Looking ahead

Jones taking the right approach after nightmarish game

James Jones stood in front of his locker and announced to a group of reporters that he's not talking about Sunday's game against the Bears. The rookie is trying his best to bury the nightmare game he experienced last Sunday night, though, it was obvious that it is still on his mind.

"It was a bad game for me," Jones said. "I had two fumbles. I can't let that happen, so I've got to move on."

Jones' teammates and coaches have been supporting him throughout the week, encouraging him to forget about his two fumbles against the Chicago Bears. The Packers need Jones, especially this Sunday against a high-powered Washington Redskins defense, and Jones needs to have a better game to continue with an impressive start to his career. Through five games, he is second on the team in receiving with 23 catches for 293 yards and a touchdown.

Though Jones is only 23 years old, he is thinking and talking like a veteran.

"I've played the game a long time," he said. "I know when I made a mistake. I've got to bounce back; everybody's got to bounce back.

"Something goes wrong in every game. Nobody plays a perfect game, whether you win by 40 or lose by 40."

Jones deserves another chance to prove that he can be reliable running with the football after making a catch. Though he was benched after his two gaffes against the Bears, at least until Greg Jennings injured his shoulder, it appears that coach Mike McCarthy will utilize Jones as the No. 3 receiver behind Donald Driver and Jennings against the Redskins.

"We moved on," said McCarthy about Jones. "I think it's very important, particularly with the skill players, we've been very good with yards after the catch. Our guys have been very good with the ball in their hands. We need to continue to do so and do a better job of protecting the football."

McCarthy's confidence in Jones should be more than enough to re-ignite his confidence and help the Packers beat Washington's Cover 2 and Cover 3 defenses. The Packers will need Jones to catch the quick slant passes, like he did against the Bears, then make something happen after the catch. Anything but a fumble will be a step in the right direction.

"I know he was down on himself and Mike (McCarthy) gave him a slap on the wrist on the sideline, but he is still one of our premier players," said quarterback Brett Favre. "He's going to be called upon. I can't lose confidence not only in him, but in anyone else. He also can't say that, as the game unfolds, ‘Man, I was wide open but he won't throw it to me.' That can't happen, and won't happen. I'm going to make reads based on, hopefully, the best option on that particular play. If he's the guy, then I'll throw it to him."

That's all that Jones can hope for as he tries to clear this speed bump in his season.

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.

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