San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle D.J. Jones spoke to the media Thursday afternoon and confirmed he’s 100% healthy: “Physically, I’m doing great and getting my body in great shape. Ankle is 100%, and I’m able to run, cut.”
How excited are you to be on a defensive line with a bunch of players that can line up at so many spots?
I’m just excited to play with another South Carolina guy, to be honest (referring to Javon Kinlaw.) He’s an animal. He’s gone through the same ranks I’ve gone through. Like you said, versatility to the D-Line. I don’t feel like anybody is dimensional on our D-Line, and he’s adding on to that puzzle. Eventually, it’s all going to show, and we’ll finish next time.
How are you going to adjust without Buckner/Day?
I just shed a tear when you said that. Those were two guys that were leaders in our room. Sheldon was the smartest guy that I‘ve had the opportunity to play with on and off the field. Buckner was an all-around leader, just showing by example. He was always on time. Buck was the guy. If you wanted to know how to do something right, you go to Buck. Losing those guys are tough, but we have enough leaders in the room like Arik, even a young Bosa, Dee Ford, guys that can step up and fill that role.
Did you have a procedure on your ankle after the season, and I’m wondering how you can improve as a pass rusher to provide some punch on the inside?
I did not have a procedure on my ankle. As far as pass rush goes, if I don’t stop my feet, I can get to the quarterback. The second my feet stop, I’m stuck in mud, and I’m not getting to the passer. As long as I continue to move my feet, as my defensive line coach continues to tell me, and that’s what I’m working on, I can get to the quarterback.
What else do you see from Kinlaw that he’s going to provide on the defensive line for y’all?
Excuse my language; he’s a grown site decorum man. He’s bulky; he’s strong as all get out as you can see on film. He’s driving lineman to the quarterback, which I love to see, which I know Kris Kocurek loves to see. He has heavy hands, and that’s one aspect on our defensive line that we all have.
What makes you stop your feet, and how do you get better at keeping your feet moving?
Just simulating rushing the passer. With me and stopping my feet, I’m so used to run blocking and standing the guy up and looking for the ball to come to me. With pass rush, you have to go get the quarterback. I’ve never been a third-down guy, but I’m working on that now.
Who is a player that you model your game after?
I’m not one to compare or try and be like someone else, but if I did, I’d say Fletcher Cox. He has heavy hands; he can get to the quarterback. You ain’t moving him; it’s not happening. As far as being grimy and being a man in the trenches, I want to have a household name like Fletcher Cox.
What’s Kocurek like in Zoom meetings?
Same energy, and that’s why we all love him. I don’t think anything can take him out of his realm. That’s who he is. That’s how he’s taught his whole life. So we wouldn’t expect anything different. He’s the same guy, and we love him to death.