COSTA MESA, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt had difficulty obtaining the words as to why backup quarterback Cardale Jones seasoned a breakthrough on the field in his third season with the group.

“I want I knew the answer to that, mainly because if that was the case, I would have liked to have noticed that two years ago,” Whisenhunt stated. “Not something against Cardale — I am exceptionally excited about the way that he’s performed in our camp. Perhaps it is just the course of action of increasing up a small bit.

“He came out young. And possibly it is getting in the exact same program for a couple of years. It has been distinctive [this year], and that is a credit to him. He’s worked difficult. You could see it early in the spring. It really is good to see him execute the way that he has on the field. He’s performed a genuinely good job.”

Jones was a fourth-round choice by the Buffalo Bills in 2016 soon after getting into the draft early out of Ohio State. The Chargers traded a seventh-round choice to Buffalo just before education camp in 2017 mainly because of Jones’ untapped prospective and partnership with coach Anthony Lynn.

Jones recorded an 11- record as a starter for the Buckeyes, major Ohio State to a national championship in 2014 soon after beginning the season as the third-string quarterback. He beat Wisconsin in the Huge Ten championship game and Alabama and Oregon in the College Football Playoff soon after replacing an injured J.T. Barrett late in the season.

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That run, combined with his six-foot-five, 250-pound size and robust arm, created Jones a bit of a folk hero and an intriguing draft prospect. The Chargers did their homework on Jones prior to the 2016 draft, with quarterbacks coach Shane Steichen traveling to Ohio State to hold a private exercise.

Nevertheless, in his third season with the Chargers, the 26-year-old Jones is at a crossroads, fighting with rookie Easton Stick to hang on to a roster spot although suitors in the XFL loom.

Los Angeles Wildcats offensive coordinator Norm Chow and Tampa Bay Vipers coach Marc Trestman not too long ago attended Chargers education camp. The XFL has stated a willingness to spend quarterbacks decent dollars to make the new league a lot more competitive and attractive to fans.

The XFL currently signed former NFL quarterback Landry Jones, and league commissioner Oliver Luck has expressed a wish to sign seven a lot more major signal-callers for the rest of the franchises.

“There are really superior young quarterbacks obtainable,” Luck stated. “We can do a a lot more selective job at the leading of our roster and get improved players.”

Throughout his initially two years playing in preseason games for the Chargers, Jones exhibited up-and-down play, struggling to find out the offense and his part in it. Jones was 49-of-86 (57%) for 454 yards, with a single touchdown pass, 3 interceptions and two lost fumbles. Jones was sacked 12 instances, posting a 60.9 passer rating.

Nevertheless, Jones has shown improvement in 3 preseason games this year, finishing 18 of 25 passes (72%) for 208 yards, with a touchdown and no turnovers. Jones has been sacked just twice, posting a 110.1 passer rating.

So what is been the distinction?

“It just comes from getting in a program for consecutive years and getting about a guy like Philip [Rivers],” Jones stated. “The practical experience that we have in the area and the relationships we have in the area with guys like coach Whiz [Whisenhunt] and coach Shane [Steichen], issues like that.

“It really is seeing how Phil goes about his enterprise and just sort of taking some of the issues that he does in his typical routine and just attempting to incorporate these issues into my each day life.”

Added Lynn: “He understands that if you want to be superior at this league and take your game to the subsequent level, you undoubtedly have to outwork and operate as difficult as any individual with no sympathy. Not saying that he wasn’t a difficult worker, but the issues that I see now, all the additional work that he’s performing, I did not see just before.”

Particularly, Jones showed his improvement in a play against the New Orleans Saints final week, hanging in the pocket and providing receiver Andre Patton additional time to shake loose on this 24-yard touchdown pass.

Patton stated he and Jones had been operating against that precise scheme in the joint practices against the Saints major up to the game, and ultimately got the appear defensively they have been expecting.

“We have undoubtedly constructed a partnership the final 3 years,” Patton stated about Jones. “We have been each on the practice squad. Just before the house games we would constantly operate out and run routes. You can see in practice that our chemistry is there.”

But is this breakthrough also small, also late? Jones faces a prospective numbers crunch in his try to make the 53-man roster.

Jones spent his initially season with the Chargers as the No. three quarterback on the active roster behind Rivers and Kellen Clemens. He spent final season on the practice squad as the No. three quarterback behind Rivers and Geno Smith.

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This season, Jones once more is attempting to earn a spot on the active roster behind Rivers and Tyrod Taylor, but he is in a education camp battle with Stick, a fifth-round choose out of North Dakota State. It really is a competitors that most likely will come down to the final preseason game on Thursday at the San Francisco 49ers. Stick has shown flashes with each his arm and legs this preseason, but Jones is suitable in the mix with him.

“You have got to sustain it,” Whisenhunt stated, when asked about expectations for Jones. “A lot of instances in this league that it is a flash — a flash-in-the-pan kind of factor. You want to see sustained accomplishment or sustained capability to manage what is coming at you. … You have to measure it in total. It can not just be a single game or a single half. It counts, what he has performed in practice, also. When once more, I will say that he has performed a good job.”

Jones stated he is not concerned about the selection-producing course of action on no matter whether he stays or goes.

“That is entirely up to the coaches to determine,” Jones stated. “My job is to take benefit of each and every and every single a single of my possibilities and manage what I can manage.”