Packers wide receiver James Jones was generally regarded as a drop-prone underachiever during his first five seasons. NFL receivers don’t typically “break out” as sixth-year pros, but Jones has. He’s on pace for career highs in receptions (72), yards (802), and touchdowns (14).
Jones explained to Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that one of the keys to his success is talking to himself on the field. Jones literally yells at himself between snaps. “Focus! Stay Focused!” he’ll say.
“Even some of the DBs have asked me, man, what are you talking about,” Jones told Nickel. Although unconventional, Jones’ approach has paid dividends. He hasn’t dropped a single ball in 2012, and has secured 36 of the 57 passes thrown his way.
“In the past I’ve had games where I caught balls early and I would lose focus at the end,” Jones acknowledged. “So I’m constantly talking to myself the whole game.”
Jones has also reportedly “doubled” his film study this season, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers has noticed improved practice habits from the 28-year-old.
“The way that he’s playing is a direct correlation to the way that he’s practicing,” Rodgers observed. “He’s making a lot of those plays in practice. He’s got improved practice habits and he’s been getting the ball thrown his way because he’s been working hard.
“It’s transferring over into the game.”