News | Washington Commanders - Commanders.com

Jones Confident He Can Help the O-Line

77390.jpg


Levi Jones has done this before.

He has started 89 career games in the NFL, all but two at left tackle.

He has lined up against some of the game's best pass rushers, from Indianapolis's Dwight Freeney to Baltimore's Terrell Suggs to Pittsburgh's James Harrison.

And he has confidence that he can shore up the Redskins' left tackle position for the rest of the season.

Jones signed with the Redskins on Oct. 20 and has spent the last three weeks getting up to speed on the Redskins' playbook and blocking techniques.

Now he has been named the starter at left tackle for this Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.

It's not an ideal circumstance, but Jones is making the best of it.

"Any time you get more repetitions and you get more of a look at the offense on the field and you get more practice time, you feel more confident," Jones said. "For me, it was the scheme, all the plays were different and some of the techniques were different. I feel I have a good grasp on all of that. So I'm going in there very confident."

Jones said he last used Joe Bugel's blocking techniques in college at Arizona State.

"It's kind of like going back to what I did in college and doing the things that got me to the NFL in the first place," Jones said.

Jones played the first seven years of his NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals, the team that selected him with the 10th overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft.

After rehabbing from a leg injury suffered in 2008, Jones was released by the Bengals last May. He remained unsigned until the Redskins picked him up.

Jones becomes the Redskins' fourth left tackle this season. Six-time Pro Bowler Chris Samuels suffered a neck injury in Week 4 and was replaced by D'Anthony Batiste. Stephon Heyer took over the following week.

With Mike Williams sidelined 2-4 weeks with an ankle injury, Heyer moves back to right tackle where he started the season.

And Jones makes his first start as a Redskin--and first start since last season when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals.

"He is coming along, and he is learning the offense," Jason Campbell said. "It isn't going to be an easy situation for him. We are going against one of the bst defenses in the NFL this year.

"It's definitely going to be a challenge for him, it's not like he was here in preseason where he would have a chance to get some warm-up games.

Against the Broncos, Jones faces off against linebacker/defensive end Elvis Dumervil, who is among the league leaders in sacks with 10.

Jones and Dumervil have faced off once before. On Dec. 24, 2006, Dumervil posted one tackle and a sack in a 24-23 win over the Bengals.

"He is definitely difficult for a lot of tackles that can't get down there and play with him, can't bend their knees," Jones said. "The people you see that struggle with him the most are the taller people that he can run underneath, because the guy is 5-11, and he's strong."

For Jones, success as an offensive lineman is a matter of staying on an even keel.

He should fit right in with Jim Zorn's "act medium" mantra.

"You want to go into a game excited, but as a left tackle you have to keep your nerves in check," he said. "You have to stay calm and slow the game down for yourself.

"Me, as a left tackle, I've never been a real rah-rah type of guy, because if a left tackle is not calm and focused, that's how you can get beat.

"You always get nerves, but then things slow down, you get tunnel vision and you just go."

Jones views his playing time the rest of this season as an "audition" for a new contract--whether it's with the Redskins or with another NFL team.

If Samuels decides to retire, then left tackle becomes a definite need for the Redskins.

"Any time you can get on the field and show you can still play--and in my case show that I am healthy and I can stay healthy--you take it," Jones said. "We don't know what Chris is going to do--I know he wants to play and he has been great for the Redskins for a long time.

"When he comes back and feels he wants to play, it's going to be his job. So all I can do is, do my part. If it works out here, great. If it doesn't, then I'll go somewhere else and play."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising