The Las Vegas Raiders needed to upgrade their wide receiver corps after a subpar performance in 2019. Although they brought in new wideouts, they kept a few that were part of their roster last season. Zay Jones in one of them.
The Las Vegas Raiders are still waiting on Zay Jones trade to pay dividends
The Raiders released problematic wide receiver Antonio Brown before the season even started. That should’ve been an omen of things to come for the position as the Silver and Black struggled with underperformance and injuries at wide receiver. In order to give a boost to the group, general manager Mike Mayock traded for Jones in the middle of the season.
Although Jones’ arrival made sense at the moment, the ex Buffalo Bills wideout had a hard time adjusting to the move and failed to make an impact in his first season with the Raiders. All in all, he had 20 catches for 147 yards and no touchdowns. Midseason trades hardly ever work and Jones is proof of it. It takes time for NFL players weeks or even months to get acquainted with a team’s playbook. They normally have a whole offseason to digest it, imagine how hard it was for Jones to do it on the run.
Zay Jones has finally had an offseason to learn the playbook
In his latest interview, Jones talked about what’s different between this season and the last one. He says there have indeed been changes. He says the fact he has time to practice with quarterback Derek Carr and develop a rapport with him has been pretty important. Also, he has worked out and lost weight.
“I think just more time with DC. Just getting that timing down and everything, but more importantly, I cut a little bit of weight. I want to be more fluid, more faster. Quickness was a main focal point for me this offseason.”
Moreover, Jones has been able to study the playbook better and has worked on his route running.
“Just the route-running when you come into the middle of the season you try to learn someone’s playbook, the small details that you may miss. It’s just naturally because it’s just so much. There’s a lot of language, there’s of verbiage that goes into it. It being my second year essentially with the playbook just understanding that what’s all going to go into.”
It’s time to shine for the 4th-year wide receiver
Last season’s trade didn’t let Jones play at his fullest but says he no longer has any limitations when it comes to utilizing his skill set.
“Now I can be versatile, now I can move inside, now I can move outside. I can go x, I can go z. I can really understand the language of everything and get these details down. Now, when I’m going to the summer, I can practice these routes at full speed without hesitation cuz I know what I’m doing, now I can put my own flavor in things. Now I can add a little bit to the route. DC sees the way that I run a route and understand ‘ok, I’m going to have a breakpoint, these are my mechanics, this is my speed this is what I’m doing’. I think just with time and actually just develop, I feel more confident.”
Jones also believes “this is the most confident time” he’s had in the NFL and he likes it. He sees how everyone is committed and he wants to be part of something great. If the fourth-year wide receiver puts his part, the Raiders will have a higher chance of doing something meaningful in 2020.
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Top Photo: Las Vegas Raiders official YouTube channel