Bears’ Justin Jones embracing added responsibility on defense

Why Justin Jones feels’ at home ‘in Eberflus’ defense originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

It’s been well-documented that the three-technique defensive tackle is one of the most important positions in Matt Eberflus’ new Bears defense. That player is counted on to penetrate the line and make disruptive plays in the backfield, whether it’s sacking the quarterback or blowing up a run play. That’s why Ryan Poles went out and made Larry Ogunjobi his biggest free agent priority when the offseason began.

But when Ogunjobi failed his physical, the plan to have him anchor the line fell apart, and the Bears had to move quickly to add Justin Jones instead. Call it a downgrade. Call it Plan B. Call it whatever you want. But listening to Eberflus praise Jones, it sounds like the team is very happy that he’s they’re man for the job.

“I love the athletic ability, I love the man, I love his attitude,” Eberflus said of Jones. “He’s working super hard, and again, the evaluation will continue to go all the way through training camp, like we said. When we put the pads on, then we get our true evaluation. But where he is right now, we are extremely excited about that. ”

Eberflus didn’t expect much of a tough transition for Jones into his defense coming from the Chargers. They played what Eberflus calls an “under front.” So despite playing in a 3-4 scheme, Jones lined up as a three-technique, often.

“That’s why we really recruited him and brought him here,” Eberflus said. “We saw visual evidence on tape that he could do the spot. He’s done a good job with it. It’s a takeoff position. It lends to his athletic ability, and he’s just gonna get better and better and better… We really saw it on tape when we recruited him. ”

Now that he’s here, Jones feels like he’s thriving in this scheme since he can focus on getting off the ball, and putting forth great effort to make it into the backfield.

“That’s kind of the staple of my game, I feel like,” Jones said. “Really just flying around, making tackles and making plays and being disruptive is kind of my game. I feel like I fit in, I feel like I’m at home in this scheme. ”

But the opportunity for Jones also comes with added pressure and responsibility. If he does his job well, it will go a long way towards the success of the defense as a whole. If he doesn’t, it makes everyone’s job harder. Jones isn’t shying away from that, though. In fact, he embraces it.

“I wake up every day thinking about that,” Jones said. “I take pride in knowing what I do. I take pride in knowing what the guy next to me is doing. I take pride in knowing who’s behind me and what they’re doing. I take pride in knowing this scheme. I take pride in that. That’s why. ”

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