CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones promises to bring an edge and some nastiness to the defense when he returns from a one-game suspension on Thursday night against the Houston Texans at Paul Brown Stadium.
Jones said he didn't enjoy watching on television as the Bengals were blanked 20-0 by the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday's regular-season opener. He particularly didn't like seeing his teammates helping up Ravens players.
"I'm not big in helping nobody up," Jones said. "And I have friends that play on other teams. I ain't saying play nasty or nothing. But especially when we're losing, I'm not a big fan of that. We'll have a talk before Thursday night's game."
Jones returned to team activities Monday on a roster exemption after serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy in a January incident at a Cincinnati hotel. Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has two games remaining on his suspension for an illegal hit on Chiefs running back Anthony Sherman in the preseason.
Defense wasn't the biggest issue for the Bengals on Sunday, however, although they did seem powerless at times in the second half to stop the Ravens from taking precious seconds off the clock with the running game. Baltimore rushed for 157 yards.
Jones believes he can provide a spark on Thursday.
"The competitive edge, you just have to keep it up at a high level," Jones said. "I'm just eager for the challenge ... to see how we're going to respond after Sunday."
And, how Andy Dalton responds.
The Bengals quarterback had one of the worst games of his career on Sunday, with four interceptions and a lost a fumble. He finished with a 28.4 rating.
It wasn't all on Dalton, however. Two of the interceptions were on tipped balls and he was sacked five times and hurried often.
"That's the position at quarterback-- you've got to worry about the next play regardless what happens," Dalton said. "We had a down game, I had a down game, just got to go back and play like I know I can play. We're moving on to Houston and that's all we can do right now."
The Texans might feel the same way, coming off a 29-7 loss to Jacksonville in which they benched quarterback Tom Savage in favor of rookie Deshaun Watson.
But, Houston's vaunted defensive front featuring J.J Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus have combined for five sacks in the past two meetings.
Cincinnati's offensive line has three first-year starters, including guard T.J. Johnson who could potentially get his second career start on Thursday with Trey Hopkins out with a knee injury. This group struggled mightily on Sunday.
Watt and the Texans also have a history of batted balls against Dalton, something the Bengals will try and avoid.
"I've got to try to release the ball as high as I can and be on time with everything," said Dalton. "And upfront we've got to try to do the best we can to get their hands down."
Both teams face the potential to start the season 0-2, often a death-knell for playoff hopes. But, Jones says that's not on the players' minds.
"If we play Bengal football, we should win the game, period, point blank," Jones said. "I do a good job of initiating a fire."
Meanwhile, Jones bristled at a reporter on Monday when asked about DeAndre Hopkins' one-handed touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of a 10-6 Texans' victory that snapped the Bengals' eight-game winning streak to begin the 2015 season. Jones was covering Hopkins when he made his left-handed sliding grab in the corner of the end zone.
"He's caught one pass on me in the last three years," Jones said. "Why would it stick in my mind? Do the numbers. How many yards has he had on me? He caught one pass. The kid's a good receiver. He just got paid $100 million. But, besides that pass, what has he done? So, we'll see how it goes. He's one of the best. I love competing against him. But that play is nowhere near on my mind."
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