Donald Jones “fueled” by Bills’ attempts to replace him

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The Bills tried to upgrade on No. 2 receiver Donald Jones this offseason.

They showed significant interest in Robert Meachem at the beginning of free agency, and were speculatively linked to Vincent Jackson as well. Signing neither, Buffalo selected speedster T.J. Graham with the 69th overall pick in the draft.

Jones says he’s “fueled” by the attempts to replace him.

“You start to see things like, ‘They need to draft a receiver,'” Jones told Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News. “You see all of those things. As a man, as a competitor, I’m out to prove everybody wrong. It definitely fuels me.”

That all sounds nice, but Jones hasn’t done much to instill confidence yet. He caught 23 balls for 231 yards and one touchdown in eight appearances (seven starts) last season. Jones is averaging under 11 yards per reception in his career, and he’s supposed to be a deep threat. He’s also battled recurring ankle injuries.

Although coach Chan Gailey acknowledges Jones is “probably a little bit ahead” of his competition at this stage of the offseason — based largely on experience — he’s leaving the No. 2 receiver job wide open heading to training camp.

“You can ask me about the third week of training camp and I’m going to tell you it’s too early [to name a starter],” Gailey said. “We’ll know exactly where we stand and it all works itself out by the time we get to the first ballgame. We’ve got two or three guys that have done a great job.”

5 responses to “Donald Jones “fueled” by Bills’ attempts to replace him

  1. If Donald Jones is the starter opposite Stevie week 1, this will be another long season. Evans was shipped so Jones could step in, that was what doomed this team last season. Evans may have lost a step, but teams still respected his speed, toughness, and route running. Jones got beat up at the line of scrimmage, made almost 0 impact plays, and dropped a ton of balls in limited action. If Graham is the real deal, Jones should just be released. I thought that this position was the second most important going into the off-season only behind DE, and way ahead of LT. Let’s not forget, they passed up Reuben Randle and Stephen Hill, deep threats with size, for Cordy Glenn, who isn’t guarunteed a starting spot yet. For this offense, it really isn’t about talent level or production for the #2, it’s about respect. Teams respect what Stevie, Nelson, Freddie, Chandler and Spiller can do, so they divert coverage away from the other guys while they are on the field. Brining in Chad would have helped, he still gets a defenses respect while he’s on the field, he would have pulled a defender or two his way, freeing up the other guys. Either way, I like this Bills team, I hope some guys break out and other continue on their path of production, 9-7 this year is my best guess.

  2. Jones has awful hands. He did make one of the biggest plays vs the Pats. He’s just not good enough to be anything but a guy who should be on special teams and the last WR on the roster.

  3. @rabidbillsfan, I have to disagree about Evans. The more I saw him late the more I realized the guy had NO route running at all. All he ever had was speed. The only time he was producing was when he slipped past the defense and caught wide open deep balls launched from a deep ball specialist QB. Sure they respected his speed, but his injury problems and no chemistry w/ fitz, it was PERFECT time to dump him.

    I do agree that Jones is not the answer though. Keep your eye on Easley. If he stays healthy he could Easley win the number 2 job. He’s tall, fast, and strong. Major sleeper.

  4. His speed and route running aren’t the problem, it’s his Teflon-coated hands. I lost track of how many balls last year went through his hands… and usually into the hands of a defender. Marcus Easley has missed both of his pro seasons due to medical reasons, so they were left with a gigantic question mark at the #2 WR position. Besides, Jones was much more effective as a slot receiver in 2010 than he was as an outside receiver in 2011.

  5. Well if he would have been “fueled” before, he wouldn’t be in this situation. Why does it take something like this to motivate a player? Why can’t they just be motivated by actually being in the NFL?

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