Just a couple of days ago, we speculated on the impact regarding the departure of KR/CB Chris Carr to the hated Ravens. The consensus opinion was that Carr’s loss would be felt the most on special teams, where his ability to return kicks would surely be missed.
While the need for some depth at the cornerback position still exists, the Tennessee Titans have found Carr’s replacement in the return game.
Enter Mark Jones, the diminutive yet dynamic former Carolina Panther who signed on the dotted line with the Titans yesterday.
As we all know, special teams often determine the outcome of closely contested games. A game-breaking touchdown return can serve as a means of providing a team with a winning score. On the other hand, a costly special teams fumble can have the opposite effect.
Despite Mark’s goose-egg in the touchdown department returning punts and kicks, there’s another zero on his statline that caught the majority of my attention: During his tenure in the NFL, Jones has fielded 156 punts and 58 kickoffs and not once has he fumbled the pigskin.
Hopefully, Mark’s penchant for not dropping the football will continue in Nashville.
Will he contribute at WR?
Labeled as a return specialist, Mark’s secondary trade is the wide receiver position. In his five seasons in the NFL, Jones has only registered 2 catches for 32 yards at WR. During his college days as a Tennessee Vol, Jones caught 36 passes for 556 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Almost needless to say, we probably won’t be seeing him emerge as one of Kerry Collins’ favorite targets at WR. Barring injuries, the majority of Mark’s contributions will most likely come in the form of special teams’ duties.
Where do the Titans go from here?
While Jones addresses the void left by Carr’s departure on special teams, the Titans are still in search of some talent at CB. Veteran free agent CB Donald Strickland was in town yesterday, which indicates the Titans are still looking for some veteran depth at corner on the free agent market.
I still think it’s a pretty safe bet that the Titans will be spending a high draft pick on a CB in next month’s NFL Draft. If Strickland is signed, he’s a serviceable vet who can help out at nickel.
However, due to Nick Harper’s age, the Titans are in need of a corner who can provide long-term stability to the position. Someone like D.J. Moore or Alphonso Smith, two exciting guys who could be hearing their names called by the Titans on draft day.
Let’s get back to the topic at hand: What are your thoughts on the signing of Mark Jones?