Cardinals’ Josh Jones feels right at home at starting left tackle
Dec 11, 2022, 1:03 PM
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Josh Jones had himself an eye-opening experience last season.
Seizing the opportunity placed in front of him in 2021, Jones transitioned from tackle, a position he played throughout college, to guard in just his second year as a pro.
The results were as expected across 12 starts, with Jones earning valuable playing time, though, was clearly out of position along the trenches.
But with D.J. Humphries dealing with back issues for a good portion of the second half of this season — eventually heading to injured reserve — Jones has found himself back in the starting lineup and playing the position he knows best.
“I played that all in college … and I’ve been trying to go through this little transitional phase trying to figure it out,” Jones said Tuesday. “So being back at left tackle, I just feel comfortable. I feel like I’m playing like it.
“Everything’s slowing down for me now being back over there. I feel like I can be more aggressive over there. It just feels like home over there.”
In four of the last five matchups, Jones has played no less than 100% of the available offensive snaps.
Barring an injury, it’s a trend that will continue over the rest of the season with Humphries ruled out for the remainder of the season.
“I think he’s held his own,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said during the bye week. “He’s been waiting for an opportunity. I know at times he’s been frustrated because we have had (right tackle Kelvin Beachum) and D.J. playing at a high level, but he stepped in and played well.
“That’s encouraging for us moving forward, and being able to play right, left and be that swing guy is a huge bonus for us.”
Wrapping up an otherwise disappointing season team-wise on a positive note could pay dividends for both Jones and the team down the line.
Carrying a cap hit of just over $1.5 million next season, Jones could very well work his way into the starting lineup in 2022, especially with Beachum set to hit unrestricted free agency and wouldn’t break the bank in doing so. There’s also Humphries’ health status to keep tabs on this offseason.
For now, though, Jones is staying in the present. As he put it, he and the team will cross that next bridge when they get there.
“I’m just focused on these next five games, taking it one game at a time and trying to go out there and put on a great performance each and every week,” Jones said.