Written by Steven Wilson | Twitter: @stevenjwilson11
Playing in his first game of the 2014 season after serving a four-game suspension, Dolphins safety Reshad Jones joins his team at exactly the right time. In need of an experienced tackler and coverage specialist, Miami will look to slow down the Chicago Bears dynamic passing game this Sunday.
“It’s a big challenge,” Jones admitted. “I think this is one of the toughest challenges we’ve had to this date – playing an offense like this. They have a good [group] of guys who are [solid] on the offensive side of the ball.”
Jones, who started all 32 games over the past two seasons in South Beach, has seven career interceptions, including one in which he returned for a touchdown last season. He also earned four passes defensed and 107 total tackles in 2013 – proving his worth on the backend.
“It’s going to take a group effort for the defense,” he said. “We’re all going to have to rally to the ball and get these guys on the ground, and just come with our A-game.”
With No. 20 back in the mix, current starting safety Jimmy Wilson will be able to return to his natural nickelback position as Jones fills his void next to strong safety Louis Delmas. Wilson’s shift will provide valuable help to corners Cortland Finnegan and Brent Grimes who will be paired against Chicago’s explosive receivers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
“I think we’ve got pretty feisty corners,” Jones stated following the team’s Monday practice. “I think those guys can handle their own, but I think we’ll have to gang tackle those guys. They’re big, physical and it’s going to take a group effort.”
Jones has had plenty of experience battling against Marshall when the duo played together in the aqua and orange in 2010 and 2011. Marshall signed with the Dolphins the same year Jones was drafted in the fifth round.
“The guy’s good,” Jones said of the Bears No. 1 receiver. “He has great hands. He runs great routes. He’s precise. He’s a pro at the end of the day. He’s a great player. It’s a going to take a group effort playing a tough offense like this.”
Yet, at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, Jones believes he and the Dolphins secondary can slow the Bears down together.
“They’ve got Alshon Jeffrey who’s helping and getting down the field, stretching the defense vertically,” Jones continued. “We know what we have to face. We’ll just have to come with our A game.”
After combining for 2,716 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns last season, Miami’s secondary will have its hands full with the Bears potent wideout combination.