Had the Pro Bowl voting not ended with two games left to be played on the 2012 schedule, Miami Dolphins safety
Jones is getting ready for his fourth NFL training camp and is fully aware that he will not be sneaking up on anybody in 2013. Even though he did not join teammates
“I can only get better,” said Jones, who had a team-leading four interceptions to go along with two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, nine passes defensed and one sack. “I got the ball rolling in the right direction and I just told myself I want to be recognized as one of the premiere safeties in this league. I think last year I went out and showed that to the world and I just want to keep it going.”
Exactly half of Jones’ 94 total tackles came against Miami’s three AFC East rivals – the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and New York Jets. The Bills had had the most nightmares, watching him dominate to the tune of 14 tackles (11 solo) and a forced fumble in front of their home fans on a Thursday night and then six days after the Pro Bowl voting closed, surrendering two fumbles and an interception to him in a 24-10 home win for the Dolphins.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a future Hall-of-Famer, was picked off by Jones in a competitive 23-16 Patriots win at Sun Life Stadium, snapping his streak of consecutive passes without an interception at 202. Jones’ only sack of the year also came on Brady in that game, and in his two meetings with the Jets he combined for 11 tackles (eight solo) and two passes defensed.
“I think he’s going to be a very, very good player in this league for a long time,” defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said.
The Dolphins chose Jones in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of the University of Georgia and knew he had very good ball skills and instincts. He spent his first two seasons working on rounding out his game to become a complete safety capable of defending the run and being a reliable tackler in the open field, learning from veteran Pro Bowl safety Yeremiah Bell.
Last season, his first as a full-time starter in the secondary with fellow safety
Jones will be counted on to work well with the newcomers and be a leader again, especially in the early part of the season when Miami faces dangerous quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Joe Flacco in four of the first five games.
“It’s a tough league and it’s tough every Sunday when you go out and play, but we know who we’re going to face and the quarterbacks we have to see,” Jones said. “It always comes down to the DBs and winning and losing is always predicated on us and winning our one-on-one battles. I think we’ll be ready for the challenge.”
Clearly, Jones proved last year that he is ready for any challenge.