Jim Schwartz: Jason Jones is a different kind of player than Cliff Avril

Posted Mar 24, 2013

Jim Schwartz believes Jason Jones will be a better fit along this defensive line with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley than Cliff Avril

There is no more mystery as to who the Detroit Lions’ coaching staff has pegged to replace Cliff Avrilat left defensive end.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz told reporters at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix earlier this week that recent free agent acquisition Jason Jones is his guy.

Jason Jones
DE Jason Jones

"Jason is going to spend most of his time at left defensive end," Schwartz confirmed. "We think his talents fit the other guys around him. (He) is a different kind of player than Cliff Avril. Cliff was an edge speed guy. Jason is more of an inside effect-the-quarterback (player)."

Jones signed a three-year, $9 million deal with the Lions in the first 24 hours of free agency after playing last season in Seattle.

Avril, coincidentally, signed a two-year, $15 million deal with the Seahawks.

"I don’t know how (Jones) buys shirts because he has 37-inch arms," Schwartz said. "He might have the top three longest arms the last five or six years at the combine. Even if he’s blocked, he can still effect the passer getting his hands up and reaching out."

The Lions are looking to improve upon their 34 sacks last season -- down from 41 in 2011 and 44 in 2010 -- and Jones also gives them a little different skill set again the run, which the Lions ranked 16th in the league against (118.1 ypg) last season.

"I think his talent sort of stands alone, and it's more about just putting the players that we have in a position to make plays," Schwartz said of Jones.

"We couldn't do that with Cliff. It didn't fit his skill set. We put Cliff in what we thought was the best position for him to be effective for him to help us. It didn't necessarily put Nick Fairley or Ndamukong Suh in the best position, but that's coaching."

Schwartz said Jones’ skill set matches better with Fairley and Suh and the way they can provide inside pressure and flush plays. He is hopeful the three can play off each other the same way he saw a young Kyle Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth do it in Tennessee when he was the defensive coordinator.

"When we put those guys together (Vanden Bosch and Haynesworth) it was mixing nitro and glycerin and suddenly we had a good mix," Schwartz said.

"The way Kyle played allowed Haynesworth to be effective and what Haynesworth did allowed Kyle to be effective. I think we had an eye on dynamics like that when we signed Jason."

Whether Jones can be the effective sack artist Avril proved to be is yet to be determined. Avril had 29 sacks over the last three seasons. Jones has 9.5 over than span, but the Lions are banking on his versatility and fit within the scheme to making those number increase exponentially.