GREEN BAY, Wis. – Earlier in his career, Green Bay Packers receiver James Jones might have complained about what happened in Sunday’s season opener at San Francisco, where he didn’t catch a single pass and was targeted only twice.
In fact, two years ago, when he caught only one pass for 1 yard in the opener against the New Orleans Saints, Jones did just that after playing a limited role.
“I’m not saying I want the ball every play,” Jones said after the 2011 opener. “But I think I deserve to be on the field more than I was.”
So it was reasonable to expect Jones to be a little sour after he was shut out against the 49ers. But perhaps in a sign of how much the seventh-year receiver has matured, Jones on Wednesday didn’t utter a word of anything that could be considered a complaint.
“There isn’t anything to yap about,” said Jones, who led the NFL with 14 touchdown catches last season. “We’re just trying to win. I’d be real unselfish if I came in here and had an attitude or something.”
Jones’ attitude was especially impressive given that he’s in a contract year, and it showed that he’s willing to be a leader, something he said he embraced last season.
“I think I took on that role last year once Greg (Jennings) and Donald (Driver), Greg got hurt and Donald wasn’t really into playing like that,” Jones said. “So I stepped into that role last year and just help any way I can. But most of all, just stay on the grind, lead by example, hard work (and) let the rookies see that.”
Jones played all 62 offensive snaps against the 49ers, and so did Jordy Nelson. But Nelson caught seven passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. Randall Cobb, who played 53 of 62 plays, also caught seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Jermichael Finley, who played all but three snaps, added five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown.
“James didn’t get targeted as many times as we would have liked,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Obviously you got to try to give him the ball. But the way they were playing us, the ball was going to Jermichael and Randall a lot, and Jordy had a few more opportunities.”