Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

D.J. Jones returns to practice, and Laken Tomlinson sees a more confident player heading into 2020 season

Aug 25, 2020 at 3:07 PM--

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle D.J. Jones got back on the practice field on Tuesday after spending some time in the concussion protocol. He should take on a more significant role this season with the departure of DeForest Buckner, and has been the team's primary nose tackle during training camp.

Jones' 2019 campaign was cut short after the defender suffered a high-ankle sprain late in the season. The 49ers were fortunate that his latest injury wasn't something more severe.

Veteran guard Laken Tomlinson has noticed during training camp that Jones has become a more confident defender.

"I definitely think that he's improved in that sense," Tomlinson said via Zoom on Tuesday. "Just really kind of letting it go, and using his power and speed to his advantage. You always want to see that in a guy like D.J., who is a very strong and powerful guy at the line of scrimmage. But when he can put that outside, especially rushing from the 3-technique, that just goes to show how much he's been focusing on improving in the offseason."

Jones compiled 23 tackles, four for a loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble last season before his Week 14 injury, according to Pro Football Reference.

Tomlinson was the player Jones was going against when he left practice on August 20 with what initially appeared to be a shoulder injury. Later tests revealed the concussion.

"D.J.'s my boy. I talk to him every day," Tomlinson said. "When somebody that you consider a really close friend of yours goes down like that, you don't ever want to see that, especially when you're responsible for that.

"I take full responsibility for that. I've just got to learn how to practice more to protect our teammates."

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