Josh Jones needs to step up for the Packers in 2018

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: Josh Jones /

Morgan Burnett is now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Josh Jones needs to fill his shoes and step up for the Green Bay Packers defense.

A longtime member of the Green Bay Packers, Morgan Burnett, has departed for the steel city. When I heard the news, I was shocked. I expected the Packers to pursue one of the leaders of the team in free agency.

He was a mentor for many of the young players in the locker room. Players like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Casey Hayward and Damarious Randall looked up to him. All have since become key pieces even though Clinton-Dix is the only one left in Green Bay.

The Packers defense struggled whenever he couldn’t compete. The difference of play with and without Burnett on the field was so obvious. This defense needed Burnett. Unfortunately, he left and joined the Steelers.

The Packers prepared for this. They knew Burnett was coming up on a contract year.

What has Jones done so far?

The Green Bay Packers took NC State alum, Josh Jones, in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Jones has a similar play style compared to Burnett. Both athletes are obviously safeties, but they can play linebacker too.

He didn’t live up to expectations in 2017, however. Then again, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy recently had this to say about Jones:

If Jones focuses on just one aspect of his game, that being safety, there is the opportunity for him to become a key contributor on defense.

It’s not like all of 2017 was a failure for Jones though. Like his older counterpart, he didn’t fill up the stat sheets on weekly basis.

The one game that does stand out is the 12 tackles and two sacks versus Cincinnati from early in the season.

It was a shining moment for him. If not for his amazing performance, the Packers may not have squeaked out that win in overtime.

He also came down with a huge interception in overtime in Cleveland. It would eventually give the Packers another huge win.

What can we expect from Jones in 2018?

He has been able to make an impact from time to time. I just listed two examples from his rookie season. He is capable, at times, of being an impact on the field. He just has to put it all together now.

His time will come. Even though the Packers look to add more help in free agency and the draft, Jones needs to step up in 2018.

He may not end up being the starting strong safety in 2018 or anytime in the near future, but the Packers need help any way they can get it.

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Obviously, if Jones is the starting safety, he will need to produce week in and week out, like Morgan Burnett.