Jones' biggest football challenge

Rookie wide receiver focused on finding his comfort zone

School is out for many students across the nation, but classes are still in session for Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones. The rookie wide receiver has been cramming, getting hands-on instruction during the team's Organized Team Activities practices in an effort to find a comfort zone in the Packers' complicated West Coast offense.

Easier said than done, especially when the Packers' playbook has 500-plus plays.

"You can run the same play out of 20 different formations, so you've got to learn the formations and the routes," Jones explained after a recent OTA practice. "You don't just learn one route, you learn three routes. It's difficult, but you just gotta keep on running till you get used to it. That's what I'm doing right now."

The coaching staff usually plays a rookie at one position until he gets comfortable, then have him learn the other positions. Thus far, Jones has been lining up mainly in the slot position, which had been formerly occupied by Robert Ferguson.

Jones, like many rookies, covet the current OTA practices to prepare for training camp. The less thinking while running a pass route, the better says Jones, who will be competing as the team's No. 3 or No. 4 receiver behind Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.

"That's the main thing I'm trying to do is learn the plays so I can go out there and be comfortable and be the player that they drafted," said Jones. "Be able to make some plays to help this football team."

Jones estimates that he should be more at ease with the playbook by the end of the OTA session early next week. But he will continue to memorize the plays prior to the start of training camp on July 28.

"I'll probably take peeks at (the playbook) after the OTAs to make sure it still stays in there, but other than that I'll be ready," Jones said.

The sooner the better as the Packers seek more playmakers for an offense that had trouble scoring in the red zone last season.


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