Despite fumbles, Packers haven't lost confidence in rookie WR Jones Print
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Thursday, 11 October 2007 11:36
NFL Headline News

 GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -Although there are certainly better ways to spend your Sunday night than getting yelled at by your coach on national television, Green Bay Packers rookie wide receiver James Jones said he was more upset than Mike McCarthy about his two fumbles.
``I want to yell at myself,'' Jones said. ``I know I made the mistake, you know?''
Jones cost the Packers a pair of first-half scoring chances when he was stripped by Bears cornerback Charles Tillman to end back-to-back possessions in Chicago territory. The Bears came back in the second half to win 27-20, handing the Packers their first loss of the season.
Jones, a third-round draft pick out of San Jose State, emerged in training camp as a sure-handed receiver who catches just about everything thrown his way. But he incurred the wrath of Brett Favre in the preseason after he didn't end up where Favre expected him to be on a handful of plays.
But despite the fumbles, Favre now says he won't stop throwing the ball to Jones.
``I can't lose confidence, not only in him but in anyone else,'' Favre said. ``As the game unfolds, he can't say, 'Man, I was wide open, Brett won't throw it to me.' That can't happen and won't happen. I'm going to make reads based on, hopefully, the best option on that particular play. And if he's the guy, then I'll throw it to him.''
With good reason: He's the Packers' second-most productive receiver through the first five games, with 23 catches for 293 yards and a touchdown.
``He's made some very good plays for us this year and will continue to do that,'' Favre said. ``I know he was down on himself, and Mike gave him a slap on the wrist on the sidelines. But he still is one of our premier players, and he's going to be called upon.''
McCarthy said earlier this week that the team has ``moved on'' - even though Jones seemed to attract quite a bit of attention during a ball-security drill in practice.
``Our guys have been very good with the ball in their hands,'' McCarthy said. ``We need to continue to do so. We just need to do a better job of protecting the football.''
McCarthy acknowledged that Tillman made good plays to strip the ball from Jones, but Jones should have tucked the ball away instead of carrying it near his waist.
``Anytime you carry the ball around your waist you're asking for trouble,'' McCarthy said. ``You have to catch it, bring it to your body and secure it high and tight. It's something we practice all the time and it can happen as fast as it did to him in the game. He has very good hands for a young guy - as good as anyone I've ever worked with, of catching the ball away from his body and bringing it in to his body. He's just got to be quicker.''
Jones acknowledged the two good plays by Tillman, but knows he ultimately takes the blame.
``He made a play, but it was a mistake by me,'' Jones said. ``Bad ball security by me, good knocking it out by him. So however you want to take it, I lost the ball, so I've got to suffer through the consequences.''
Those consequences included getting chewed out by McCarthy and getting benched for several series. Jones said he wanted to go back in the game right away to make up for his mistakes, but that wasn't up to him.
``You definitely want to get back in and make a play,'' Jones said. ``But like I said, it's the coaches' decision. ... I'm more mad at myself than I am at anybody. And I've just got to come out next week and make some plays and do the right thing.''
Fellow wide receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings offered immediate encouragement on the sideline during the game, and several other players have since offered their support.
Not that Jones needed a pep talk.
``I was more mad at myself,'' Jones said. ``I don't need (anybody) to come up to me and say, 'Shake it off.' I know.''
 

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