New Titans center Ben Jones aims to make contact, not friends, with Titans.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans signed Ben Jones to bring an attitude to the team’s offensive line.
Frankly, he doesn’t care if he offends anyone along the way.
“That’s what it takes to be an offensive lineman,’’ Jones said on Wednesday. “You are not trying to make friends with anybody.”
Jones joined the Titans in March after playing his first four NFL seasons with the Houston Texans.
Since, the team has bolstered the roster on offense by taking two more offensive linemen in the draft – first-round pickJack Conklin and sixth-round pick Sebastian Tretola– while also adding punch in the run game with the addition of Derrick Henry. The Titans traded for veteran back DeMarco Murray the same day the Titans signed Jones.
Jones has liked what he’s seen.
“I have all the faith in these coaches and management, and that is why I am here,’’ he said. “I trust these guys, because I want to be a part of this, what they are building.
“We have a lot of young guys who are ready to work and learn. Everything about the organization and staff that we have here has been great. It’s intense, but they have a fun side to it. So guys enjoy being here and coming to work every day.”
So far, the Titans have also liked what they’ve seen in Jones, who started all 16 games at center for the Texans last season, and has played in 64 straight games, with 43 starts in his career. Jones (6-3, 308) started all 16 games at left guard in 2014, and has started 11 games at right guard in his career.
The Titans signed him to play center, but his experience at guard gives the team added flexibility.
“I think the o-line realizes we brought in some good guys, and they better step up,’’ Titans tight end Delanie Walkersaid. “I think Ben is very talkative. He seems like a leader. I can’t wait to see how he does when we get those pads on.”
Jones said what happens when the pads come on should come as a surprise to no one.
During an interview with local reporters on Wednesday, he made several references to hitting the opposition in the mouth, and playing smash-mouth football. It’s what he’s been known for in his career.
New offensive line coach Russ Grimm has been preaching toughness, Jones said.
“His mindset is: ‘We’re going to hit guys in the mouth and we are going to know what to do.’ That’s what we go about every day,’’ Jones said.
“That’s an offensive line’s dream,’’ Jones said of run blocking. “You want to run the ball and protect the quarterback. … If you are hitting them in the mouth every play, they’re not going to do what they love. … You have to have that grit.”
At the NFL owners meetings, Texans coach Bill O’Brien called Jones a tough guy.
“He’s a great guy,’’ O’Brien said of Jones. “He played every snap for us (in 2015) except for one, and that one – in the Buffalo game he got kneed in the back in a pile – and he came out for one play. He could barely walk and he went back in the game …
“(The Titans) are getting a tough guy, getting a great teammate, a smart player, and a leader in the locker room.”
Jones said he won’t change in Tennessee.
‘What’s gotten me here today, that’s what I have carried over here,’’ he said. “You don’t change ways for different teams or anything else. You are who you are. And the reason I am here is because of who I am. If I am here to work hard and prepare and be a tough guy — that is what I am going to bring every day.”
As for the additions of Conklin and Tretola, Jones is happy to have them on board.
He hopes they’re a lot like him.
“We’ll see,’’ he said. “It is definitely a big step from college to pro, but you let them earn the respect on the field. What you have done in college is in the past now because everybody in this league is good. They just have to come out here and work and compete.
“I am here to work and they know that, and that is what they are going to get from me. They know I am going to be here before and after if anyone needs to go over any stuff, I know my role on the team and that is what I am here for. … If they need help in the playbook, I am able to help out.”