James Jones turns 30 in a few weeks. Even now, he’s the only Raiders receiver over 25.
A young, inexperienced group was infused with a necessary dose of leadership on Monday afternoon, when James Jones signed a three-year contract. Jones’ paycheck comes with an expectation that he will lead on the field and off, as mentor and No. 1 wideout.
That’s a role Jones will welcome.
“When I first got there as a rookie with Donald Driver, the first and foremost is leading by example,” Jones said. “I truly believe that the young guys are going to watch what I do before they listen to anything I say. So, I am going to come in here, I am going to lead by example. If they have any questions, I am going to do my best to help them out. If I see something on the practice field or something in the film room, I’ll try to do my best to speak up and be a leader. But, first and foremost it starts by just leading by example.”
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Jones will try to show the young players the way by producing on the field. The Raiders have lacked a steady presence at wideout, and their passing game has suffered as a result. He will come in as the No. 1 receiver, and take pressure off young talent in Rod Streater and Denarius Moore.
One issue remains: The Raiders don’t yet have someone to throw him the football. After working with Aaron Rodgers during a productive career, Jones goes to a team without an established starter at quarterback. The Raiders are looking for a veteran quarterback, and have interest in Michael Vick, Josh Freeman and Matt Schaub.
“Whoever we put behind center here, I am going to do the same thing I did for Aaron – just run every route to win, be as open as I can to help whoever is back there and to get this offense rolling,” Jones said. “Like I said, Reggie is doing some great things, so I know he is going to bring in some great guys to help this organization be successful.”
The San Jose native returns home after seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers, where general manager Reggie McKenzie worked as director of player personnel. The Raiders will likely add another receiver through the draft to further strengthen the offense.
“We have a lot of young receivers,” Jones said. “I’ve been in the game for a minute, so I’ll be able to help those guys out leadership-wise. Other than that, just doing what I do on the football field, making some plays, and hopefully I can give this offense a spark.”