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Super Bowl 2013: Cutting Jacoby Jones Wasn't The Wrong Move, Trying To Change His Game Was

Don't blame Rick Smith for Jacoby Jones. Turn your crosshairs on special teams coordinator Joe Marciano and head coach Gary Kubiak for not utilizing Jones' strengths.

Why was he never the full-time kick returner, Marciano?
Why was he never the full-time kick returner, Marciano?

Mike Florio is wrong.

I know this isn't news. Florio is wrong a lot according to a quick Google search.

Florio, if you didn't click that first link, states that Jacoby Jones' Super Bowl XLVII/playoff/2012 success highlights how wrong Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith was for cutting him last season. He is not the only one harping on that opinion, but we'll make Florio stand in as the face of this opinion.

Most smart Texans fans know that type of thought is wrong. Jones was given an opportunity and was maddeningly inconsistent in Houston. He dropped passes, ran in circles, and bobbled punts. Jones had NFL size and speed, but he simply had to get out of Houston after five seasons. He needed the change in scenery. The move to release him was not a bad one by Smith.

However, the move should reflect poorly on special teams coordinator Joe Marciano and even head coach Gary Kubiak.

In Jones' Houston career, the Texans never made him the primary kickoff returner. Jacoby Jones never had a season with more than 24 kickoff returns and did not return a single kickoff in 2011. The Texans used him as a third receiver and punt returner and attempted to groom him into being a starting NFL receiver, even when it was apparent that Jones' strength was speed with a little bit of wriggle.

Last night, and this season, you have seen Jacoby at his best. For the second time this postseason, Jones made a move, got behind the safeties, and scored on deep touchdown passes. On his kickoff return, it was a mostly straight runback. Sure, he bobbled another punt, but this season saw Jacoby Jones encouraged to return, encouraged to run, and used sparingly as a receiver.

The result? Jones scored a career-best eight total touchdowns and set a Super Bowl record for most total yards, including a record-tying 108-yard touchdown return. The undisputed 2012 All-Pro kickoff returner had three kickoff return touchdowns in 20 games as a Raven and the Texans had three seasons where he totaled 17 total kickoff returns.

This season isn't proof that Rick Smith made a bad move. Jones' season is further fuel on the fire that Marciano is a bad special teams coordinator who opted not to use Jones as a kick returner and bad, albeit rare, mismanagement of a player by Coach Kubiak. Jacoby Jones is the same player Houston drafted back in 2007. The braintrust tried to make him into something he was not. The conversation became about what Jones couldn't do as opposed to the speed and big-return ability he actually brought to the table.