James Jones: How Green Bay Packers Receiver Is Proving His Critics Wrong

Chad LundbergCorrespondent IIIOctober 21, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: James Jones #89 of the Green Bay Packers catches a touchdown pass against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The Packers beat the Rams 24-3.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

There are lots of things not to like about sports and the NFL, but one thing in particular is how sports critics get away with so much of the nonsense that they spew out.

One of the most diehard sports critics alive today is Skip Bayless on ESPN's First Take, who seems to kick and scream like a child whenever he hears anything that he even slightly disagrees with.

But that's not what my main issue with him is. My main gripe with Bayless is that he almost never holds himself accountable for what he says, despite the efforts of his co-hosts pressuring him to do so. He simply spins absolutely everything as evidence that he was right, and that he's simply never wrong.

As for myself, well, I like to consider myself a classy guy. Or at least more classy than Bayless. I try to hold myself accountable when it seems I was wrong about something.

For example, I felt that a 29-year-old Michael Turner wasn't going to be enough to give the Atlanta Falcons another strong push on offense, and though the Falcons have struggled this year, it is anyone but Turner's fault. He is currently getting numbers that should match his success in 2010. Turner has proved me wrong, and I admit that.

And that brings me to Green Bay wide receiver James Jones.

I still ride with the notion that Jordy Nelson, who is on pace to break 1,000 receiving yards this season, is a far better receiver than Jones is; however, Green Bay's No. 89 has shown that he can in fact catch the ball for a touchdown, which is what I was so hard on him for.

Last season, Jones had an opportunity to show the organization why he was the man to take Donald Driver's starting role. Driver was struggling to produce the same numbers he had even just a year prior, and Jermichael Finley was out for the season.

Jones became more heavily involved in the offense, but all the touchdown drops, and the fact that he barely even produced numbers better than those in his rookie year, demonstrated that he was good but not great.

Case in point, despite the lack of competition, Jones never stepped up to the plate.

This season, not only are Driver and Finley back, but there's a new face in town. Rookie wide receiver Randall Cobb was a second-round steal for Green Bay, and he equals another player that Jones has to compete with. Conventional wisdom says that Jones was obviously going to struggle to put up high numbers this year.

To my amazement, not only is Jones putting up high numbers, but he's on pace to have his best year yet. With 15 catches, 263 yards and three touchdowns, Jones is on pace to have some eight touchdowns and 700 receiving yards. His only low light of the season is a tipped ball that landed in an interception for Denver.

Against all odds, Jones is proving that he is more than worth the $3 million he is being paid, and I gladly say that he has proven me and his critics wrong. Should Driver or someone else go down, or if he continues to play like he has in the past three games, you can reasonably expect Jones' numbers to only go up even further.