Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.
October 14, 2012
Jacoby Jones is a weapon and should continue to be the team's primary kickoff returner.
If you really needed proof about the kind of straight-ahead speed that Jacoby Jones brings to the table, you got it in his 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Sunday's 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys. By the time that Jones got 15 yards out of the end zone, it was clear that no one was going to touch him. The Ravens plowed open a lane for him -- Anthony Allen and Sean Considine had key blocks -- and Jones was decisive while exploding through.
"Honestly, in practice, we had one that hit the same way, so I already had a vision," Jones explained later. "So when I caught it, I found Anthony Allen, and he said, 'Follow me.' He was my eyes. He led me to daylight. That thing spread like the Dead Sea." He toyed with Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, who chugged as fast as he could after him, but as he started to decelerate as he approached the goal line, there was no chance Bailey would catch Jones. Maybe the only player who could was Torrey Smith, who mirrored his fellow wide-out by gleefully racing down the opposite sideline.
All 11 Ravens deserve credit for Jones tying an NFL record with his 108-yard return (it was 5 yards longer than the previous franchise long for a kickoff return set by David Reed in 2010). The Ravens have said they felt like they were close to breaking a big one, and finally did, putting an exclamation point on the obvious statement that they are much better on special teams this season than they were in 2011.
"It was the difference in the game," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It was pretty special."
The addition of veterans like Jones, Considine and Corey Graham has really paid dividends so far, but it's now clearer that they can get more out of Jones. Jones has been the primary punt returner, but Deonte Thompson had been handling the kickoffs before he was inactive Sunday. That should probably change after Sunday. Jones, who entered the game with three career touchdowns on punt returns and one on a kickoff, averaged 53 yards a return, with 51 combined on his other two returns. I know the Ravens don't want him to be gassed when they start drives in the no-huddle, but more big returns will be worth it.
"I play my role however it comes," Jones said. "Whatever they want me to do, I'm ready to do it."