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All-22 analysis: Buffalo Bills free-agent special teams ace Taiwan Jones

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Taiwan Jones returns to the Bills. Let’s check in on his hiatus with the Texans

Taiwan Jones returns for a second stint with the Buffalo Bills after a year with the Houston Texans. Jones is expected to come back as a special teams mainstay so let’s check in and see how he looked last year in Houston.


Play 1

Special teams have been simplified over the last few years due to safety-related rule changes and nowhere has this had a greater impact than on kickoffs. Maintaining gap discipline with your teammates is crucial, but with fewer starting variations for the kicking team it’s hard to be unpredictable. Taiwan Jones does his best to achieve this with movement in his lane to get through the first wave of blockers. Then a good change of direction at the end allows him to slow down the ball carrier and limit the return.

Play 2

He doesn’t make the tackle here, but watch how many opponents need to account for Taiwan Jones. Pulling others away from their assignment can have a significant impact. And just allowing Jones to slip by isn’t an ideal situation either.

Play 3

On punts as a gunner, it’s Taiwan Jones’s job to get to the ball first. Whether it’s to down it or make a tackle an unobstructed path is the best one. Plays like this lead to fair catches just as we see here.

Play 4

Now on the punt return team, the idea is the opposite. Get in his opponent’s way. Taiwan Jones starts off looking like he’ll lose this round, but pulls ahead due to excellent understanding of high-speed geometry.

Play 5

One more glimpse at what Taiwan Jones can do. Players like Jones are why I cringe every time the ball is returned. Making it back to the 25 isn’t all that likely.


Summary

The Buffalo Bills could use some help on special teams and Taiwan Jones is a good roster addition toward that end. Jones is a good blend of discipline and controlled chaos, which is necessary to squeak out the occasional special play on special teams. Make no mistake, Jones will need a solid ten around him to be effective. With his return though, that’s 1/11 of the puzzle down.