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A Conversation With: Justin Jones
The defensive tackle discusses the new defensive scheme and how he’s fitting into it, what it’s like being a first-time dad, and more.
By Hayley Elwood Jul 06, 2021

This summer, we thought we'd check in with a few Chargers players before the 2021 season kicks into gear.

Our second conversation features defensive tackle Justin Jones.

2021 marks Jones' fourth season in the league and with experience under his belt, he's ready for what this year will bring.

Here's more from Jones on the benefits to the new defensive scheme, how he's fitting into it, what it's like being a first-time dad, and more.

2021 is your fourth season in the league, how crazy is it that it's already year four for you?

Justin Jones: It's gone by pretty fast, I'm not gonna lie. But, I'm definitely looking forward to this season. We've got a lot in store, especially for our defense and especially for our defensive front. The things we're doing this year are so crazy compared to what we've been doing previous seasons.

Yeah look, I'm not gonna ask you to give away any secrets! But what feels different?

Jones: We've got a lot more space now which frees a lot of us up. That's going to give us opportunities to get these one-on-ones and expose them. That'll be really good for us as a front because we've got some really good rushers on our team and now, we really get to showcase their abilities with the space.

How good does it feel to physically get out on the field with the new coaching staff in the offseason program?

Jones: At first, I was pretty anxious because I wanted to see how everything was going to look. But after being out here, listening to the coaches and what they're trying to accomplish, I'm really confident in the season. Like really, really confident. That's a good thing because normally going into a season, I'm not saying I wasn't confident, but you might still have your doubts on how we're gonna do certain things. But here, where we're at right now, it's more just this is how we're going to run it. When (the other team) does this, we're going to adjust to it like this. It's a legit game plan that's flexible enough to work against all teams.

It really feels like the tone is being set right now.

Jones: Facts. You can definitely feel it throughout the building.

How does your role this year compare to what you've done in the past?

Jones: This year, I feel like I'm gonna get a lot more one-on-ones and that's gonna let me really showcase my abilities and talents. In previous years, we've had really good rushers, and me being the young player, you had to allow those rushers to keep doing their things so we can win these games. So that kind of pushed me in a box, lowkey. So ability-wise, just really showing what I'm able to do, and now I'll be able to put that in front and show everybody what's going on.

This offseason, you've posted a lot of videos on your Instagram account of you working out. How has your training regimen changed or evolved since you came into the league?

Jones: We focus more so on function of movements and being explosive out of the actual football movements rather than your regular traditional lifts and traditional conditioning. We went more so with functionality and it's really gonna help my game and be really beneficial for me just being strong out of certain movements. Where I was training at, it was a new gym. The guy who was training me, I actually went to high school with him, but he went to school for this. So the gym was fairly new but we got to it and I had a really good offseason with him.

A couple years ago, you mentioned changing your diet, you picked up boxing. Is there anything new, besides some of your training, that you've implemented or are doing differently this year?

Jones: I went home! I went home for the first time in a long time. I hadn't been home for more than a week in years, so this was the first time I stayed home for about three months for the most part. It brought me back to humble beginnings.

Your daughter recenty turned six months old, what's being a dad like?

Jones: It's the greatest thing in the world, just watching her grow up. Seeing her try to walk, right now as we're on the phone she's in here walking around in her walker just touching stuff and trying to figure out where everything is. From her being first born to now, it's just crazy. She's grown so much. She's so interested in everything around her. She wants to talk. She wants to eat everything. She wants to be involved in everything. I see myself in her so much and it's beautiful.

What did it mean to get to spend that time with her in a really important part of her life?

Jones: It was beautiful. She came at the perfect time. Honestly, she was just what I needed. I'm glad she's here. She's healthy and she got to see her grandma and get to see other people in her family and that's beautiful, too.

What do you mean by saying "she was just what I needed?" Is it how some guys say they have a bigger purpose when kids become a part of their life?

Jones: That's exactly what it is and you never know how real it is until it's actually in front of you. She looks just like you and acts just like you and wants to be just like you or just like her mom. It's beautiful.

Lastly Justin, what are some things that you want to accomplish this year whether it's personal goals or with this team?

Jones: I just wanna win. I really enjoy winning, I love the ins and outs of the game, and I love performing with my teammates just seeing everybody make plays and me making plays myself is a really fun thing. So just being able to do that, especially in this new scheme which enables everybody to be who they are as players, it's just gonna be really cool and really scary for a lot of teams.

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