The 2013 season was hardly over when Datone Jones started looking ahead to 2014. Two hours after the Green Bay Packers' crushing 23-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Jones took to Twitter: "Tough Loss Today...We Left It All On The Field Today ... Now Its Time To Get On My Grind... #Impact." And cleaning out his locker 12 hours after that, the rookie defensive end was still looking ahead. He won't call this rookie season a disappointment. But his off-season can't start soon enough. The Packers said they wanted the 6-foot-4, 285-pound Jones to be an every-down player before last season. That never happened. Nodding his head, the 26th overall pick says he'll close that gap beginning now. "This off-season. It's going to come with this off-season," Jones said. "I know it'll come with this off-season. I'm very excited for this off-season to come back in and get stronger. Probably get my weight up. I'll see where the coaches want me at. "And I'm just going to come back a whole other player." Weight gain would make sense. Green Bay may be losing one, two, even three wide bodies up front. There's a good chance this defensive line will look different in 2014. Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, Johnny Jolly and C.J. Wilson — a combined 1,305 pounds of mass — are all free agents. However free agency shakes out, the Packers probably will be counting on the first-rounder Jones and fifth-rounder Josh Boyd to take on larger roles. The two rookies trended in opposite directions this season. Into December, the high pick's snaps were reduced, the low pick's snaps were increased. For a team that always bangs the drum of second-year player development, the Packers sure wouldn't mind Jones and/or Boyd taking a Mike Daniels-like jump in Year 2. "I just hope it works out for the best," Jones said. "Hopefully we can get all of these guys back. It's a great group of guys. But unfortunately, it doesn't work like this in the NFL. We knew we're going to see a whole other team next year." Each free agent is at a different juncture. Pickett, who said Green Bay is "the best place to play. I love being here," is 34 years old. He has played 199 games. If the Packers want him back for another season, ironing out a deal might not be too tiresome. Raji, however, turned down $8 million per season, a source told the Journal Sentinel in mid-November.
Datone Jones, Josh Boyd in line for increased playing time
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Jan 8