With Josh Jones stationed just a handful of stalls away from Aaron Rodgers in the Green Bay Packers locker room, Rodgers thought it necessary to introduce himself to the second-round pick.
On Tuesday, Jones introduced himself to the Packers’ offense.
Jones was the obvious star of Tuesday’s practice at Clarke Hinkle Field. Jones broke up three passes — with two on back-to-back plays and a third in which he pried a pass from Rodgers out of the hands of veteran receiver Randall Cobb.
“I think he’s flashed the last two days,” Rodgers said.
Then came the necessary word of warning.
“But it’s early. We like to reserve judgment when it’s just helmets and shorts. But I think he looks the part and we’re excited to have him.”
Jones, a safety from North Carolina State, didn’t need to hear Rodgers’ “it’s early” comment. In fact, Jones called his day “all right.”
Just “all right”?
“Yeah,” he said. “Just got to keep working. Can’t get complacent. Still made a few mistakes that I’m going to make as a rookie but watch the film, get it corrected and come back out here tomorrow with the same attitude.”
Countless rookies have made splash plays during one of these shorts-and-helmets spring practices, then enjoyed their moment in the sun, so to speak, in the locker room afterward. Not Jones, whose all-business attitude should fit well with the rest of the safeties.
“Right after practice, it’s over with,” he said. “That’s my mentality. As soon as practice is over, I’m thinking about the mistakes I made and I’m ready to correct them. This practice is over. Now, it’s focus on tomorrow.”
Jones has plenty to focus on, especially compared to his fellow rookies. Not only was Jones drafted to add depth at safety, where do-it-all Micah Hyde departed in free agency and Morgan Burnett is headed to free agency, but he’s been given a look at linebacker, as well. Jones, who at 220 pounds ran a blazing 4.41 in the 40 at the Scouting Combine, said he’s been splitting his time between the safeties and inside linebackers during positional meetings.
That’s a heavy mental workload, but it’s a challenge Jones is embracing.
“It’s tough,” he said. “You’re at this level now, this is a job. This is a job now. You don’t have anything else to worry about but football. I don’t have class to study for. I don’t have an English paper to write or math to worry about. You leave here, you just get right back into your playbook. That’s the beauty about being in the NFL. It’s straight football.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.