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Jason Jones Remains the Starting LE
By all accounts, Jason Jones is a good guy. He was also a very good rotational interior defensive lineman in his time with Tennessee and Seattle, so his signing was a good thing for the Detroit Lions roster. Then, the team decided to make him the full-time starting defensive end. He enters camp as the starting left defensive end, across the line from Ziggy Ansah. It is very probable, given the coachs’ interviews, that he maintains that position once the regular season starts if nobody steps up.
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Jason Jones has never been a good defensive end. Sure, there are a few moments where he not only shines but does extremely well. The Atlanta Falcons game is likely the only moments fans remember from the 2014 season, and he was truly dominant at times in that game. The rest of the season? As bad as Cassius Vaughn was, it was Jason Jones who received the lowest PFF grade for the season. He was an adequate run defender but an utterly terrible pass rusher. 2014 also marked the first time in his 8 year career that he played a full 16 game season, leading to a career high of only 5 sacks. The production and reliability simply is not there.
Who it Hurts: This is another position the Detroit Lions have spent considerable resources to build up, but have failed up to this point. They drafted Devin Taylor in 2013 and he actually looked pretty good as a rookie. Despite being a clear fit at closed end in Teryl Austin’s scheme, his production fell off a cliff, never to be heard from again, in 2014. There is still a chance for bounce back, but Taylor looked completely lost when asked to do literally anything more than just rush like he did under Schwartz. The team also drafted Larry Webster in 2014. Webster is a great athlete, but wasn’t even considered a prospect at DE during the draft period and didn’t see a single snap as a rookie. If Jason Jones maintains his starting job despite poor play and reliability, it means that neither of these two managed to develop in the least in the second year of their scheme. None of that bodes well for the Lions, who haven’t had even a decent presence at LE since Cliff Avril left for greener pastures.
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