JEFF FISHER, JIM SCHWARTZ, JOHNNY MEADS SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 2008
PRESS CONFERENCE AT BAPTIST SPORTS PARKFOLLOWING SELECTION OF JASON JONES
HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER
(on drafting Jason Jones)
As you all know, good defensive linemen – those with height, weight and speed characteristics that can also play and do the things that we're looking for – are hard to find. We watched Jason very closely. Johnny (Meads) has seen Jason play quite a bit. Jim (Schwartz) and Coach Washburn have seen him and we had Jason in for a visit and we got into a situation where this was the right guy at the right time. We feel like as it relates to him, he's going to be able to come in and play right away. It's not going to be a developmental thing for Jason. Jason is 6-5, 275, 280, has growth potential and he runs very, very well. He can come in and line up at end for us, he can move inside and be a rush tackle. We feel like he has growth potential to move inside and end up as a very, very good defensive tackle prospect. We're excited about it. The receivers were coming off the board very quickly. We had Jason up there high, and at the time when we picked, Jason was the best guy on our board.
(on if Jones will settle in playing defensive end or defensive tackle)
We think he can help us right away, as I said, whether that's at end or at tackle. I would assume on early downs that we'll give him the opportunity to fall into the rotation and that probably will be at end, but we'll just wait and see how it goes. He's going to be a good player for us.
(on characteristics he has to know he can play right away)
He's mature. He's very smart, a high character kid. He's passionate about the game. He's looking forward to excelling at this level and he understands the game. You can see things on tape. You can see the subtle things on tape – the pass rush ability, the effort, the chase, the ability to get off and shed and get off blocks.
(on if he's better against the run or as a rusher)
He's one of the guys that has some pass rush potential already, and those are things that will develop. Those are things you can teach, but he's a good run defender, he feels leverage and he finishes plays.
TITANS SCOUT JOHNNY MEADS
(more on Jason Jones)
The guy is a phenomenal athlete. He played basketball in high school. He went to Eastern [Michigan] as a tight end. The size (6-5), the long arms, the 275…they moved him down inside on pass downs at defensive tackle as well as defensive end when they moved him on the defensive side from the tight end position, so he has the athleticism. He has the will. When all the guys watched him on tape, you know how giddy Coach Washburn gets with guys that he likes. He started talking to me about the guy as soon as he saw him on tape, that he could be a guy that could come in and fill a role for us as a defensive end having lost Antwan (Odom) and Travis (LaBoy). Not only that, he gets an opportunity to play like Antwan did looking at boots and things like that with his long arms. We think he can eventually move down inside. Coach Washburn may look at him doing that, so he has some versatility, he's an athlete, and as coach said, he's smart.
(on if he has a similar body style to that of Antwan Odom)
He weighs much more than Antwan did. He's in the high 270's, low 280's and could be much heavier than that by the time camp comes around.
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR JIM SCHWARTZ
(on what a good wingspan like that does for a player)
Everybody always charts sacks, things like that, but you can affect the play, you can win the play defensively without getting a sack when you have long arms. He gets a hand in the quarterback's face and the quarterback has to adjust a little bit which buys time for the coverage, which buys time for the rest of the rush, plus in the run game. He uses his arms and his hands extremely well. This is a guy that played inside. You talk about a school like Eastern Michigan, you don't think of it as major competition, but they played Michigan, Northwestern and Vanderbilt. He played at the Senior Bowl and he was effective playing down inside against all of those people because of the long arms and leverage. It's not a guy who doesn't have some of the things you're looking at. He has everything that you're looking for. Just because he weight 273 didn't mean he couldn't compete inside. He did extremely well in those areas.
(on who he would compare to wingspan-wise with past Titans)
He's not quite Jevon (Kearse), but he's close.
(on why he only had one scholarship offer coming out of high school)
He actually wanted to play basketball. He's a basketball guy and he wanted to go to Eastern Michigan to study engineering. He's a smart guy, and I don't think he was looking at it just from the standpoint of athletics. He was going in to learn as well, and they felt they had a guy that could come in and play for them. He wasn't just a football guy coming over there.
(on if he would have taken Limas Sweed had he not been taken ahead of Jones)
We were looking at him. We were looking at a number of receivers, but a number of receivers went off quick. We didn't have any receivers go in the first round which is very unusual and then they started going fast. We had a high grade on Sweed, as we did some of the others.