside linebacker Jamari Lattimore to a neck injury.

So in came Brad Jones, much to the chagrin of Packers fans everywhere.

Not only did Jones grade out after the game as the worst defender on the field (Pro Football Focus graded him at -1.8), but he also missed two tackles and picked up an illegal hands to the face during a sack of Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill. And that’s all in addition to the unfortunate situation when Williams was injured.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that Jones nearly lost this game single-handedly, but he always seems to show up when the Packers defense is failing. Is there a correlation here? Only the coaches are going to know for sure, but as a casual observer it sure seems that something’s going on – and it doesn’t appear to be a good thing for the Green Bay Packers defense.

Heading into the season, one of my biggest concerns was the lack of action in solidifying the inside linebacker position. Precariously thin at the position the Packers are now feeling the fallout from General Manager Ted Thompson‘s insistence on ignoring the need.

At this point, we don’t know the seriousness of any of the injuries that were suffered yesterday. We will know more after Head Coach Mike McCarthy addresses the media late this afternoon.

In the meantime, the Packers will have to start addressing the needs with which they are faced as they begin preparations for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

If those preparations involve Brad Jones, we can only hope he figures out his role and improves his play … because if this pattern continues, Jones may be the odd man out sometime soon.