It has basically been a given ever since the Baltimore Ravens traded WR Anquan Boldin this offseason that Jacoby Jones will be a starting wide receiver for the 2013 season. The question that is being overlooked is whether or not Jones will see less time as a returner.
If you look around the NFL, you will be hard pressed to find a starting wide receiver that returns kicks or punts as the primary option, nonetheless return both kicks and punts. So will Head Coach John Harbaugh still put Jacoby back to return kicks and punts as Baltimore’s primary option, while still allowing him to be a starting wide receiver?
Of course Harbaugh and the coaching staff have been quiet on this matter because there is no need to make that decision right now because Baltimore could still make a move for another wide receiver that would put Jones back in the three spot in the wide receiver core, thus keeping him more fresh.
In 2011, Jones started 10 games at wide receiver for the Houston Texans and put up mediocre numbers as a wide receiver with 31 receptions for 512 yards and two touchdowns, but an important thing to note regarding 2011 is that he did not return a single kickoff that season. Jones still returned punts for the Texans that year, but if Baltimore keeps him as the primary option as both the kick and punt returner, it will be the first time in his career that he will be a starting wide receiver while still being the number one kick and punt returner.
Jones is coming off of an All Pro season as a returner as he ran one punt and two kickoffs in for touchdowns, while also returning one in the Super Bowl. By starting at wide receiver, his legs are going to be used much more frequently than when he would play 10-20 offensive snaps as the third option. With more wear and tear on his legs by starting at wide receiver, returning kicks and punts may not be in the cards, at least as the primary option.
Of course this provides just another reason for the Baltimore front office to attempt to bring in a veteran wide receiver to take over the number two spot in the wide receiver core so Jones can continue to be the game changing threat in the return game.
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