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Art Jones Responds To Ed Reed's Challenge

Posted Nov 26, 2012

DE Art Jones notched the first two sacks of his three-year career in one game.

Art Jones got called over by future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed in practice last Wednesday.

Reed told Jones that he had seen flashes of his potential on film, but he wanted to see more.

“I challenge you,” Reed said, as recounted by Jones. “I need you to dominate from here on out. I need you to step up.”

Jones took the words to heart and recorded his best career game Sunday in San Diego.

After not recording a sack in his first 26 career games, the 2010 fifth-round pick notched sacks on back-to-back defensive series in the third quarter. He had five total tackles, including three for loss.

Jones beat Chargers guard/center Rex Hadnot, who stepped in for usual starting left guard Tyronne Green, on both sacks.

On the first, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs swam inside, which collapsed the left side of the Chargers offensive line. Jones blew past Hadnot, bended around the corner and wrapped up San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers at the ankles.

On the second sack, Jones simply just outmanned Hadnot off the line. It was a standard four-man rush and Jones burst past Hadnot’s right shoulder, which led him directly to Rivers. The sack came on a key third-and-5 that led to a punt.

“I’ve got to give credit to my coach, Clarence Brooks,” Jones said. “Every single day he told me if I trusted my assignment, alignment technique that I couldn’t be blocked. I believed in it and I think [Sunday] it worked out for me.”

Head Coach John Harbaugh has noticed an improvement in Jones’ fundamentals as well.

“I’ve just seen in the last three, four weeks, he’s taken a huge leap technique-wise,” Harbaugh said. “His feet and his hands are tied together way better now than they were, and that’s a credit to Clarence Brooks, and to Arthur in just deciding that he wanted to play with great technique.

“It’s really heartening for a coach to see a guy playing that well and to make the strides that he’s made. And it’s huge for our defense.”

Jones came to the Ravens as a somewhat raw product out of Syracuse. He saw action in just two games as a rookie as he worked on slimming and toning his body.

Jones was on the field for 14 regular-season games last season, but was mostly in a reserve role behind defensive end Cory Redding. He shared snaps with Pernell McPhee, a fellow fifth-round pick who broke out with six sacks. Jones, meanwhile, logged 20 tackles last year and no sacks.

Asked for an evaluation of his career to this point, Jones was brutally honest.

“Mediocre,” he said. “I’ve been showing flashes. But I know I can be a great player and can play in this league a long time if I stay healthy. I’ve just got to keep working, keep trying to get better.”

With Redding now in Indianapolis and McPhee still dealing with thigh and knee injuries that have forced him out of the past four games, Jones has been the Ravens’ starter.

He’s been getting coaching from Suggs, whose locker is right next to Jones. While the two have very different bodies (Jones is 6-foot-3, 315 pounds and Suggs is 6-3, 260), Suggs has worked with Jones on his pass-rush technique.

“Art’s been working really hard,” Suggs said. “It was a big day for him. I’m proud of him.”

While Jones credited Suggs, Brooks and God for his big day, it came back to Reed’s motivational words last week.

“Any time a great player challenges you like that, you want to respond,” Jones said. “To play with Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, these great guys, I’m living the dream, man. This is a dream come true and I don’t want to disappoint my family or anyone else.”

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