Time to step up: Packers DE Datone Jones

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Over the next couple of weeks, we will take a look at 10 returning members of the Green Bay Packers who need to take their game to another level this season.

Next up is defensive end Datone Jones.

Why he needs to step up: The 26th overall pick in the 2013 draft played less than one-third of the defensive snaps last season (although he missed three games because of an injury). Used mostly in a pass-rushing role on third downs, Jones managed just 1.5 sacks in 13 regular-season games. Two years in, he has started only three games and has a total of five career regular-season sacks. He was on this list last year and will need to be more productive this season to avoid making it three years in a row.

What he has to do: Perhaps the most important thing Jones needs to do is mature. He will miss the regular-season opener against the Bears while serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Earlier this offseason, he was ticketed for possession of marijuana, which might have led to his suspension.

Outlook: With B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion back, plus a rising star like Mike Daniels, there's probably little chance that Jones will be an every-down player. That likely means his opportunities will be limited to the dime package when teams are in obvious passing situations, which was essentially his role last season.

Quotable: "He made some big plays for us," Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said this offseason. "I'm really keeping my fingers crossed, because I think the kid, once he starts developing, and then he gets hurt, hopefully he can stay healthy because football means a lot to him."

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