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The secrets behind James Jones’ career year

James Jones Pic Getty Images

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.”

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28 Responses to “The secrets behind James Jones’ career year”
  1. samapoc says: Nov 1, 2012 7:41 AM

    Great to see this guy reaching his potential! This is why I like the NFL.

  2. packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears says: Nov 1, 2012 7:48 AM

    That’s what rumors in which you might be traded to Cleveland will do for you.

  3. gbpicksix says: Nov 1, 2012 7:56 AM

    James Jones has been a pleasant surprise thus far however, he does still seem to miss reads on coverages causing him to run the wrong routes leaving some of Rodgers’ passes land in dangerous places.

  4. zlmillerkazz says: Nov 1, 2012 7:58 AM

    I like James Jones, he finds a way to get open in the red-zone. Packers will lead the way with Cobb, Nelson, Jones & Finley catching passes next season. As I said before, don’t believe Greg Jennings will be back, unless he’s willing to sign cheap. (Which I doubt)

  5. wewantmoretebowandfavrearticles says: Nov 1, 2012 8:03 AM

    The real key to his career year has been the injury to Greg Jennings. The injury to Jordy Nelson last week didn’t hurt Jones either. Jones has just been lucky-that is when preparation meets opportunity. And he was prepared.

  6. illinininer says: Nov 1, 2012 8:05 AM

    I would think that the way you practice would always have a direct correlation with you practice.

  7. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Nov 1, 2012 8:07 AM

    Whatever it takes, WARRIORS!

  8. garyman1 says: Nov 1, 2012 8:09 AM

    I have to admit…I was one of those who said we should cut him loose because of all the drops. But this year, he is amazing. He is catching everything. James….please go have a chat with Jermichael Finley and explain your practice habits.

  9. dutchhmaster says: Nov 1, 2012 8:15 AM

    802 yards works out to 50.1 yards per game and 72 receptions works out to 4.5 receptions per game. I like the guy, but it isn’t [i]that[/i] impressive.

  10. purplengold says: Nov 1, 2012 8:15 AM

    I tell myself, “Right foot! Then left foot!”

  11. hansenbrothers says: Nov 1, 2012 8:16 AM

    Gotta admit, I was down on the guy for a long time. Nice to see him turn the corner.

  12. illogic87 says: Nov 1, 2012 8:31 AM

    Congrats on being a professional wide receiver and being able to CATCH THE BALL. You are so special!!!

  13. wstone1 says: Nov 1, 2012 8:36 AM

    Take note Jermichael Finley to the line

    “He’s got improved practice habits and he’s been getting the ball thrown his way because he’s been working hard.”

    It’s also known as “chemistry”

  14. therealtrenches says: Nov 1, 2012 8:46 AM

    Isn’t the secret to his career year Greg Jennings’ absence from the lineup?

  15. cidman2001 says: Nov 1, 2012 8:51 AM

    I think his performance just goes to show you how over rated Greg Jennings is……. nice job Mr. Jones!

  16. daaabears says: Nov 1, 2012 8:51 AM

    Rodgers takes most of the problem out of the equation: all he has to do is catch the ball.
    Even with injuries, the Pack look dangerous again.

  17. rajbais says: Nov 1, 2012 10:01 AM

    Miami Dolphins, I told you to trade for him!

    You didn’t listen to me!

    I was correct that he’d be better than ochocinco this year!!!!

    Then again, Ocho can’t play anymore.

  18. packfan429 says: Nov 1, 2012 10:17 AM

    Finley needs to learn something from guys like Jones and Nelson.

    Jones has always been my favorites. If you remember, when Rodgers was first brought on, I believe we got Jones the same year and they built a great chemistry during the preseason games and I thought that was going to pay off earlier than this year.

    Hardwork beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard, KD.

    Finely, learn something!!!

  19. thejohnsmith1122 says: Nov 1, 2012 10:22 AM

    I think everyone is underestimating Jennings’ importance in the lineup. Sure, he’s been injured most (all) of this season so far but I bet the offense will pick up significantly and be more consistent in the passing game whenever he returns.

  20. bluestree says: Nov 1, 2012 10:54 AM

    Think maybe Jones is having a little fun with Lori Nickel? The whole story is goofy. Of course he’s getting more looks, he’s starting! Greg out, Jordy out some. He’s healthy, and who are they going to go to, Driver? Of course they’re going his way. It also speeds up the development of Cobb. That’s who they’ll go to, they either get it done or they don’t.
    I agree that if Jennings can get healthy you’ll see just how important he can be to this offense.

  21. taintedsaints2009 says: Nov 1, 2012 11:14 AM

    It’s because Jennings isn’t there. It’s not a secret.

  22. popcrowl says: Nov 1, 2012 11:23 AM

    I’m a fan of his. And he is essentially a 3rd wideout. This is why this team is so good. They draft well. I’m happy Rodgers fault for you to be re-signed in the offseason. Keep up the good work.

    Rodgers! Discount Double Check!

  23. clubergo says: Nov 1, 2012 11:30 AM

    interesting no mention of Donald Driver who sits right next to him on the bench and is always in his ear…Driver is a class act that is contributing any way he can.. good for both of you

  24. granadafan says: Nov 1, 2012 11:59 AM

    It’s good that he’s stepping up and improving his game. They’ll need him next year when they cut that locker room cancer, Jermichael Finley.

  25. bla bla bla says: Nov 1, 2012 12:15 PM

    I’ve never wanted to trade Jones and am glad that we didn’t. I think he’s just now starting to hit his stride so look out NFL.

    I just hope Jones keeps it up. his “circus catch” ability, minus the drops, could be a very dangerous thing.

  26. dukemarc says: Nov 1, 2012 12:25 PM

    Ted Thompson re-signed James Jones for $9.4 Million over 3 years in August of 2011. Ted is freakin’ wizard.

  27. patayling says: Nov 1, 2012 12:32 PM

    I should be yelling “Stay focused” to myself at work, maybe I’ll do something productive.

  28. anarchopurplism says: Nov 1, 2012 12:39 PM

    I love it when guys go all psycho.

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