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Jacoby Jones Putting Added Stress On Defenses


Joe Flacco loves having Jacoby Jones back in the lineup.

The speedy receiver missed nearly five games through the first seven weeks of the season due to a knee injury, but he has the ability to change the offense when he's in the lineup.

"He helps in so many ways," Flacco said. "You can't really describe it."

Before getting hurt in the season opener, Jones was one of the Ravens' top two receivers along with Torrey Smith. Now that Jones is back, the speedsters give the Ravens a dynamic vertical threat on both sides of the field.

"He is such a threat to go downfield, and he's becoming such a good wide receiver," Flacco said. "The stress he puts on defenses and what they have to worry about and the coverages they have to play to make sure him and Torrey are on opposite sides so neither of them get by and beat. Teams want to protect that."

In his two games after coming back from his injury, Jones has six catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens slowly worked him back into action – he played 20 snaps against Green Bay and 52 against the Steelers – and he is getting more comfortable playing.

"I still have a [few] little kinks to get out and some things on my routes that I have to fix," Jones said. "I'll be alright."

Jones' return coincides with the receiving corps getting healthy as a whole. Deonte Thompson returned from a preseason foot injury and rookie Marlon Brown is back after missing a game with a tweaked hamstring. The one receiver still dealing with an injury problem is veteran Brandon Stokley (groin, hip flexor).

With Jones back and the group healthy, Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell has more flexibility in his game planning.

"Now with Jacoby coming back and getting a few more guys back on the field, it enables us to mix it up a little bit," Caldwell said.

The Ravens used more of a spread attack Sunday against the Steelers, often having three wide receivers on the field. In some of those situations, the Ravens would use Jones and Smith on the edge, and put Brown in the slot.

That lineup forces the defense to decide which deep threat to cover over the top, which can open holes in the middle of the field for Brown, the tight ends or the running game.

"We have to really play to our strengths and use what we have," Caldwell said. "The running game is important to us and stretching the field in terms of our passing game is also important, vertically and horizontally. The vertical stuff, we obviously have guys that can get down the field and do that."

The bye week comes at a good time for Jones, who is working back to full strength. He said that he plans to stay in Baltimore and continue to get healthy.  

"I had my bye already," Jones said. "I missed a month of football, so I'll be here."

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