Art Jones couldn't wait to get to minicamp practice.
Usually an upbeat guy, Jones was especially pumped up because he was playing more defensive end during Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamp, a switch from his normal defensive tackle spot.
"Rise & Grind. Mini camp #2," Jones tweeted last week. "I'm excited to get better today :)* *I love my new position. Let's get it...!!!"
Jones has helped filled the void left by Corey Redding after the veteran free agent left for Indianapolis this offseason.
Jones, who started to break out last year with 14 games played and 20 tackles, could be called on for a much bigger role this year. He and Pernell McPhee are expected to compete for the job, and likely be in during different packages.
"Art is not a surprise to me – exactly as expected. He has done well," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
"He is going to play the defensive end spot, and he is competing for the starting job in there, and he is also going to play the three-technique spot, which he would probably be the third man in that rotation. Versatility is huge. So, he is going to play a lot of football regardless of where it ends up shaking out for the most part."
Jones got extra time with the first-team defense during minicamp because McPhee was out due to a reported minor knee injury. McPhee said he will return by training camp.
The two defensive ends have a different body type. Jones is 6-foot-3, 313 pounds. McPhee is 6-3, 280 and is more of a pass rusher. Ryan McBean, who is also in the mix, is 6-5, 305 and most closely resembles Redding' size of 6-4, 298.
"I feel like I'm a different kind of end, a bigger type of end," Jones said. "I'm enjoying it, learning every day and trying to get better so I can help out in any way possible."
Jones likes playing defensive end because it gives him more space to do things. When playing defensive tackle, everything happens faster because you're not on the edge. He said he's been focused on improving his footwork.
"He's doing a lot of good things," Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said of Jones. "I think he's getting used to having a lot of space. I don't think he's as used to it yet, but he's going to be really good out there. Him and Pernell McPhee will probably have a good battle at it."
So what moves will fans see from Jones?
"It's whatever comes to your mind," he said. "You can pass, you can spin, you can do arm over. Inside, it's pretty much the same thing. You're pretty much getting doubled a lot by a guard or a center. Here, it's a tight end and tackle. It's easier for me."
It's a chance for Jones to show off his natural athleticism.
The brother of UFC champion fighter Jon "Bones" Jones, Art once again trained in mixed martial arts fighting in Albuquerque this offseason, which helps with his explosion.
"That's one thing I've got is my speed," he said. "I can't wait to showcase my talents this year."