After starting the last three games, former University of Colorado linebacker Brad Jones has come up big for the Green Bay Packers.
In those three performances, Jones has racked up 21 tackles, forced a fumble and has picked up a sack. Those numbers surpass the totals he tallied from all of last season.
The fourth year NFL veteran is simply trying to step up for a defense whose linebacker corps has been depleted by injury; and he certainly is doing his best to fill the void.
Jones' began his career at middle linebacker for the Packers, who drafted Jones in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft, making eight starts in his rookie season and five more in 2010 before suffering his own injuries and being placed on injured reserved.
While contributing on special teams the past two seasons, Jones has simply been waiting for his opportunity to shine as a starting 'backer once again.
"The whole thing about the NFL, actually about life, is that it's kind of about adapting," Jones said. "I think in my life I've been really good at adapting, being adaptable and making good things out of bad situations. You've got to be adaptable in all facets of life, and football just illuminates that."
Jones' ability to adapt into a key role for the Packers during a critical portion of the schedule has helped Green Bay secure four consecutive wins as they inch closer towards the top of the NFC North, trailing only the Chicago Bears who boast a 7-1 record.
His teammates have also taken note of what Jones has been able to accomplish as a starter this season. A.J. Hawk, who has been a stable leader for the Packers linebackers throughout his six years in Green Bay, referred to Jones as, "a very smart guy. He's very explosive. He can run. He's a really good player."
Added rookie linebacker Dezman Moses: "Brad is one of those guys, he's so athletic. With his foot speed and quickness, he can read blocks and shoot a gap and make plays. That's what it's about."
Certainly if Jones continues to be as big of a factor as he has in his first three starts this season, Green Bay can expect to continue to win games; hopefully enough to march their way into the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
Notable: On Monday night, Justin Drescher and New Orleans won their third game of the season defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 28-13... Jimmy Smith recorded seven tackles in his second start of the season to help Baltimore beat Cleveland... Justin Bannan recorded three tackles in the Broncos' come from behind victory over Cincinnati on Sunday... Jalil Brown recorded his sixth tackle of the season; however, Kansas City fell to San Diego in a divisional battle... Lawrence Vickers made his fourth reception of the year for Dallas in a narrow loss at Atlanta; he is averaging seven yards per catch.