Marvin, let’s talk about the technique involved with playing wide receiver.
Jones: One of the most important things I learned about the receiver position is that at each successive level there are more details to playing the position well. Although I feel like playing in a pro-style offense has given me some advantages, there’s still a whole new level of details I’m going to begin learning here and in the N.F.L.
Waldman: Tell me about what kind of things you learned transition from high school game to the the college level.
Jones: I was a running back in high school, so there was a lot. More than anything I had to learn how to use my hands. When I got to Cal I thought I could run away from anybody by just using my feet, but I learned right away that it wasn’t going to work that way. SydQuan Thompson showed me that in practice on a regular basis. By putting his hands on me during practice and working with me after, he taught me a lot about learning to chop a defender’s hands and get up field quickly.
Later in my career at Cal, I learned how to reduce the shoulder – you know, dip the shoulder away from the defender so he has less space to get his hands on you. You have to be able to switch up how you get off the line as well as learn the ways different defensive backs use their hands. Some like to get both hands into your chest. Others want to deliver quick punches. And then there’s guys that want to use one hand while they turn and ride you up the sideline.
Waldman: You did a great job reducing the shoulder earlier today in practice. I watched you actually do it after your break on a deep post against Iowa State defensive back Leonard Johnson and it helped you get position over top for a touchdown. You weren’t used as much as a vertical threat during your senior year at Cal, but you showed your big-play ability down field today.
Jones: Yeah, it felt really good to do that today. It helps when you have top-notch college quarterbacks delivering you the ball the way they did in practice. At Cal this year, they threw the deep ball to [Keenan Allen], so it was nice to show people today the deep routes I used to run back in my sophomore year.
Waldman:Yeah, this year you were more of a short and intermediate perimeter option on screens, comebacks, hooks, outs, and corner routes. You did a good job working back to your quarterback and making plays in coverage. Who are some of the NFL players you study and try to pattern your game after?
Jones: Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Andre Johnson. I love how physical they are and the way the go after the ball. I know I’m not considered a big receiver, but I try to play big and I think its important to be physical. As a former running back, I think that’s part of it.
Waldman: At 6’2″, you’re not a small guy and you definitely showed that at Cal where you frequently dealt with physical coverage.