Are Bengals defenders Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict really as problematic as advertised? Is this a fair evaluation of their worth?
Passion is paramount, in the game of football. It’s a quality that comes along very seldom and is surprisingly refreshing. The Bengals have the luxury of two players who exhibit the throwback tendencies of ancient gridiron workhorses. Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict have been called idiots and cancers. But, the bottom line is evident. They have heart.
In an age when most players are readily seen and heard talking money on social media, Jones lays his heart bare. Since becoming a part of the Bengals family in 2010, No. 24 has remained intense and edgy. It depends on the circumstances who emerges. The “Pac-Man” persona has been left behind, but will resurface when competition brings it out.
Recently, Bengals teammates voted for Jones as a defensive captain. It’s the first time he’s held the honor since his days at Westlake High School in Atlanta. Skeptics readily ask why. The answer is simple…dedication and passion for the game.
"“Jones is a guy that has been a leader on this team. He’s been here for a long time. Guys understand how he works. The way he goes about doing his business. I was happy for him that the guys voted for him.”"
If analysts and certain fans aren’t happy, Dalton set the record straight.
Being named a Bengals captain will be good for Jones. The position will give him a level of responsibility that will make him think before reacting. In turn, that will make the defense better and him a better player. With burden comes understanding.
Is It Good For Adam?
Having teammates bestow the honor was a surprise. His presence during training camp was both intimidating and encouraging. Jones finds pride in winning and not getting beat in coverage. He continually challenged veterans and rookies to turn it up. His efforts were noticed and he was humbled. His level of perfection is motivation for all.
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“It’s good to have a guy that’s had a little adversity and he’s trying to overcome that adversity,” Dre Kirkpatrick explained. “Put him in a leadership role and he has to hold himself up. We voted him and he has to make us look good. I feel like he’s well up to par for it.He gets guys going that really don’t want to get going. That’s a leader.”
Will Jones still be fiery and explosive? Geez, I hope so. That’s what football is.
The Burfict Storm
What’s the last expression of emotion Vontaze is remembered for? Uncontrolled anger. Tons of photos, screenshots and gifs have immortalized him as a raving maniac. Rationalize it any way you need. Burfict’s frustration was due to a sudden realization: Loss. The Bengals were about to lose a game they had gained control of. The culmination of great defense–and an inspired A.J. McCarron–was sliding into the gutters with the falling rain.
Burfict was doomed. Suddenly, he was the Bengals goat. Showing no emotion would have made him a quitter. Since he acted with disbelief and frustration, he’s the accomplice of another goofball…Jones. The desire to end 24 years of playoff futility brought wrath and hatred upon Burfict. But, it wasn’t all his fault.
I’m not a Burfict sympathizer. Yet, there were postgame confirmations that put most of the blame on officials. Bengals faithful started a petition to replay the game (yeah, right), but that wasn’t going to happen. Instead, Burfict was suspended for a questionable hit on Antonio Brown and regarded as insane.
Does Burfict cross the line sometimes? Yes, he does. Is he one of the most talented WILL linebackers in the league? Again, a definite yes. Here’s something to think about. With Bengals players making Jones a captain, fans will get to see the maturation of both players. There will have to be a level of emotional content.
In the words of the late, great Bruce Lee, “Boards…don’t hit back.”
The Bengals will once again be a defensive terror on the field. Hopefully, the fire and passion from Burfict and Jones will lead them to Houston.