Patriots

Herm Edwards reveals his advice to new Patriots cornerback Jack Jones

"His arrows are going in the right direction.”

Patriots Jack Jones
Arizona State defensive back Jack Jones. AP Photo/Rick Scuteri
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Arizona State head football coach Herm Edwards has seen the roller-coaster ride Patriots rookie cornerback Jack Jones has been on the past few years more closely than most: from starting his college career at USC to getting in trouble with the law to resurrecting his NFL dreams with the Sun Devils.

So the ex-NFL player and coach had an unusual piece of advice for Jones, who will soon get his first taste of NFL action: Be selfish.

“This is when you have to be selfish as a football player,” Edwards told Jones, according to his interview with Patriots Wire. “Everything has to be about this right now: your focus, your preparation, your time. It all has to go into this.”

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Jones’s talent has never been at issue. He was a five-star defensive back recruit coming out of high school who ended up at USC and immediately earned playing time at the storied college football program. Then, after he was dismissed from USC and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor burglary charges, he turned a one-year stint at Moorpark Junior College into another chance at Arizona State, where he became an All-Pac 12 performer.

The key has been Jones staying focused on the right path, which is something Edwards found himself impressed by during his time with the new Patriots rookie.

“I mean, think about that: he flunks out one place and graduates at another,” the Sun Devils coach said. “The way that he matured and developed has helped him tremendously. His arrows are going in the right direction.”

“I just think where he came from. He was at an all-time low when we brought him in and visited with him. (It’s about) kind of where he’s at and where’s he’s gotten to. And it’s taken a lot of work on his part, too.”

He won’t be the first Patriots cornerback in recent memory to come into Foxborough with baggage needing to be sorted through. Departed star J.C. Jackson, who now plays for the Los Angeles Chargers, went undrafted partly due to concerns about his being arrested and charged with armed robbery in 2015, though he was found not guilty in the end.

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The “Patriot Way,” Edwards explained, makes New England the perfect place for him to land.

“Sometimes talent can be a curse. I just think that he needs a place with structure and this place (the Patriots) will give him structure,” he said. “Honestly, he’s going to a place where — when you think about the system and how they use their players — I think it’s a good fit for him. I think he needs that type of fit. He needs the strictness of what’s asked to do, of what’s required.

“He has enough talent. It won’t be because of talent. It will just be his ability to process the information and then do it in practice and apply it in a game — over and over and over. I think he understands that.”

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