Can Ben Jones be the answer to what the Tennessee Titans have needed at the center position?
If he lives up to his reputation of being a tough guy and a hard worker, as well as a smart player who can make the necessary protection and blocking calls, then he can solve a problem that has lingered for six seasons now in Tennessee.
Since electing not to re-sign Kevin Mawae after the 2009 season, the center position has been a revolving door, sprinkling in equal parts of injuries and ineffectiveness for most of that time. But Jones, who never missed a game in four years with the rival Houston Texans, might finally solve that issue for the Titans.
“I take pride in my play. I try to be the same guy on the field in games and in practice. I try to finish everybody. I may not be the most athletic guy, but you’re going to get my best every play,” Jones said. “It comes with the game. I’ve got to bring something to the table. I’m not the biggest guy or the most athletic, but you’re going to have to whoop my tail on every play.”
Jones, who hails from Centreville, Ala., about a three-and-a-half hour drive from Nashville, said he takes pride in making the line calls and expects to be held accountable when things go awry.
“It comes with the position, whether I’m at center or at guard. You’ve got to have somebody that’s going to be the quarterback of the o-line,” he said. “So you take that role and you’ve got to make the decision for the line to get everybody on the same scheme.
“I take part in that and I take pride in making the calls, because if I’m wrong, everybody’s wrong. And if something happens, I’m going to take full ownership on it. That’s just part of the business that comes with it.”
Jones also could turn out to be a hit with teammates, given his outgoing good ol’ boy personality that comes with some unique quirks. Jones, it seems, has done some unusual things in bets with his teammates. Jones has done things like drinking his own urine on a bet – “It paid for a good weekend for me and my wife,” he said – to eating a cockroach one day after practice – “It was just a bug,” he added.
But the Titans are counting on Jones to do more than outlandish antics for the reported $17.5 million deal he signed. They need him to be a building block for the franchise.
“I stand behind what they’re building here, bringing in DeMarco and running the ball and we’re going to be a physical team. We’re going to go out here and just grind every day,” he said.