Adam Jones is still getting used to the altitude in Denver, but it didn’t take him any time to acclimate to the winning culture.
“Hard to breathe around here,” he laughed. “So, I’m getting used to the altitude. All in all, I feel good. I love the locker room - I love the guys in the locker room. I’m happy to be here.”
The 34-year-old cornerback knows he is in the twilight of his NFL career - and he really has only one major goal.
To win at least one playoff game.
Spending eight of the last 11 years with the Cincinnati Bengals, Jones has been to five playoff games, only to be denied in each of them.
“I’m about to turn 35 and the best thing I can do right now is at least win a playoff game,” he laughed. “I haven’t won a playoff game, and I’ve been in the league 12 years!”
And the 5-foot-10 corner knows Denver is a good place to end that streak. Asked why he picked the Mile High city, Jones hilariously asked back, “why not?”
“If you want to win, this is the place to be. Great coaching staff, great owner, great locker room, good team,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why not.
And aside from the mutual need by the Broncos to have depth at the position, Jones has some history - good history - with coach Vance Joseph, who was the defensive backs coach in Cincy during some of Jones’ best years.
“V.J. has been more of a big brother and a coach to me. He’s called and checked in on me over the years. Since he left, we’ve kept in touch,” Jones said. “I have a lot of respect for V.J.”
Joseph has a lot of respect for his former player too, saying it took Jones a while to agree to changing his style of play in order to improve, but he eventually he did.
“He wouldn’t change the way he played the first year. But, the second year, he really conformed and changed how he played, let me coach him and he made a Pro Bowl, and he received a long-term contract with Cincy,” Joseph said. “I enjoyed coaching him because he is competitive. Every game we played, he was ready to go. Every day for work, he was ready to go.”
Jones is probably known more for fighting on the field and getting in trouble off of it than by his Pro Bowl numbers in 2014 and 2015.
But the past is the past, and Jones isn’t dwelling on it.
“I’m one of the ones who don’t mind telling kids and people about my stories, the mistakes I’ve made. I don’t have a shield; my life is a glass life,” Jones said. “I’m not here to try to take any shine, I promise you guys that. I’m here to help and lead in the best way I can.”
Broncos’ nose tackle Domata Peko played with Jones in Cincinnati, and he loves the signing.
“I’m really excited about the signing. We’re kind dinged up a little bit in the cornerback position,” Peko said, noting that with the loss of Aqib Talib, Jones’ attitude on the field will be a great addition. “He brings a lot of energy, he brings a lot of attitude and toughness, and that’s what I really like about him. He’s someone that on Sunday you want him on your team. He’s definitely going to ride with the defense and bring a little attitude to that spot.”
Last season, in 176 coverage snaps, Adam Jones was only thrown at 30 times.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 26, 2018
15 of those throws were completed for 142 yards.
The .81 yards allowed per coverage snap ranked 13th in the NFL (min 150 snaps), just one spot behind Chris Harris Jr.
The head coach believes that whole-heartedly, distinguishing between Jones’ “football character” and his “personal character” - adding that the former has always been high and the latter has improved greatly, even if the hard way.
“I’ve coached him for two seasons, and his football character is A-plus. He was a team captain for us, he made a Pro Bowl for me, he’s great in meetings, he’s great in the locker room, he’s a great leader. He’s played a long time in this league,” Joseph said. “Now, personal character, we all know the background. He would even acknowledge as a young guy he made some mistakes, but he’s paid for every mistake he’s made. This guy has been through a lot in his life—and obviously it was his own doings—but he’s paid for those mistakes. He’s matured...he’s here to help us win football games.”
Jones believes he’s matured too - and is playing smarter on the field as well.
“I’m playing a lot smarter now. When I was young, I played with all athletic ability. Now, I pretty much know everything about the game. I can tell you from splits what routes we’re going to get. I can tell you if it’s I-formation or if it’s max protection. If you release outside, you’re only going to get two routes: a comeback and a go,” Jones said, proving his football IQ. “Those things come with time and learning the game. But I would say that my mental part of the game has improved, and that’s what’s keeping me playing right now.”
The one-year deal Jones signed on Sunday will see the cornerback third on the cornerback depth chart but a likely possibility for the punt return team too - at least occasionally.
And the veteran is A-OK with that.
“I’m very comfortable with it, and I love it. I have a knack for it,” he said. “I’m one of those guys that don’t believe that the first guy can ever catch me. We’ll see when my number is called, and I promise you I’ll lead by example.”
What do you think of the Adam Jones’ signing?
This poll is closed
Love it - need more experience, depth there
Not a fan of his past and not sure I want him on our team
Indifferent - until he gets an INT and then I’ll love it!