A conversation with Doug Morrone

How risky is Adrian Jones' move from rookie left tackle bench warmer to second-year right tackle starter? Many fans are concerned but the Jets are not, judging from comments by Terry Bradway and Herman Edwards as well as right guard Brandon Moore, who said, ``Adrian's going to be all right.'' Offensive line coach Doug Marrone feels the same way. He talked with A. Randy Lange of The Record and Jets Confidential about Jones and the latest shakeup in his constantly evolving unit:

Q: How much did Adrian play at right tackle in practice last season?

Marrone: A.J. was playing primarily left. Then, I don't know if it was halfway through the season, it might've been a little further along in Week 10, but we moved him to the right side. He and Marko [Cavka, who began his rookie season at RT] started switching around so we could get some versatility out of them. When they reported back in the off-season, I started working with both of them. Adrian really accelerated his play through last year and then through the early workouts before we came to minicamp.

Q: How far along can you say Adrian is in the process of going from left to right?

Marrone: We're in a situation now where we've taken him as far in the drills as he can go. He's done footwork drills, change-of-direction drills, power drills, striking drills. What's going to happen now, what needs to take over is his scrimmage and game experience. The minicamp went well for him. Sometimes he's seeing something for the first time at that speed, a particular pressure or blitz.

Q: How is he adapting mentally to the switch? Marrone: One thing I've seen from a coaching perspective is that he's really not the type of player who gets rattled, where he gets out of character. He rarely will make the same mistake twice. He's absorbing all the information he's getting. Through minicamp I was very satisfied with his playing development, seeing the player getting better every day.

Q: How about the pressure of being thrust into the position that Kareem McKenzie handled well for the past three years?

Marrone: There is a lot of pressure on him, because we are a good team. We've had change in the line since I've been here, but they've performed well with each change. There are a lot of expectations obviously because Kareem has left, but at any position on the line, this kind of move would create great expectations for a player, whether he's younger or older.

Q: Are there similarities between what Adrian's trying to do and what Brandon Moore did a few years ago, switching from the D-line to the O-line?

Marrone: Yeah, that's how I felt about Brandon. A few years ago we had taken him as far as we could in the drill work. He needed to play. Obviously, he performed over and above what the expectations were, and that's a credit to Brandon. I feel the same way about A.J. We've taken him to a certain point as far as drills. Now he has to go out there and play.

Q: Moore and Jones also both seem to have athleticism that might help overcome some initial shortcomings in their techniques playing their new positions.

Marrone: That's why I draw similarities between the two players, because of their backgrounds. Even though Adrian was drafted as a tackle, he really only played that position two years [at Kansas]. Those two have tremendous skills, probably above that required for their positions. Brandon's a very intelligent player. We have to make sure those two are communicating on the same wavelength, which is what we did at the minicamp. They took a couple of extra reps together, not because they needed that particular rep but because they needed to play.

Q: What is the prognosis for Adrian Jones?

Marrone: He has ability, and he makes up for his lack of experience with his athleticism. These next couple of OTAs [organized team activity practices] will be big, as will training camp, the scrimmage with the Giants. Adrian should see a lot of time this summer, maybe more normally than would be expected for a starter. We feel comfortable with him performing at that position in this league. It's just a matter of him going out and performing.

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