Josh Jones has been playing mostly at inside linebacker in the “nitro” package with the No. 2 defense — Morgan Burnett is there with the starters. It’s clear Capers is going to use that defense a lot this season, probably more than any other personnel group. That’s the league now. You need at least one linebacker with a defensive back’s cover ability to match up in the passing game.
Burnett will be hard to displace from that starting spot this year. He has so much experience (in his eighth NFL season) and still is a good athlete at age 28. But from what Jones has shown in his short time with the team, it’s a given he’ll play, either to rest Burnett or to match up with specific personnel or down-and-distances.
Based on practice, it sure looks like Jones wants to hit. Though there’s no tackling to the ground, he squares up and fills hard in the run game. That and his 220-pound frame — 11 pounds heavier than Burnett — make him a good fit for the nitro package, because at linebacker he’s in the thick of the run defense.
Jones also plays fast. His 4.41-second 40 is good timed speed, but to the naked eye, he looks like he has game speed, too. He closes fast. Regardless of whether he surpasses Burnett in the nitro role this year, he should help this defense.