NEW YORK – The last time
"My voice is getting deeper and deeper," Jones says late Thursday afternoon as we watch him spin the dial of Super Bowl's Radio Row. "I'll be Barry White at the end."
If White, the '70s crooner, put the move on a decade, then Jones just finished a breakout season he put his moves on the NFL. The 9 route. The fade. The back-shoulder. They added up to 10 touchdowns in his second year and if he's not a household name then he's at least a front-porch acquaintance and NBC Sports Radio, Pro Football Talk, Sirius XM are singing his praises. Among others.
"NFL Films was fun," Jones says of his trip in front of the league cameras that supplement the NFL Network's lists and features. "The Top 100 and stuff like that."
Jones smiles his GQ smile when asked if he has been voted among the league's top 100 players for 2013.
"I hope so," he says. "If not, I will be."
After all, this is Richard Sherman's Super Bowl. And if Sherman has taught us one thing, you can be confident, and still be smart, humble and respectful. OK, Sherman had a bad 17 seconds. What's the media's excuse in the two weeks since the NFC title game?
"I'm striving to be great," Jones says. "I know what type of person I am. I know what type of player I am. I know I can be a great player in this league and just keep doing what I've always been doing. Working hard, staying humble and making plays and I'll be where I want to be."
Melanie Wadden, one of the publicists for Jones's agency, Octagon, is also working hard. She has navigated Jones through a national feed before bringing him back home to Cincinnati's ESPN 1530.
The table is manned by the familiar tones of Mo Egger and Lindsay Patterson, and Egger has alertly made the connection between Jones's University of California pedigree and Sherman's roots.
(It really is home. Jones has traded in those Cali roots to keep the kids in Cincinnati all year long.)
"What's up with your Stanford guy Richard Sherman?" Egger asks at the end of a nine-minute bit to be heard on Egger's show Friday afternoon between 3 and 6 p.m.
Jones explains that when he went against him, Sherman had just made the transition from wide receiver to cornerback in his last two collegiate seasons.
"Check this out," Jones says. "He was different than he is now. He has a great deal of confidence. (But) he was inexperienced going through a new position at Stanford. The Stanford Sherman I know is different. He's one of the best defensive backs in the league. There's no way around that."
Long before he grounded the Jets, Jones showed his own commitment. During the summer, Bengals quarterback
"We figured why not make it a family vacation?" Jones says. "We put a big pail of food in there and we made it a road trip. It was fun and it was great getting together with the guys."
The playoff loss doesn't travel well with any of them. But Jones is confident about his team, too. He gets the Dalton question at every pass along radio row and the answer is the same, just like every one of his routes is supposed to be the same. Egger, NBC's Jon Stashower, and Sirius want to know the reaction to the reaction of the mushroom cloud of criticism hovering over Dalton's three-turnover game in the playoffs.
"You just tell him, 'You're in a good position,' " Jones says. "Barely any quarterback has ever been in (that position). We're going to be all right. No panic button. What we have in the locker room is what is going to take us to the Super Bowl. I truly believe that and he's a part of it. Hey, you're the quarterback. You're going to get grilled."
Stashower wants to know which receivers he admires and Jones allows he's not always checking out the mega names.
"Steve Smith. Pierre Garcon. Very technical route-runners," Jones says. "They know how to react in certain situations in certain leverages. People like them that are explosive. The average guy will say, 'I don't watch them,' or their names won't come up, but those are guys I've studied on film that do the little things."
New offensive coordinator Hue Jackson observed his promotion from running backs coach with a message to his unit delivered purposefully through the media that he's going to challenge one and all with a personality he terms "fiery."
"It won't be all that different. We challenge the guys we have in our room. We challenge ourselves as the coaches do," Jones says. "We coach ourselves as well as getting coached and taking criticism. It's not going to be anything fairly new. We know Hue. We've been with him for a while now. We know the type of coach he is and we're excited."
"I think he will," Jones says when asked a bit gracelessly if he thinks Jackson will "get in their grills."
"We're professionals. We're supposed to do things right. We're supposed to elevate our game. We're not supposed to be the same that we were. Our coaches get on us and we expect more because we're a year older and we've grown with each other and we expect more from each other."
He sees Jackson getting a promotion and linebackers coach Paul Guenther getting promoted to defensive coordinator and he likes it.
"You see the changes we made, it's all in-house. For an organization, it just shows a great deal. We know what we have in our locker room and our organization and we have what we need to go to the Super Bowl," he says.
Jones won't make a prediction on the Super Bowl. No. 1 offense vs. No. 1 defense, he says, and he just wants it to be a good game.
But Jones will make this prediction.
"I've got another interview to do," he says, "before I'm done for the day."