Stop telling Cyrus Jones to turn his head

Stop+telling+Cyrus+Jones+to+turn+his+head

Sean Landry

Cyrus Jones has heard you screaming at him to turn his head in pass coverage. He has heard the anguished cries of Alabama fans after yet another pass interference flag flies. He knows what some of you have said about his abilities. He has read your tweets.

He just disagrees.

“Not always the case.” Jones said of turning to look for the ball in coverage. “Coach Saban always preaches in-phase and out-of-phase. If our shoulder isn’t in front of the receiver’s shoulder, we’re told not to look for the ball, because it’s easier to lose position and get out of phase when you turn and look, if you don’t have proper vertical and horizontal position on the receiver.”

Jones led the SEC in passes defended last season. This season he has two interceptions and seven pass breakups, including a drive-halting goal line pick against Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl.

“A lot of times in the red zone with fade routes and stuff like that, you don’t have time to turn around and try to look for the ball,” Jones said. “You just got to play the ball through the receiver’s hands and use your instincts and use your judgement, you know. Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we’re wrong. That’s the fundamentals he taught us, and that’s what we’ll do every time out.”

Jones’ interception came one play after conceding an 18-yard completion on a similar play, one of only a handful of completions he’s given up this season. Jones isn’t targeted often, particularly not one-on-one.

“You gonna give up plays,” Jones said. “I’ve given up plays before. I’ve gotten criticized. It doesn’t mean nothing to me. I’m still going to go out there and do my job.”

Without fail, Jones’ teammates call him one of the (if not the) most competitive people they’ve ever met–one of two traits linebacker Reuben Foster said he has in common with coach Nick Saban.

“Yeah, I think [I’m the most competitive player on the team],” Jones said. “They say I’ve got little man syndrome. I guess with me being short and the way I think, I don’t back down from nobody or nothing. That’s the way I go out there and that’s the way I play. “