Part of the New England Patriots revamped wide receiver corps heading into the 2013 season, Donald Jones made the switch from the Buffalo Bills to the AFC East rivals to the north and is looking to make a solid impact for the Patriots on the outside. The Patriots are hoping that Jones can be a steady presence for the Pats and can reward the team after they chose to sign him early on in the free agent period. Jones has a chance to be a quality No. 3 receiver for the Patriots, but it will be interesting to see if he can potentially develop into something more. Former WR teammate Stevie Johnson is certainly outspoken, and he believes that Jones has the ability to be a playmaker with Tom Brady throwing him passes.
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Of course, the play most Patriots fans remember Jones for in a Bills uni was the hit Vince Wilfork laid on Jones. Although defensive tackles don’t usually hit wide receivers, Wilfork decked Jones in September of this year during that wild Bills-Patriots showdown that truly was a tale of two halves.
Jones recalled the hit via WEEI, “It was a middle screen. I don’t even really remember how Vince ended up right there when I caught the ball. He was right there, so…. He read it well and he just caught me in the air. I guess that’s something d-linemen always hope for: to catch a wide receiver coming over the middle. So he got his thing that he always hopes for, I guess.”
This is interesting, and it’s a bit of a testament to Wilfork’s play last season. It looked like he had more stamina last season than usual, and he also looked quicker than usual last season. That led to Wilfork getting down those middle screens, and he has amazing awareness that allowed him to get into position to make that play and absolutely shell Jones; Wilfork sure had some incredible highlight plays last season, and this was one of them.
“I talked to [Vince] about it. Guys make jokes about it all the time. They bring it up. At the same time they’d make a joke and then at the end they’ll try to fix it over by saying ‘You got up anyway though, so it’s all good. You know, it actually looked a lot worse than it was. It didn’t hurt. I’m sure if he landed on me it would have hurt a lot more. He caught me in the air, so the hit didn’t hurt or anything. That was not the hardest hit that I’ve taken.”
That’s it, the important thing is that Jones got up from it, which is something you have to tip your cap off to- we need that toughness. But, as he said, that was a hit Jones won’t be forgetting, even if it didn’t hurt nearly as much as it could have (according to him, and I believe Jones on that one).
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