I knew the falcons should have taken him overe jenkins now he is becoming a great back.Wasn't there questions on how fast jones was what happened to that? Jones would have been the great back the falcons needed for a while instead pf TJ Duckett still not proven himself.
RB should create favorable matchup for WRsBy John Clayton
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Here are five observations on the Detroit Lions, based on Aug. 1 practices:
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
Rush Yds TD Rec Yds TD
241 1133 5 28 180 1
1. Kevin Jones wasn't drafted in the top 10 of the first round like Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers and Mike Williams or Roy Williams, but he is the skilled player who should have the biggest year for the Lions. Fantasy fans might be jumping all over him. After rushing for only 227 yards in this first eight games while trying to shake ankle problems, Jones got hot and finished the season with 906 yards in his final eight games. At that pace, he could be an 1,800-yard running back. From the look of him on the practice field, Jones could be the league's best back this season. For one, he got bigger through a rigorous weight lifting regimen during the offseason. He's 230 pounds and looks faster than a year ago. A former 100-meter sprinter, Jones has stopped his tendency to bounce plays to the outside. He hits holes with power and authority. "Everybody wants to say Joey or one of our receivers is going to take us where we are going to go, but I say the guy is Kevin Jones," Roy Williams said. "If he runs the football, he will bring that safety down to the line of scrimmage and the receivers will get one-on-one matchups."
Despite his late start in 2004, Jones still ended up a Pro Bowl alternate. The lowest selected (No. 30) of the Lions No. 1s, Jones should be the first star to emerge. He is expected to take over Shawn Bryson's role as the third-down receiving back and will be more involved in the passing game.
2. Mike Williams arrived in camp Monday after the brief contract holdout and looks trim and fit. Williams was drafted to create matchup problems. He will play the inside slot in certain packages. At 6-foot-5, 234 pounds, Williams will have a 4- to 6-inch advantage against slot cornerbacks. He's been training in Tampa, Fla. to get ready for the NFL after sitting out a season when the NFL denied his early entry into the NFL draft. "You get over it, and you get ready for where I am now," said Williams, the former USC standout. "I got over that when I first got here for mini-camp. Now, I'm just trying to win." With so many targets around him, it will be hard for Williams to be a 50-catch rookie. The Lions will use a lot of three-receiver sets, but they also like former Cleveland Brown Kevin Johnson as a possession receiver. Williams will be fighting for playing time against him and tight end Marcus Pollard, who is a big inside target for Harrington. Williams will have great value in the red zone. "If you watch highlights of Williams, all you see is him making plays in the red zone," Harrington said. "He's a red zone guy."
3. The Lions felt they added bulk to their offensive line with last year's signing of Damien Woody. Although Woody was a Pro Bowl alternate, he felt he was too bulky. During the offseason, he ballooned to 372 pounds but showed up at camp at 338 pounds. That should create interesting changes and additions in the offense. Because he was a little too heavy last year, Woody pretty much just tried to maul defenders from his right guard spot. Rarely did he pull to his left. That made the Lions primarily a right-handed running team. Woody is moving much better at his lighter weight so he may be asked to pull to his left and add some variety to the running game. At Boston College, Woody was given the nickname, "The Dominator." This year, he has a chance to be a dominator on the run.
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
67 56 11 0 0 2
4. Don't figure the Lions to be the big player in the Ty Law sweepstakes. Although they have worked him out twice and team president Matt Millen would love to sign him, the Lions won't outbid the Jets for Law's services. Dre' Bly is a two-time Pro Bowler, but Fernando Bryant didn't have a great season in his first year with the Lions. The Lions have other young options, but the signing of veteran R.W. McQuarters could be the steal of the offseason for the Lions. McQuarters is being used as a slot cornerback in nickel packages. He could be moved to free safety if needed. Plus, he's a decent punt returner. Steve Mariucci drafted him when he was with the 49ers. McQuarters' additional value is he has been in the receiver-rich NFC North. He has had years of matching up against the division's best receivers. Though he won't be asked to start, McQuarters is a valuable tool to rely on when the Lions are drawing up game plans.
5. The biggest question mark along the offensive line is right tackle Kelly Butler. Let's say this. He's a big question mark. At 6-7, 330-pounds, Butler has the body to be a good right tackle. He shows good power on run plays, but he tends to get a little high on pass-rush plays, which may hurt him when he matches up against quick defensive ends. The Lions elected not to re-sign longtime right tackle Stockar McDougle. They know that former 49ers right tackle Kelly Gragg is just a phone call away if needed. The Lions want to try Butler out during the preseason to see how he holds up. He didn't play a down last season after being selected as a fourth-round choice from Purdue. The Lions liked the fact he graded out at 80 percent consistently in games at Purdue, which ran a good passing offense. Still, he's raw. The Lions have to make a quick decision on his future. They signed Kyle Kosier to play right tackle if he fails.
John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.