The Howard Jones Find

October 16th, 2015

The Bucs had done their homework on DE Howard Jones long before last week. (Photo courtesy of

Joe was like almost everyone in the press box of the Den of Depression last Sunday, not to mention hundreds of thousands of Bucs fans watching on the tube.

Joe joined in the murmur, “Who is that?” referring to the immortal Howard Jones.

He’s a defensive end the Bucs picked up from the scrap heap who did the unthinkable: record two sacks in the first half in his first start.

Obviously, he was no surprise to Bucs brass or coaches. Acting defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier noted how the Bucs interviewed Jones in the winter of 2014, and were interested in his services.

“We looked at him coming out of college, as well, and had some dialogue regarding him,” Frazier said earlier this week. “To be able to pick him up and take a look at the long arms, as well as the speed, those were two contributing factors we were trying to evaluate, ‘Who could we bring in, what are some attributes that we’re looking for?’ He had them. The speed, the long arms, the athletic ability, then to go out and do what he did on Sunday, it’s a good combination.”

It seems Jones is still learning how to play in a 43 defense. Jones signed with the Steelers out of college last year, was with them through this preseason and was slotted as an outside linebacker before the Bucs stole him from Pittsburgh just before opening day.

If one is to judge a player just on one game, it seems Jones picked up playing defensive end in a 43 rather smoothly.

“You take a look at the fact – your first play in the game and you get a sack. That’s pretty impressive,” Frazier said. “He’s adjusting well, coming from a 3-4 there in Pittsburgh and then coming here putting his hand on the ground and getting off the ball. He’s doing a good job and we’re hoping to get more of what we saw on Sunday.”

If Jones is the prototype defensive end, as Frazier suggests, maybe the Bucs found a gem. Problem is, after getting a pair of sacks in the first half last week, there is now film of Jones outside of preseason games and opposing coaches will be scheming for him.

12 Responses to “The Howard Jones Find”

  1. Bobby Says:

    I love stories like this. Guy didn’t qualify academically for Division I so he ended up at Division II Shepherd. Kind of an Ali Marpet story. Sometimes these guys are fantastic finds and the knock is that they perform against inferior competition but if you are vastly superior to inferior competition then you will probably be able to play with others that provide greater competition. Let’s just say I like what I’ve seen so far. This kid is raw and the upside is huge.

  2. Bobby Says:

    By the way, I didn’t mean to imply that Marpet couldn’t qualify academically for a Div. I school, I was just saying that Marpet is also a great pickup from a Div. II school.

  3. tmaxcon Says:

    I’m confused how was this guy able to make plays when it takes years to master laughable Lovies defense. I guess that excuse is tossed out with the rest of the bs justification why Lovies defense poops itself week in and week out.

  4. OneLove Says:


    Lovie and Licht are building this thing from the ground up! It’s going to be fun to see where were at 3-5 years from now(WITH LOVIE AS OUR HEAD COACH!!!)

    “It’s as simple as that” – Lovie Smith aka “Mr. Competent” aka “I’m a Head Football coach in the NFL and your just a b!tch that prints billboards”

    “Lovie is a GREAT Coach!” – Kwon Alexander (The only opinions that really count)

  5. DefenseRules Says:

    Six sacks by the defense against the Jags on the day … with 2 of them by Jones … is awesome. But what wasn’t so awesome was watching Bortles light up the sky against our pass defense … 23-of-33 for 334 yds and 4 TDs (in only 25 mins TOP). More consistent pressure is needed.

    Steve White did an excellent analysis of the game on and had this to say about Jones:

    “All good plays by Jones. Unfortunately he didnt do much else outside of that. Its great that he can come free on pass rush games and blitzes, but his one on one rush was below average for the most part. He just kept trying to run around the LT and ended up 5+ yards deeper than the QB almost every single time.”

    Interesting perspective. Howard Jones did some good things Sunday, but according to some who played the DE position for several years for the Bucs, he’s got a lot of stuff to work on. Let’s hope he keeps improving steadily.

  6. unbelievable Says:


    You beat me to it! I was about to post the same breakdown from Steve White.

    Those2 sacks were great, but he’s going to need to a lot more and help in the run game if he wants to be more than a situational pass rusher. Go Bucs!

  7. bucsbedabest Says:

    Howard Jones is raw and yes, his two sacks were outstanding in his first game. On the first sack he penetrated and made the sack because Henry Melton set him up. The second sack was a blitz where Jones goes inside and was unblocked. The difference was he made the tackle. How many times have we seen this season, where a player has the QB in his sights, only to miss the tackle because the QB got away? What I like most about Jones is he takes away that empty feeling I felt knowing we let DE Ryan Delaire get away. Now the Bucs have there own young, raw, talented DE, with a lot of potential. Not to mention what a cheap shot, trash talking, punk, Delaire is. He fits right in on the stinking Panthers and there trash talking Josh Normans. Dixie Chicks went down, Hawks will take the Stinkers down and the Skinnies are next.

  8. JP4 Says:

    Bobby says:
    ‘…I was just saying that Marpet is also a great pickup from a Div. II school.’

    Marpet is out of Hobart – not a Div 2 school – it’s Div 3.

  9. Capt.Tim Says:

    OneLove- yes!!! YES!!!
    Youvare sooo right. Dying to see Lovies team in 3-4 years.
    Bet its battling to be in the SuperBowl!

  10. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Jones should be used like a change of pace DE. Run out slow mo george johnson for a couple series, and then when it’s third and 8 and we need a critical play, send out Jones. The Tackle wont know what flew by him after he got used to easily blocking slower than molasses George Johnson.

  11. dcommand Says:

    If we could get these waiver wire and undrafted free agents to have more than a single year of stellar play.

  12. Matt Says:

    Let’s just hope he can do this every game . I say start him , if there is no production by the end of the 1st qtr then bench him for Johnson or gholston . 2 sacks kinda proves he needs more playing time though even if it was the jags horrible O line .