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Jones finding his way


Jacoby Jones has traversed a bumpy two years with the Texans. He rode into Houston as a rookie in 2007 with a highlight-reel filled preseason, only to suffer a shoulder injury in Week 3 that held him back for the rest of the year.

In 2008, Jones found his niche as a punt returner, taking two punts to the end zone and averaging 21.5 yards per return. However, fumbles plagued him both as a returner and a receiver. Jones ended up the fifth best receiver on the team and finished with three catches for 81 yards.

"Sometimes, guys have to go through some rough times before they figure out, 'Hey, this isn't easy,'" coach Gary Kubiak said. "Jacoby is one of those young men who had a lot of success very early coming into this league and then all of a sudden realized how tough it was week-to-week. He had some other issues that we had to work through, but he's shown this offseason that he understands what's most important, and it's the job he does on the field."

{QUOTE}Jones is doing the most he can during OTAs to show that he has matured both on and off the field.

"I'm pretty comfortable," he said. "I'm in my third year with this offense and practicing the same scheme and I'm getting to come to the forefront.

"This offseason I worked a lot at home, too. Now, I am getting more comfortable with the offense and the game is slowing down for me. The game is slowing down and my lifestyle and everything else is slowing down."

Jones also feels more confident after training with several members of the Saints in New Orleans like Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson. His coaches aksi have noticed a difference in his approach to the game.

"I just think he came in here this year and his mindset is that he knows this is his third year and it's time for him to start playing the way we think he can play," wide receivers coach Larry Kirkey said. "So far he's doing all of the things we're asking him to do, so now it's just all mental and not thinking too much about the mental aspect of the game, but at the same time going out and getting the job done."

There are no questions that Jones has the speed and athleticism to be a big-time playmaker, but he has needed to develop his physical and mental strength.

"I just think this offseason program he's gotten a little bit stronger, and that's a good sign for him," Kirksey said. "I think he's always been focused in the meeting room. It's just a matter of, now the offense is so vast that he realized, 'Hey, this is where I'm going to be, in this position or in this other position.' You've got to know it all, but at the same time he knows where we're going to place him in the offense right now. He understands that, and he's been focused and he's getting it done."

For Jones, getting it done means making tough catches on a consistent basis.

"(Offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) came to me, told me I need to be consistent and show up in OTAs and training camp and earn the trust of the coaches so they can have faith in me," Jones said. "I want to be consistent. I want to try to stay more focused all the time. A lot of times last year, I lost focus on my punt returns."

While Jones still is a fun-loving guy in the locker room, he knows he must improve his route running and catching to climb his way up the depth chart.

"He works right now," Kirksey said. "He's a fun guy and all that, but at the same time he knows when he's out here that he's got to work and that's what he's doing."

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