Redskins

Bengals CB Jones: No love for Cowboys

Bengals CB Jones: No love for Cowboys

CINCINNATI (AP) Adam ``Pacman'' Jones loves Cowboys owner Jerry Jones but not his team, which let him go after one season that was disappointing all-around and became a turning point for his troubled career.

The 29-year-old cornerback has revived his career with Cincinnati, earning a regular role on defense and special teams. The Bengals (7-5) have won four in a row heading into their game against the Cowboys (6-6) on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

It'll be Jones' first time playing against the Cowboys since they released him following a 2008 season that included a six-game suspension for getting into an alcohol-related scuffle with a bodyguard provided by the team.

``I have nothing against them,'' said Jones, who is friends with cornerback Mike Jenkins. ``I have no love for the Cowboys. I have all the love for the Bengals.''

Jones was suspended repeatedly during his first three seasons in the league with Tennessee, a team that eventually gave up on him, as well. The Cowboys took a chance, trading a fourth-round pick to get him before the 2008 season.

Jones played in nine games for the Cowboys, starting six, but didn't snare an interception. He returned 21 punts but averaged only 4.5 yards. He got into the scuffle that drew another suspension and ended his stay in Dallas.

The Cowboys waived him on Feb. 9, 2009, and he was out of the league for a year before Cincinnati brought him aboard for the 2010 season. Jones has settled down and turned into a mainstay on defense, on the field for at least 70 percent of the plays during Cincinnati's four wins.

Jones also is third in the NFL with an average of 15.3 yards per punt return. He ran one back 81 yards for a touchdown against Cleveland.

``I'm happy that the Bengals did me right,'' Jones said. ``A little time, a little confidence and the opportunity. They've been patient with me through the ups and downs. Now that I get the time, I'm getting a lot of confidence.''

Coach Marvin Lewis said Jones has been receptive to coaching and putting in the time to become better.

``He is under foot daily, in both defense and special teams, and that's helpful,'' Lewis said. ``Anybody who is worth his salt and wants to be a great player in the NFL needs to be coached and wants to be coached. I think that is the step that he has really warmed to over his time here with us.''

Lewis said Jones ``was longing for that, he needed that'' when he signed with Cincinnati, which has expanded his role as he has grown.

``We're really getting into the inner guy that's got so much ability and talent,'' Lewis said.

Jones didn't want to rehash his time in Dallas, although he said he's so eager for the game that he probably won't sleep on Saturday night.

``I just want to win,'' he said. ``Whatever we need to do to win the game, we must do it. I don't have any bad blood over there, but I don't care about them.''

He said he's still fond of their owner.

``I love Jerry with all my heart,'' he said. ``I'm not going to get into what I don't like about them, but it's not about Jerry. He's done a lot for me.''

Jones said it's a different feeling than he has for Tennessee, where he was close to coach Jeff Fisher.

``In Dallas, a lot of (stuff) is fairytale, I should say,'' Jones said. ``It's not real life. They don't tell you how it really is. I have nothing against Tennessee. My coach down there is a great friend and father figure to me. I have no hard feelings against none of them, but down deep, this is the one you want.''

---

NOTES: The Bengals signed kicker Josh Brown, who played five seasons with Seattle and four with St. Louis. He kicked for the Jets during preseason and was released on Aug. 27. They needed a kicker after Mike Nugent hurt his right calf during practice on Wednesday. ... C Jeff Faine was waived to open a spot for Brown, an indication that C Kyle Cook is ready to return on Sunday against the Cowboys. Cook hurt his right ankle in the final preseason game and needed surgery, prompting the Bengals to sign Faine. Cook returned to full practice on Wednesday for the first time. The Bengals will have to make another roster move to activate him off injured reserve. ... TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring), RB Cedric Peerman (ankle) and CB Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion) also missed practice on Thursday.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Need to Know: What’s the outlook for the Redskins’ secondary in 2018?

dunbar-vs.-cardinals-usat.png
USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: What’s the outlook for the Redskins’ secondary in 2018?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 25, 31 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Fan questions—The secondary

To be sure, there are reasons to be concerned about the secondary and we’ll get into those in a bit. But the popular notion that the secondary struggled last year is not accurate.

Do you want to go standard stats? They were ninth in the league in passing yards allowed and 10th in opponent passer rating last year.

Do you prefer more advanced analytics? They were sixth in defensive passing DVOA and 11th in adjusted net yards per attempt.

That’s not a great pass defense but it was a pretty good one. It should be noted that they also benefited from a solid pass rush; they were seventh in the league in sack percentage. Still, you don’t finish in the top third of the league in pass defense without at least a competent secondary.

The question is, will it remain competent? Kendall Fuller was indeed a key player, one of the best slot corners in the league. Bashaud Breeland was inconsistent, but he did shine on occasion. But the fact that he is still available as a free agent indicates what the league thinks of him, problems passing the physical notwithstanding. Those two will have to be replaced.

It is likely that Quinton Dunbar will take Breeland’s spot on the outside. That is at worst a lateral exchange if not an improvement. Dunbar has been working for three years to get this opportunity and there is confidence among the coaches and, perhaps more importantly, the players that he is ready.

Orlando Scandrick is the probable starter at slot. He is a downgrade from Fuller, no question about it. If he is healthy—a big if—Scandrick is good enough to get the job done. Don’t let the star he wore on the side of his helmet for so many years blind you to the fact that he’s a solid player.

The depth at slot consists of second-year player Josh Holsey, who played all of nine snaps on defense last year, and rookie Greg Stroman. That’s not ideal but most of the other teams in the NFL have a similar depth chart.

The wild card who could be the difference between this secondary being better than last year or worse is Fabian Moreau. He played only 59 defensive snaps as a rookie but he did show off his speed and hard-hitting style on some of his 349 special teams snaps. During the offseason practices that were open to the media, Moreau was mostly Josh Norman’s backup at left cornerback. The feeling is that he won’t remain a reserve. We will have to see how things sort out during training camp.

There should be some improvement at safety if Montae Nicholson figures out how to stay on the field in his second year. If he struggles with injuries again and Deshazor Everett has to line up alongside D.J. Swearinger for a good chunk of the season, the safeties are no worse off because that's what happened last year. 

The bottom line is that a secondary that was good last year may take a step down in 2018 but the decline should not be steep. And if Moreau can be the player the organization thought he could be when they used a third-round pick for him, it could be just as good if not better.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler.

Tandler on Twitter

I tweeted this in response to a discussion about the relative popularity of the NFL and NBA. Albert Breer’s tweet on the TV ratings for the leagues’ respective drafts was the nexus of the discussion.

Timeline  

Redskins cornerback Josh Holsey was born on this date in 1994.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 31
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 45
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 59

The Redskins last played a game 176 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 76 days.

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

usatsi_10908133.jpg
USA Today

Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

WASHINGTON -- Daniel Murphy's two-run single drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6 on Sunday night to salvage the finale of the three-game series.

Anthony Rendon homered and doubled, Bryce Harper tied a career high with three doubles and Michael A. Taylor and Murphy each had three singles in a game that was delayed 38 minutes by rain in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams homered for the Phillies, who had won three straight.

Pinch hitter Brian Goodwin led off the eighth with a walk against Victor Arano. With one out, right-hander Seranthony Dominguez (1-2) came on to face Harper, who doubled to right, with Goodwin stopping at third.

After Rendon grounded out, Juan Soto was intentionally walked and Murphy lined a 1-2 pitch to shallow right. Taylor's single made it 8-6.

Ryan Madson (2-3) pitched the eighth inning, and Sean Doolittle finished it for his 21st save.

The Phillies took a 6-2 lead in the fifth on a two-run triple by Odubel Herrera and a two-run homer by Williams.

Washington pulled within a run at 6-5 in the sixth with four two-out hits, including an RBI triple by Trea Turner and RBI doubles by Harper and Rendon.

Nick Pivetta went five innings and allowed two runs on eight hits for the Phillies.

Washington starter Jefry Rodriguez was charged with four runs and five hits in four-plus innings.

The Phillies broke on top on Hoskins's two-run homer in the third.

Rendon made it 2-1 with a solo homer in the fourth. The next three hitters singled, tying the game, but with the rain intensifying, out came the tarp. When play resumed, Pivetta struck out three straight to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: C Andrew Knapp left in the seventh with a right knee contusion. ... 3B Maikel Franco slipped on first base and fell hard in the eighth. He stayed in to run, but left after the half-inning. ... INF Jesmuel Valent?n was placed on the paternity leave list and OF Dylan Cozens (left quadriceps strain) was reinstated from the 10-day DL.

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) allowed 11 runs in 4 2/3 innings of a rehab start at Class A Potomac on Sunday. "I'm more concerned with the way he feels," manager Dave Martinez said, downplaying the results. "We'll go from there." ... RH reliever Brandon Kintzler (right forearm flexor strain) threw a scoreless inning at Potomac. ... RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) played catch on the field again. "We'll keep doing his throwing progression and figure out when he can actually throw from the mound," Martinez said.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.82) starts the opener of a series against the Yankees on Monday. He is 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA in two games vs. New York.

Nationals: RHP Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.08) opens a series at Tampa Bay on Monday. He is 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA in six games against the Rays.