Last Chance for MJ?

Ever since being selected by the Jaguars in the first round of the 2005 draft, Matt Jones has been somewhat of a lightning rod for controversy here in Jacksonville. Read why this weekend might be his last chance.

The former quarterback, turned wide receiver has had some big games against some big time corners, and has made catches that have appeared on highlight reels all over the country. Jones has also had more than his share of drops, has routinely given less than the maximum effort on routes, and is almost non-existent as a blocker.

It seems as though whenever the coaching staff and fans alike are ready to give up on Matt   Jones, he'll make a ridiculous one-handed catch to save a game, like he did a few weeks ago in Tampa Bay. And whenever it appears that Matt is beginning to put it all together as a receiver, he'll jog out some of his routes, then "alligator arm" a pass over the middle. Anyone who has seen Jones play over a period of time can easily tell that the guy is one of the most physically talented players on the Jaguars, but the effort level always seems to be lacking.

This Sunday could be a very pivotal day in the career of Matt Jones. Jones will be activated when the Jaguars take on the San Diego Chargers mainly due to an ankle injury that has forced rookie, seventh-round pick John Broussard to miss that last two days of practice. Jones needs to have a solid game to remind the Jaguars coaching staff not only why they drafted him, but why he's on the roster collecting a game check every week.

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio gave Jones a less than ringing endorsement when he was asked about Jones' status-

"It's not worth talking about."

When Del Rio was asked about Jones' role, he responded-

"His role is to work at being the best football player he can be and be prepared to be available when the coach calls on him." He went on further about the possibility of Jones being called upon, and said, "I don't like to get into hypotheticals, predictions and crystal ball type stuff."

Matt Jones has been inactive for three of the Jaguars nine games, and has been shutout in receptions in five of the team's nine games. Jones has just nine receptions for 82 yards on the season, and the one big touchdown. Those are hardly numbers that you'd expect from a former first round pick in his third season.

Jones was asked about how it feels to be on the bench, and he appears to maintain a positive attitude--

"You can't sulk about it or be upset. You've got to take advantage of your opportunities when they present themselves."

This week Jones will get an opportunity to suit up against a very opportunistic San Diego Chargers defense with some terrific players in the secondary, in Quentin Jammer, Drayton Florence, Antonio Cromartie, and Eric Weddle, among others. If Jones can play up to his potential, it could go a long way in him being activated next week against Buffalo. It certainly appears as if the former first-round pick's career is hanging in the balance and he's certainly fallen out of favor with his head coach. Jones needs to treat every opportunity like it's his last, because it very well may be.



Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Jagnation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer.

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