We’ve heard it before, the story of a key special teamer or role player pining for more time on offense. Perhaps the most famous was Devin Hester, a legendary return man who was a mostly failed experiment as a wide receiver. He just couldn’t catch lightning in a bottle twice.
We’ve heard it with Jacoby Jones before as well. Long a good returner, Jones has mostly failed to make an impact on offense with either the Texans or the Ravens. Perhaps his biggest moments as a wide receiver occurred during the Super Bowl run of 2012, when Jones had a 70 yard touchdown catch versus Denver in the AFC Championship game and a 56 yard touchdown in the Super Bowl.
Outside of those pivotal catches, Jone’s big moments have come mostly on special teams. He is third in the NFL with a 29.8 yard kickoff return average the last two seasons, and he has four returns for touchdowns during that span, which is tied for first in the league.
Given the Raven’s newfound depth at the wide receiver position, it appears that Jones has an even tougher path to playing time this season. But he isn’t discouraged by competition, and has been vocally energized by the addition of his former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak as the new offensive coordinator.
But even in Houston, where wide receiver depth essentially began and ended with Andre Johnson, Jones failed to seize his big opportunities on offense. He couldn’t top 562 yards in his five seasons with the Texans and has averaged only 25.3 yards per game in his career. All while never playing less than 12 games in a season.
It’s easy to root for Jones because he is a special returner, a postseason hero, and an overall great guy. He has an excellent sense of humor as well, even joking that Kubiak may be his biological father post camp. But the likelihood that he makes a huge impact on offense in 2014 is slim. What we do expect is more of what we have seen the last couple of years – occasional big plays and a consistent special teams impact.