DAVIE — When T.J. McDonald returned to practice this week, Reshad Jones had a simple message for his new safety partner.
“We’ve got eight weeks to go to work,” Jones said. “So let’s go hard and see what happens.”
The Dolphins believe what’s about to happen is beautiful symphony. That’s why Jones was locked up to the tune of five years and $60 million this off-season. That’s why McDonald was locked up to the tune of four years and $24 million.
That’s a big commitment to two very talented safeties who, on the surface, appear to have similar strengths.
At one point of another. both Jones and McDonald have been accurately described as strong safeties. So who’s more likely to take the deep ball? Who’s most likely to take the post?
Miami says both. It’s all about interchangeability. And versatility. And meshing dynamic, impact players.
Oh, and according to defensive coordinator Matt Burke, the notion McDonald doesn’t have cover range is rubbish.
‘You see a big, a 6-3, 225 pound safety and you just assume those things,” Burke said. “It was probably sort of a bias I had when we signed him. I thought that actually was one of the pleasant things about him we noticed in the spring. He’s a tall kid that can range back there too and do some things. I think it’s just sort of human nature to say let’s put this big guy in the box and that’s where he is, but we try to find safeties that are multi-dimensional and multi-talented that can do different things that don’t hamstring a play caller or a defensive scheme. I don’t have any reservations of putting those guys back in the back end.”
Among the Dolphins who have played with Reshad Jones in Miami are: Yeremiah Bell, Chris Clemons, Louis Delmas, Michael Thomas, Isa Abdul-Quddus and Nate Allen.
“I just control what I can control,” Jones said. “I go out and do whatever I can to help this team win. Whoever is next to me or whoever is playing with me, it really doesn’t matter. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a lot of good safeties throughout my career here; but it really doesn’t matter.”
Jones believes he will mesh well with McDonald. He’s more concerned about their communication and getting everyone lined up correctly than who’s going to be closer to the line of scrimmage more often.
“I think he’s a versatile safety too,” Jones said. “He can play free or strong and I, obviously, can play free or strong. I’ve played both throughout my career here, so I think we do complement each other well.”
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