15 Most Important Dolphins for 2013: #4 Reshad Jones

Reshad Jones is coming off of a season that many felt was deserving of a Pro Bowl selection. In his third year in the NFL, Jones had a career-year in 2012 and was the biggest playmaker on the defensive side of the ball for the Dolphins. This season, Jones may need to be just as good, if not better for a Miami secondary widely considered to be the weakest defensive link.

Jones led Miami with 4 interceptions in 2012. (Photo: PhinPhanatic)
Jones is coming off of a season in which he finished with 94 combined tackles, good for fourth on the team. Jones also finished with a sack, four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and team-highs with two fumble recoveries and four interceptions.

Jones has always been a good cover safety, but showed improvement against the run last season. Jones will need to once again be strong against the pass as Miami has to face the pass-happy NFC South, Tom Brady and the Patriots twice, not to mention Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, who torched the Dolphins a year ago, in Week 2.

Jones not only had twice as many interceptions as the next closest Dolphin last season, but the picks seemed to come at the most opportune times. His interception against Cincinnati in the final minute sealed a Week 5 victory over the Bengals. Jones even intercepted Brady when the Dolphins hosted New England last December. Miami was unable to get the victory, but the Dolphins were down 14 early and the pick seemed to turn the tide as Miami fell a touchdown short.

While the Dolphins managed just 16 takeaways all of last season, Jones was responsible for six of them. As far as AFC safeties go, only Buffalo's Jarius Byrd had more interceptions than Jones a season ago. Jones has just six interceptions through three NFL seasons, but when he records a pick, the Dolphins are 5-1.

The Miami Dolphins secondary will enter the 2013 season with a number of concerns, but safety should not be one of them. Chris Clemons, Jones' counterpart at safety, is a big hitter and coming off of a season with nearly 100 combined tackles himself. Brent Grimes, who missed virtually all of 2012, has impressed thus far at cornerback, but for the Dolphins to truly be contenders in 2013, Jones will have to prove that 2012 was not a fluke.

Jones has always had a knack for the football dating back to his college career at Georgia. Last season however, also showed Jones to have improved dramatically against the run. Jones certainly played well enough to earn Pro Bowl honors a season ago and the Dolphins are depending on him to do likewise in 2013. If Jones can prove that 2012 was no fluke, Miami will still have concerns in the secondary, but they will be greatly diminished.

Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook!