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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Jones Making Pro Bowl Push

    Monday, November 5, 2007


    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Making St. Louis a permanent home or at least a long-term venture has been nearly impossible for the laundry list of punters that have booted the ball for the Rams since they moved to St. Louis in 1995.

    Consider the names Sean Landeta, Will Brice, Mike Horan, Rick Tuten, John Baker, Mitch Berger, Landeta again, Kevin Stemke, Reggie Hodges, Bryan Barker and Matt Turk. Some of those names had a little success but were near the end of their playing days. Others, the majority, simply didn’t get the job done.

    Enter Donnie Jones, who in his first season with the Rams has been one of the team’s most valuable players. Through nine weeks, Jones is tied with Oakland’s Shane Lechler for the league lead in punting average.

    The Rams signed Jones, who was a restricted free agent for Miami, to a four-year contract during the offseason. The idea at the time was to find a punter that could provide much needed stability to a position that has had none since the Rams got to St. Louis.

    When the Dolphins declined to match the offer sheet, the Rams had the man they thought could provide it.

    “Knowing that he is going to be here for an extended period of time really solves that revolving door thing that we have had at the punter spot here,” coach Scott Linehan said.

    Call the match between the Rams and Jones a perfect fit. While the Rams have longed to find a punter with long term potential, Jones spent the first three years of his NFL career looking for the right fit for him.

    Jones was a seventh round choice (No. 224 overall) of Seattle in the 2004 NFL Draft. Jones didn’t make the roster out of camp, but showed enough to land on the practice squad. After that, he went back and forth between the practice squad and the active roster, playing in six games and punting 26 times.

    That performance wasn’t enough to land him a spot the following season as the Dolphins claimed Jones on waivers on July 25, 2005.

    Jones had hoped landing in Miami would be a better situation. Instead, it got worse. Jones pieced together two solid seasons, averaging 43.5 and 42.8 yards per punt in his two seasons in Miami.

    Assistant special teams coach Steve Hoffman asked Jones to revamp his mechanics, surprising considering Jones’ success and Hoffman’s lack of experience as a punter himself (he had none).

    When the Rams came calling, it was a no brainer for Jones to sign the deal and get out of South Beach as fast as possible.

    “It’s been a good change for me,” Jones said. “I try to work hard and do my part and help us win field position.”

    The change for Jones has extended to places outside of football. Jones and wife Aubrie had their first child at 4:16 p.m. on Oct. 22. Weston Jones checked in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces and did as much as possible to ensure that dad would be up numerous times during last week’s bye week.

    With St. Louis as his new home and the place where he and Aubrie started their family, Jones has added incentive to make it a long term arrangement.

    “It gives you a little extra motivation to go out and perform and do well,” Jones said. “When you have a little one, all of your attention and focus shifts to them. Now it’s not so much for me or her, but doing what’s best for our child.”

    Jones’ security in his job is certainly not in question considering his performance in 2007. It’s safe to say that Jones has been one of the best and most consistent punters in the league this season and is building a strong case for his first Pro Bowl appearance.

    “His performance speaks for itself,” Linehan said. “In any other year where things are clicking and going right and you're winning the field position battle because your punter is doing his job, and he is doing his job and is helping the field position side of things that is a real bonus.”

    Through eight games, Jones is tied for the lead in punting average at 50.3 yards per attempt. On 34 attempts, Jones has kicked for 1,711 yards, has dropped nine punts inside the 20 and has a long of 80 yards.

    Jones’ 80-yard blast against Seattle from his own end zone on Oct. 21 was the third longest punt in franchise history.

    “This is year four for me,” Jones said. “I really started off well and had a good first half. I need to pick up where I left off and start up again against New Orleans. I try not to put added pressure on myself. I just go out and punt and do my part.”

    It hasn’t hurt that special teams coach Al Roberts has allowed Jones to stick to what he has always done. Jones hasn’t tinkered with his mechanics at all. He works throughout the week to maintain consistency and improve in areas he thought needed tweaking the week before.

    “I am doing the same things I have always done,” Jones said. “I’m just really getting in a groove and kicking very well. Everything has felt really good. Some days you have days when you are kicking well and some days you have when you aren’t.”

    For Jones, those good days have a name. They’re called Sundays. As long as that continues, he’ll be welcome in St. Louis for as long as he’d like to stay.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Jones Making Pro Bowl Push

    Answer- Punter makes Pro-Bowl

    Question- What is a terrible offense?

  3. #3
    moloch41's Avatar
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    Re: Jones Making Pro Bowl Push

    If anyone on this team deserves a pro bowl appearance, it's certainly him. He's been solid all year. I was curious when they didn't resign Turk because of the year he had, but Johnson has been money. He could even be the team MVP.

  4. #4
    blood85's Avatar
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    Re: Jones Making Pro Bowl Push

    Did you mean Donnie Jones?

  5. #5
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    Re: Jones Making Pro Bowl Push

    Quote Originally Posted by blood85 View Post
    Did you mean Donnie Jones?
    His "inner circle" calls him Johnson....



    You, too, can help Donnie get to the Pro-Bowl by using this link... http://www.nfl.com/polls/ballot?id=3...ampaign=PB0002

    :l
    RnD

    GO RAMS!!

  6. #6
    moloch41's Avatar
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    Re: Jones Making Pro Bowl Push

    Quote Originally Posted by blood85 View Post
    Did you mean Donnie Jones?

    That I did...:x

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