LIONS INSIDER

WR TJ Jones happy with his Lions debut

Posted Aug 17, 2015

Wide receiver TJ Jones had his NFL debut vs. the Jets Thursday night and is happy with his performance on offense and special teams.

TJ Jones’ NFL debut has been over a year in the making.

After being selected in the sixth round by the Lions last year, Jones injured his shoulder in the spring and subsequently suffered nerve damage that limited the feeling and ability in his hands.

That’s obviously a scary deal for a young receiver, and it cost Jones his entire rookie season.

TJ JonesWR TJ Jones (Photo: Gavin Smith / Detroit Lions)

The nerves have since healed, and finally healthy, Jones made his NFL debut Thursday night in the Lions’ 23-3 win over the Jets.

“After a year of waiting, I felt like it was well over do,” Jones said of his first game action as a professional.

“It was more excitement. It was more just ready to get out there than nerves.”

Jones played 16 snaps on offense and caught the only pass thrown his way, a 15-yarder from Dan Orlovsky in the fourth quarter.

He also returned three punts for 31 yards (10.3 average), including a nice 24-yard return in the third quarter.

“He’s slippery enough to get through some small cracks that they have there and I think he did a very nice job,” head coach Jim Caldwell said of Jones’ play as a punt returner after the game.

Jones is fighting for a reserve role at receiver and is also throwing his hat into the mix for the return job. When it comes to backup players, the more they can do the more valuable they are come cut-down time.

Jones is in that receiver mix with Lance Moore, Jeremy Ross, Ryan Broyles, Greg Salas and others for just a couple available spots. Jones knows he has to find a way to keep standing out.

“I think I did well,” he said of his performance vs. the Jets. “Personally, there’s definitely things I can work on, but as far as knowing my assignments, doing what I could when I got my few touches, I think that’s always the first way to judge myself is mental errors. Not having stupid mistakes, (stupid) plays, fumbles, and then I can move on to how the play turned out.”

Jones hadn’t played in a football game since December of 2013 before Thursday. He said it actually felt good to get hit again.

“Finally,” he said with a laugh when asked about what that first contact felt like. “It was like, ‘All right, I got hit; it’s good. I feel normal. Get back up and it’s just like the football I played in the past. It’s definitely a good feeling.”