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Byron Jones talks position switch, Kris Richard, Randy Gregory and more

The newest (but not really) Cowboys cornerback spoke exclusively with BTB.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Byron Jones has had quite an offseason.

The Cowboys brought a new face in to coach the secondary in Kris Richard, and on top of that they officially (and finally) moved Byron from safety back to cornerback. A new coach and a new position makes a lot of things feel like the first day of school.

In terms of position groups to watch in 2018, the secondary is right up there for the Cowboys. New details and lots of talent mean we’ve all got high hopes.

We caught up with Byron Jones on Wednesday to ask him how he’s been handling all of this and more. You can listen to and/or read the conversation below (jump to the 5:45 mark).

BTB: Joining us now is Byron Jones who is doing some fantastic work with Gatorade’s “Beat The Heat” educational campaign... Byron how are you doing, hopefully not too hot, what do you guys have going on today?

Byron Jones: I’m good man. I’m out here just teaching the kids how to stay hydrated. The important part for these kids to understand is that when you’re out on these hot days, especially these summers in Texas, that they’ve got to hydrate a couple of days in advance. Make sure they understanding that they’re not just sweating out water they’re sweating out electrolytes and carbohydrates and they have to replace those with Gatorade. We’re just making sure the kids are safe out there. We want them to have fun, we want these kids to be safe, and not falling out.

BTB: You’ve had a really interesting offseason with Kris Richard coming in and the position switch to cornerback, what’s all that been like for you, just all of it kind of happening at once?

Jones: It’s fun, it’s fun. For me just to switch positions, it’s a new challenge, learning a new position. I’ve played it before, but it’s been a while, so I’m kind of like knocking the rust off a little bit. There’s a long way for me to go, but I think Kris Richard is going to be the guy that’s going to get me right. To get my footwork right, get my eyes in the right place, and make me a better football player. Just having his energy in the locker room and having him out there, the guy even laces up cleats with us, he’s out there with OTAs running around with us, sometimes he’s doing drills with us. Just his energy has been great, and his teaching points have been on point for guys like me with long arms and long legs. I’m just using all of my assets and my advantages at the line of scrimmage against the receivers that we’re going to face this year.

BTB: Do you have anything else going in in terms of the adjustments? Any dietary changes or any workout changes that maybe he’s implemented?

Jones: No, you know, for me I think he respects that I’m a pro. He’s not going to like try to change my diet or anything like that, we have a nutritionist for that. But my body weight has never been an issue. It’s just about focus on the technique that’s going to make me the best at cornerback. It’s about using my assets at the line of scrimmage. I think that’s his biggest takeaway point. He knows that I’m going to work, he knows that I’m going to eat right and not be out there late at night, you know, being an idiot out there. So no he doesn’t go that far with it, his focus is more on the technique and on-the-field stuff.

BTB: Two years ago you backed Randy Gregory publicly on Twitter. Have you kept in touch with Randy, have you heard anything? Obviously you still support him.

Jones: Yea of course I still support him. I understand some of the stuff he has to go through on a daily basis is not easy. But he’s grown in a lot of ways, I’m sure. It’s been a while since I’ve talked to him last, but I hear good things. I hear he’s on the right track, I hear he’s trying to come back in the NFL. We’re going to have open arms if he comes back, we’re excited to have him back if he does make that decision, if the NFL does allow that. He’s a guy who has great talent, there’s no doubt about that. I’m hoping that he can get on the field again and kind of use those talents.

BTB: Last year I talked to Chido Awuzie and he said you were kind of the one elder statesman in the secondary. What’s it been like for you to grow as a leader within the Cowboys and specifically in the secondary with so many changes?

Jones: So it happens fast, man. One day the young rookie, wet behind the ears, and the next day he’s the veteran in the room. It happened quickly. For me I’ve always been the person that kind of stays out of trouble, I lead by example. So I’m showing up to meetings on time, I’m taking good notes, I’m focused throughout the day. So I think I just give the young kids a good example going forward. I try to learn and honestly I may be a leader, but even so I learn a lot from Chido. Talking with him because he’s played corner longer than I have. So I’m trying to learn what he’s doing to make me better, and I’m sure he’s looking up to me and examples that I set. So it kind of works both ways, and that’s the beauty of our secondary. We all kind of lean on each other and kind of learn from each other and kind of grow as a group from that.

Byron Jones did a ton of great work with Gatorade during the “Beat The Heat” campaign on Wednesday, and it’s fantastic to see him preaching messages of football and health to today’s youth. You can see some clips of Byron in action here and here.

It sounds like the Cowboys secondary is extremely tight as a group overall, including Kris Richard. There may be some new faces, but this position group has the potential to be really special in 2018.

What did you enjoy about what Byron had to say?

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