As the conversation continues about Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and whether the team should exercise their option on him for 2017 to bring him back, a small contingent of fans have started growing louder about rookie quarterback and current third-string player Cardale Jones.
The Bills took Jones in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft with the idea to essentially redshirt him this season, teaching him the nuances of the position as they go along. While voices in the fan base have gotten more prevalent about Jones, it seemed like a pertinent time to get an update from the coaching staff on his progress this season.
And by their account, it’s going extremely well as he splits scout team reps with backup quarterback EJ Manuel.
“He’s what you want waiting on the runway,” Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said, insinuating that having a player of his caliber as a developmental quarterback that you’re waiting on is the ideal scenario.
“He’s working hard. I mean, he’s a gunslinger, strong arm. We watch him in scout team, evaluate his reps in scout team — he’s putting the ball in the right places, he’s accurate. I think his development is coming along fine.”
During training camp, Jones flashed his big arm and velocity on his passes, but was often missing receivers due to poor technique — something he’s been working on with quarterbacks coach David Lee.
Now with only a month to go in the season, the once familiar critiques from Lee of keeping his elbow up or fixing his footwork, are no longer commonplace.
“I’m actually not hearing it at all, which is a good thing. And that’s one thing he keeps harping on,” Jones said Thursday. “There’s still ways to improve, but, I’m doing what he says.”
Jones is making progress on the physical side, but what about the mental side?
“He’s very smart, hard-working,” Lynn said. “I don’t know what went on at Ohio State, but here, he’s picked up the offense well. He’s in meetings with all the other quarterbacks. He comes early, he leaves late. I’ve been very satisfied with his work ethic.”
There’s no telling when Jones will get his first opportunity to play for the Bills, or even when he’ll be active on game day for the first time. However, progress seems to have been made with the rookie quarterback, which will only add fuel to the fire of the loudening contingent of Jones supporters.