Jones ready to be ‘big banger’ for Texans

Jones ready to be ‘big banger’ for Texans
August 1, 2013, 9:00 am
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Greg Jones knows his role. And everybody else does too.

The 6-foot-1, 268-pound fullback with a body like a Greek God has one main objective with the Texans:

Move defenders out of the way.

“When I came here, they told me they needed a fullback, somebody to go in and bang,” Jones said. “I knew my role when I came here. I’m going to just try to execute my role 110 percent. I’m not worried about the receivers, the running backs, the line, nothing else. If I can do what I have to do, everything will be fine.”

Last season, the Texans didn’t have a true blocking fullback. Instead, they used James Casey. Casey was a 6-3, 243-pound hybrid tight end/fullback but he wasn’t a big banger like Jones or Vonta Leach or Lawrence Vickers.

“I think it will make a huge difference,” Tate said. “He’s a big, physical guy. He’ll be able to dig those linebackers out. He’ll help out a great deal in the run game and he’s also capable of catching the ball out of the backfield. I think he’s a complete back and he’ll help the offense out.”

The Texans let Leach walk after the 2010 season and let Vickers walk after 2011, when he split time with Casey. Last year, Arian Foster had a career-low 4.1 yards per carry and Ben Tate ran for just 279 yards and an average of 4.3 yards per attempt.

Head coach Gary Kubiak wouldn’t say what the offense will look like with a more traditional fullback instead of a swing player like Casey.
“We still teach the same way. What ends up being our strength when Greg’s in there, we’ll see,” Kubiak said. “Obviously, he’s a big banger and he’s proven that he can catch the ball and make some plays throughout his career but we’ll see. I like his presence. I like what he stands for so just want to keep him in one piece and get him ready to go.”

Jones is known as a big banger in the NFL, the guy who battles defensive linemen and linebackers to give his running backs an inch but it wasn’t always that way. Coming up, Jones was a halfback. Through his first three years in the league, he ran the ball 255 times for 856 yards but in his last five years combined, he’s had just 15 attempts for 55 yards.

“I wanted to be on the field a whole lot more,” Jones said. “That was the thing. If it took that for me to get on the field a whole lot faster, then I was with it.”

That was good for Jones but bad for the rest of the league. And the Texans got to see Jones quite a bit because he played for the Jaguars in the same division.

“Played him a couple times and we definitely knew what was coming when he came into the game,” said nose tackle Earl Mitchell, who added he was happy Jones is on his team now.

On Monday, Jones was two minutes late to practice, which he said landed him in the doghouse. He was supposed to be on the fields at 7:50 a.m.; he showed up at 7:52. He joked that he needed to get out of running backs coach Chick Harris’ doghouse.

“I can honestly say they have higher standards here and they’re gonna hold everyone to it,” Jones said. “And I like what Coach Kubiak (did) … the offense wasn’t doing good so he brought us up and told us.

“They’re gonna keep it one hundred with you. They’re going to tell you the truth.”

During his eight-year career in Jacksonville, the Jaguars had just three winning seasons. They haven’t had a winning season since 2007 and went 2-14 in 2012. The Texans are coming off two straight AFC South titles and a franchise-best 12-4 record.

“I know what I’m leaving and I know what I’m stepping into,” Jones said. “And I like what I’m stepping into right now.”