Career Day For Jones In Secondary

Posted Dec 23, 2012

Pro Bowl candidate leads the defense with three takeaways.

There has been a groundswell of late among Dolphins fans and other fan voters for the Pro Bowl to get safety Reshad Jones more consideration. His three takeaways today in Miami’s 24-10 win over the Buffalo Bills definitely won’t hurt.

The third-year safety and fifth-round draft pick out of Georgia was everywhere against the Bills, recovering two fumbles and coming up with the game-clinching interception near his own end zone with 1:20 remaining on the clock. Jones seemed to know where the ball was going before the snap and capitalized on his instincts the second the ball left Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s hands.

“I just told the guys somebody’s got to make a play right now because we need to stop these guys from getting in the end zone,” said Jones, who also broke up a pass and had a quarterback hit. “We had a good pass rush, the front seven did a tremendous job and I just came up with the big play. I was just playing my technique and it was just instinct. I don’t know how I made that play. It was a crazy play to make and I just made it.”

As soon as the Pro Bowl questions started in his direction, Jones turned modest and stressed how much more important the victory was. The only reference he made to the potential trip to Hawaii after the season was that he wanted to finish strong and let the chips fall wherever they’re going to fall.

Jones’ teammates weren’t afraid to sing his praises, however, and the constant theme was one of expectation and not surprise. Linebackers Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby, the leaders of that front seven, were the first to talk about Jones’ knack for being in the right place at the right time.

“When the opportunities present themselves you’ve got to make the play. He does that,” said Burnett, who finished second behind Dansby in tackles with eight tackles, all solo.

The Dolphins finished with four turnovers on the afternoon, including a sack/fumble by defensive end Cameron Wake. That was his career-high 15th sack of the season and Jones recovered that fumble.

The first fumble recovery by Jones came when the game was still scoreless and the Bills were driving for the first score. Cornerback Sean Smith, who left the game in the second half with a knee injury, stripped Bills receiver Stevie Johnson at the Miami 17, Jones picked up the loose ball at the 14 and returned it 24 yards out to the 38. The offense then drove 62 yards and found the end zone on Reggie Bush’s 17-yard touchdown reception, putting a big smile on the face of Head Coach Joe Philbin. Miami had only one takeaway in the prior seven games.

“We’ve been stressing it. We haven’t given up on it. We practice it on a daily basis,” Philbin said of the multiple takeaways. “We emphasize it with the staff and the players. It’s good to see it pay off a little bit. We finally got a sack-fumble. We’ve had a bunch of those but we haven’t been able to come up with them. We’ve had sacks with the ball on the ground on occasion.”

There was a strong message sent to the defense during the week concerning the need to generate turnovers and points off of those turnovers down the stretch. Jones clearly took that message to heart and accepted a leadership role in the secondary with so many new faces back there, especially after Smith left the game.

“We’ve been getting fumbles but Coach was telling us we needed to capitalize on getting the ball and giving our offense a chance to get in good field position and that’s what we did,” he said. “We came out collectively and Coach said we want to play our best game of the year and I think everybody went out with that mindset and we got it done.”

Jones just happened to get it done a little better than others.
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