As an NFL veteran, linebacker Brad Jones finds himself as part of a new team for the first time in his career. Although his experience in Green Bay has come to an end, Jones refuses to look back. Instead, he is focused on adjusting to Philadelphia and on doing whatever he can to make the Eagles a better team, especially with his versatility on the field.
Jones has starting experience at both inside and outside linebacker. After playing on the outside for the first three years of his career, he learned the ins and outs of inside linebacker and made the transition. The ability to play multiple positions is something Jones believes can only be helpful in the NFL today. Adaptability leads to more skillful players and having a larger skill set is never negative.
"I think really the name of game in the NFL is the more you can do at any position and versatility, it helps in all aspects, even for starters," Jones said. "Guys that can do a lot of different things well, it increases their value to a team. I think it helps in all facets and even cross training in a bunch of areas helps you become a better football player in general. When you can play a bunch of different positions your body can function and move well in a lot of different situations."
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon for #EaglesCamp at the NovaCare Complex as the team prepared for their second Open Practice on Sunday...
Now, with teammate Travis Long out for the season, it initially appeared as though Jones would move outside once again. However, Jones was thrust back to inside linebacker duty temporarily after Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks missed time on the field this week. The seventh-year veteran tries not to focus on his specific position or even his playing time. He just wants to improve every day.
Regardless of which position he plays, Jones is more than comfortable in either spot. He's continuing to learn and soak in as much information about the Eagles' system as he can. Having trained across positions also gives him a different insight into the game, a skill set his teammates have already noticed.
"I think it's good having guys who are versatile," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "It just adds to his value being able to play outside and inside because sometimes in games you need those swing guys. I think it's great that Brad has the ability to do both because most guys can't do both."
In Jones' mind, the only negative of playing two positions is the extra learning required for understanding each one. Clearly, the pros heavily outweigh the cons.
"With playing all these positions you have to learn the playbook three times over, but it's nothing I haven't done before," Jones joked.
While the linebacker may already be accustomed to his job on the field, he does have to adjust to a new city, new coaches and new teammates. Fortunately, it has been nothing but a positive experience for him. What he's most excited about though is the passion for the Eagles in the City of Philadelphia. Having that support has made Jones' transition much easier.
"Philadelphia has hardcore fans and that's what you want as a player," Jones said. "You bleed, you die for this game day in and day out. You want fans that will have the same feeling about it. You want it to mean that much to them too because it means everything to me and to the guys that play on this team.
"The group we have here is great. Everybody is on the same page and really fits in with the type of things that we've been doing and want to do. I'm fitting in with the guys well, learning the schemes and getting better every day. In the end, I think that's really the goal of it all."