Man, sunny Los Angeles was nice. I truly enjoyed my time out there learning about Kenny Wiggins, but the fun had to end at some point and that point is here. Welcome back to 4 Questions. This time, we’re going deep behind enemy lines. We’re going to Chicago to learn about Christian Jones.
Let me give you a little backstory here. Lots of Lions fans hate the Packers the most—and believe me, I hate the Packers with a passion—but I hate the Bears and the city of Chicago with every molecule in my body. “Why?” you ask. I’ll tell you why.
In 2003, I went to the Brookfield Zoo. Little did I know this was one of the hottest days in the history of the world. I soon got heat exhaustion and threw up and passed out in front of the monkey exhibit. I woke up in the zoo’s first aid department with ice packs all over me.
My wife and I went to Chicago for our honeymoon. We went to the Shedd Aquarium and museum next door. Then we both got strep throat and had to go home early and missed a few extra days of work. I also had a friend get robbed at a concert and my check engine light once went on the second I crossed into Chicago. I hate it there.
So when I hit the road, I made sure to avoid Chicago at all costs this time. So at the Medieval Times in Schaumburg, Illinois, I met up with my pal Lester Wiltfong Jr. of Windy City Gridiron, one of the best Bears guys there is to know. Here’s what he told me about Christian Jones.
POD: What are your overall thoughts on Jones time in Chicago?
WCG: “Overall, I thought he was a very capable player. As an undrafted free agent he played well as a rookie in Chicago’s 4-3 defense as an outside linebacker. He had a few starts down the stretch and was third on the team in tackles. I thought he would be a key player in year two, but the Bears ended up changing to a 30 front D and somehow Jones ended up as an inside linebacker. He was awful in 2015. False steps, no anticipation, moving backwards instead of attacking, you could almost see him thinking about his job as he played.
In 2016 he was a reserve again, but he was moved to outside linebacker. Some injuries through camp led to him getting some reps back inside and he looked much better there. His versatility helped him make the roster and his play on special teams went to a new level. Last year he played quite a bit inside, making 11 starts and the inexperience he showed in 2015 was gone. He looked like he belonged. He played fast and physical, but the Bears liked Nick Kwiatkoski as their starter down the stretch once he shook off some early injuries. Jones just got caught up in a numbers game behind Kwiatkoski and Danny Trevathan.”
POD: What are his strengths?
WCG: “He’s an outstanding special teams player, so if he’s not starting for the Lions he has that going for him. But I do think he’ll be a key cog on Matt Patricia’s D considering the contract he received. He can play inside or outside and he showed a good knack on blitzes. The Bears didn’t rush him off the edge, but he likely has the athleticism to do a little of that. He’s decent in coverage as well.”
POD: What are his weaknesses?
WCG: “Even though he looked more comfortable last year, he still had times where he didn’t diagnose as fast as you’d like to see. He had times where he’d get to the play, but it was after a good gain. Maybe that’s because he was moved around so much, or maybe that’s just because he is what he is.”
POD: Can Jones make a large impact in Detroit? Or is he better served as a role player?
WCG: “He may not start, but he’ll be in rotation. If Patricia locks him in at one spot he may thrive, but if he’s still a jack of all trades guy, he might just flash every now and again. I was hoping the Bears would retain him because he’s really good on special teams and a very capable backup.“
A linebacker that’s decent in coverage? Man, the Lions could really use that. What it sounds like here is that the Lions got themselves a guy that simply couldn’t beat the guys that were in front of him at his position. If that’s the case, it’s sort of a boom or bust situation for Jones. Because, in all reality, he could very well be expected to start in Detroit. From the sounds of it, he may have what it takes.
Thank you, Lester Wiltfong Jr. It’s always a pleasure working with you, my friend—even if you are a fan of the team I despise more than any. If you’re interested in reading more on the team that the Lions own, check out Lester’s work at Windy City Gridiron.