While Green Bay Packers rookie safety Darnell Savage, Jr. has been sitting out the first week of training camp practices, third-year pro Josh Jones has been seeing a bit of an uptick in playing time. He has been lining up as the starting nickel linebacker for much of camp so far, and on Tuesday Jones even got a few reps at safety with the starting defense when he swapped positions with Raven Greene.
However, Wednesday’s practice saw Jones sent to the sideline. Midway through practice, Jones got involved in an altercation with Tra Carson after putting a big hit on the running back. He never returned to the field, staying on the sidelines during the remainder of practice, including during the team’s first two-minute periods of camp.
Following practice, head coach Matt LaFleur confirmed that he benched Jones. “I told him to get out at that particular moment,” LaFleur told the media. “That’s not what we want to be about.”
For a player who just got a bit of an endorsement from his general manager before Tuesday’s practice, this is a frustrating step backwards. He will need to earn some more reps in future practices, but it sounds from LaFleur’s comments that Jones’ actions on the field went directly against some coaches’ instructions. Indeed, with the team not fully tackling in live drills, it appears that a big hit like the one that started the altercation was unacceptable to the head coach. However, he apparently also has a “zero tolerance policy” on fighting in practice, which also likely contributed to Jones’ benching.
Check back in on Thursday to see if Jones gets back to his previous workload or if his reps with the starters are scaled back again.