*Jamal Jones is making the most of his European adventure, at least on the football field.
Through seven games, the wide receiver is the leading pass-catcher for the Frankfurt Galaxy with 24 receptions for 338 yards, totals that place him seventh among the NFL Europe League leaders in both categories.
Despite his contributions on the field, his Galaxy have struggled thus far, winning only two games. This week, determined to turn things around, Jones and the Galaxy take on the 1-6 Rhein Fire.
The former North Carolina A&T wideout is joined in Frankfurt by two Packers teammates, defensive end and Seante Williams and fellow receiver Sam Breeden. Jones now continues with the fourth installment of his NFL Europe Diary:*
We're still having a little trouble trying to find a victory. We had a close one last week, losing to Cologne in overtime. We thought we were going to come out with the win but in the end we couldn't pull it off. That was tough, plus we were coming off a blowout against Amsterdam, 48-10. We went from a blowout to an overtime loss.
But we're going to have to keep fighting. We still have three games left, so I'm not going to say the season is over. We can still finish out 5-5.
I thought we actually played well last week, even though we lost. The problem is we still had a lot of penalties towards the end of the game. We had two false starts in a row that backed us up to first down and 20, and we also had a turnover. I still feel like once we put it all together we can start winning some games. We're going to have to come back this week and do some of the same things that we were doing last week, but this time we just have to finish them off.
It's tough being part of a team that's struggling, and you have to remember that one of the reasons you're over here is to develop and become a better player. But still, as a player, you don't make it to this level unless you're a competitive person. You always want to win in whatever you do. You don't want anything on your record to be a loss or to be a bad reflection of yourself. It's tough to say 'yeah, our record is 2-5,' but at the same time you focus on improving your skills and your game and hope that everything else takes care of itself.
Personally, I think that I'm getting more comfortable playing. I'm not thinking as much as I did when I first got to the league. There are a lot of things you have to think about when you're playing, like lining up, going in motion, and the routes you're running. But the more you do it, the more comfortable you get and it becomes a more relaxing situation. You can just react instead of thinking all the time.
When I look at the film I think that I run good routes. I'm not going to say they're perfect, but I definitely see an improvement. The main thing that I like to do is just try to get open every time. Sometimes you know you're not going to get the ball on certain plays because they're designed to go the other way, but at the same time I always try to make myself an option for the quarterback.
I've been pretty unlucky in that I haven't scored a touchdown yet. I'd like to get in the end zone at least a couple of times before the season is over, but we don't really go deep a lot. We run a lot of short crosses and dig routes. We're more of a possession-type offense, meaning that we run and throw more of the intermediate-type passes.
Personally, I think I'm more of a deep-play receiver, but we just haven't taken a lot of shots this year. But I can't focus on that. All I can do is just go out there and every time we break the huddle, run the play that's called and just do my job. A lot of times when we get into goal line situations, we'll go to the tight end or the running game. But we still have three games, so we'll see what happens.
As for some of the other Packers that are here with me, Seante Williams has been working very hard. He has three sacks on the season and is leading the team, so he's doing a good job on pass rush.
Sam Breeden is the other receiver that I play with, so we've kind of formed a relationship. We've been playing receiver together for a whole year and we're going to see each other again in training camp. I think everybody from the Packers is doing good and hopefully we can carry it over to camp.
This weekend's Frankfurt Galaxy-Rhein Fire game will be televised live in the U.S. on NFL Network, Saturday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT). The game will also be re-aired on NFL Network Saturday at 7:00 p.m. (CDT). Make sure to check out Jamal and his Packers teammates. Jones' NFL Europe Diary will continue throughout the season on Packers.com.