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Posted on Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 4:55 p.m.

Ex-Michigan linebacker Dhani Jones: Patience is running thin with Rich Rodriguez

By Dave Birkett

New York Jets receiver Braylon Edwards isn’t the only former Michigan football player frustrated at the direction of the program under Rich Rodriguez.

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones said Monday on “The Jim Rome Show” that Michigan needs to show major improvement next year after 2 straight losing seasons under Rodriguez.


Michigan linebacker Dhani Jones gives teammates a pep talk during a 1998 game against Notre Dame.

Ann Arbor News file photo

Rome asked Jones, “What do you think about the program and the job Rodriguez is doing?”

“Up to this point it really hasn’t been that good of a job at all,” Jones said. “But then you have to look at the perspective of how long it takes for a class to change over to be his class. There’s a lot of different things, but as a Michigan man you expect things to be changed in an instant. Sometimes you have to have a little bit more patience.

“Two years, my patience are running a bit thin. So next year it’s going to be really a qualifying or disqualifying year for his ability as a coach to get the program in the right direction. And I don’t think many people will stand for it if he doesn’t do a good job next year.”

In television introductions before Sunday’s Jets-Bengals game, Edwards said he was from “Lloyd Carr’s University of Michigan.”

Both Jones and Edwards played for Carr, who retired after the 2007 season. Rodriguez is 8-16 as Michigan coach.

Jones, the Bengals’ leading tackler who helped Cincinnati with the AFC North with a 10-6 record, addressed several other topics in the interview:

• On his time in Cincinnati: “it’s been a growth experience. Coming from so many different organizations, coming from New York, coming from Philadelphia then coming to Cincinnati, they’ve really embraced me and the things I like to do and allowed me to play free. It’s been an amazing experience. I appreciate sort of the second birth of playing football. Being on the street for a couple weeks it really puts a lot of things in perspective and I’m grateful and I love playing.”

• On how being released by the Saints on the eve of the 2007 season changed his perspective: “It taught me how to really turn the switch on and off. In the offseason really commit to things that I want to do, then when you get into the season you really put your head down and you focus on the task at hand. I think a lot of people try to use the dimmer and they kind of do some things on the field and do some things off the field, when really when it comes time to play football you have to commit all your resources, all your energy, all your mental faculties to playing football so that you can play your best game.

• On overcoming the death of teammate Chris Henry: "I think it's important to think about what he thought, what he wanted you to think about. As he lived and as he passed, he concerned himself more with football than most people. His life was football, that's what he thought about, that's what he cared about. Football and his family. This kid, that was his focus. So when you play football recognize that that's what he wants you to do. A lot of times people don't know how you're supposed to grieve and when you really look at it, look at what people celebrated in their life and you celebrate that in your life through playing football for Chris and that makes it a more comfortable experience."

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.


Man in the Mirror

Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 10:51 a.m.

Rightmind....well said. Let's not forget Toney Clemons in Colorado. The entire Colorado University is excited about him. Looking forward to his season next year. Those UM players that transferred still love the UM (they don't care for RR and his system) so for those of you who continue to bash them you need to stop.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:49 a.m.

wersch--you may want to check out Iowa playing in the Orange Bowl (read: BCS Orange Bowl, a game Michigan was in 10 years ago). Seems to me that they overcame losing 2 or 3 injured running backs, after losing their starting RB last year; lost their QB for the last 2 games yet took OSU to OT in Columbus, and lost a starting receiver. Have no idea what other injuries. You may call my statements dumb, but facts remain--Michigan is 3-15 in 2 years in B10 play, worst 2 year record in decades. The backup RBs should have been prepared, but were not. At the end of their sophomore year, running backs should be hitting it. Tyrone Wheatley sure did. And who indeed did we beat? WMU? EMU? ND? Wow. Impressive.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:31 a.m.

@ rightmind250: Can't agree with you more... It seems the only place Lloyd's recruits are succeeding is outside of RichyRod's program... It's very sad that Mallett represents the last QB in a LONG line of starting UM QB's who will make their way to the NFL... And for everyone who blasted LC for sticking with Chad Henne, well he's the QB of the future in Miami... That's why former players like Braylon, Dhani, etc. love LC so much... He stuck with them through good times and bad and that's why they are eternally grateful...


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:30 a.m.

Yea, why blame injuries to our best offensive lineman and running back...every team loses their starting center and star running back for multiple games but still contends for championships. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard heartbreakM Rich Rodriguez has had to deal with way too much adversity that he really has not created. These issues have all been media driven, too much practice? Look at Florida, Texas, Cincinnati, GT, etc. etc. Give me a break! Rich Rodriguez does have class, integrity and vision. He was the one standing in front of the mircophone defending the program, and his athletes when all the media wanted to do was tear down Michigan based on heresay and flimsy journalism at best. He is a visionary when it comes to running the spread if you know anything about his coaching history and the history of the offense. There won't be enough room on the band wagon after 2010 is said and done. Support your program and it's head coach. Go Blue!


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:07 a.m.

footballexpert: I appreciate what you are saying, but I disagree. I think excluding the Del State game--which should not have been scheduled and showed nothing about anybody--our offense was not better than last year. Look at the B10 stats--we were last or close to last in all offensive categories. We put up 10, 13, 10, 20, 28, 24 in 6 of our 8 games--and the 28 was the Iowa game where our defense scored a TD. We could not consistently move the ball, could not create running lanes, could not sustain drives. Maybe RR's spread is not meant to sustain drives--maybe it is designed to do quick strikes, I don't know. But the offense did NOT improve from yr 1 to yr 2. And I don't want to hear about injuries to Molk, Minor, etc. Every team has to deal with injuries. I just don't see that RR improved any unit on that team in 2 years yet.

Chelsea Larry

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 8:58 a.m.

Let's see, is this the same Dhani Jones who, when he introduces himself in those short clips before the NFL games, states his High School, vs the University that gave him a free education? These guys forget quickly how they came to be multi millionaires!


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 8:23 a.m.

Ryan Mallet: He is trying to decide whether to stay at Arkansas or go in the 1st round of the NFL draft. Tell me which one of RR's QB's will be making that decision? Justin Boren: Big10 champ, All B10 1st team, Rose bowl champion. Which one of RR's lineman can claim anywhere near that type of success? Fact is RR ran off the best talent on the team. These 2 guys alone would have been the difference. The analysts are correct. It will take RR 5 years to get UM to a 8win season. 8 wins? After 5 years? You have to be kidding me?


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 6:03 a.m.

LOL! RR received 5 million dollars the past 2 seasons for destroying the program. Bo-Mo-Lloyd never had losing seasons the same RR had in 40 years and none of the three received 5 million dollars in 2 seasons. If RR comes to a program with winning tradition and breaks it by having losing and bowless seasons, then statements from former players are part of the territory of being a loser of a coach. But in the end, RR and his wife are all laughing in their Escalade or Navigator on their way home from the mall after buying Rolex Watches, designer shoes and clothes from the mall. They are saying, "who cares about Michigan football! The important thing is that we suckered them 5 million bucks for 2 seasons worth nothing! LOL!"


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 1:41 a.m.

40 year UM fan here. I just dont quite understand some peoples point of view. Regarding the incoming class: Mich has a top 20 class coming in. Last year Mich had a top 20 class. Ranking these classes is not an exact science but if you have watched recruiting over the years Mich ALWAYS has a top 20 class coming in. Thats why they are Michigan. Mich, OSU, PSU and Notre Dame are the heavy recruiters in the midwest. However usually only the dynamic (5 star) recruits make a significant impact as freshmen. Tate made an impact because there was no quaterback. He was thrust into the situation. The best recruit coming in is Devin and in normal times even he really should be redshirted. Dont expect salvation from freshmen. Not at this level. That being said its not hard to see that this coming year RR will likely produce an offense that should average inbetween 30 and 35 points per game for the season. Not too shappy at all. However coach Rod will also likely deliver a defense that will allow an average of about 30 points per game. That spread is too close. We will not get through the Big Ten (and a trip to South Bend) with only 4 losses. We will be trying to outscore opponents. With a good defense, you are in EVERY game. I do think RR will get win number 6 and make it to a bowl game. That should be enough to save his job. UM admin is fairly loyal to their coaches. I also think RR is likely smart enough to learn from his MANY mistakes(too numerous to mention) and go on to good things at UM. It is afterall very fertile ground to grow a football powerhouse. But it is painfully obvious that coach Rod was NOT ready to take over the helm two years ago. LAST PLACE in the Big Ten after two years?! Are you kidding me? Thats horrible, almost unheard of for a program like this. Am I to believe that EVERY team in the Big Ten has better talent then UM? Surely even the most ardent RR supporter cannot blame any UM fan for having serious doubts about this coach.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 1:35 a.m.

aarox nailed it...the foundation of talent was in place from Lloyd and RR couldnt deal with it properly and messed it all up... tater...successful ex-players from the number 1 program in NCAA history have a difficult time supporting a lemon who has character and moral issues...RR is the next Leach/Mangino, its only a matter of time. For a program that fired solid Gary Moeller over 1 single incident...they sure are being quite lenient towards Richy, for some reason.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 12:37 a.m.

What makes this all the more maddening is that in the last 5 Lloyd Carr years, he outrecruited Tressler by a wide margin. The only year that Lloyd got outrecruited, it was just barely: #13 vs. #12 for OSU. The other years we had a large edge in recruiting.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 11:51 p.m.

I still don't get the guys that are laying this on LC's recruiting. Just to make sure I wasn't going out of my mind, I checked the recruiting class rankings at for the last 10 years. Here is what they say for us: 2002 #16 2003 #17 2004 # 5 2005 # 6 2006 #13 2007 #12 2008 #10 2009 # 8 2010 #17 So we have been top 20 for ten years running. How do you lay this performance on recruiting?? This says we should be top 20 every year as a minimum. No, the only variable is coaching.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 11:17 p.m.

This just in, Brandon from dominos and Bo era will take over after Martin retires. Also Brahmin says he was not dissing RR but paying respect to Carr.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 10:59 p.m.

I think people need to be patient and see what RR does next year before calling for his head. Like it or not, and I loved Lloyd, but the talent level of the program had been depleted over the last few years culminating with that 2007 team that seemingly sent half the team to the NFL. The people playing behind those guys were just average to above average and built for a different system. That is a recipe for disaster and any knowledgeable fan knew we weren't going to be good in RR's first year. The second year, I expected to see improvement and I did, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The D was still undermanned and had a new coordinator, so they should be better next year. The great thing that RR has done is in recruiting. His classes have been very good and loaded with athletes, which is a nice change from the past few years. While this years class is only ranked Top 20, many of them will play early and likely develop into solid playmakers. I also expect big things from last years frosh class, particularly Big Will and some of the weapons like Jeremy Gallon, who didn't see any time last year. Patience my friends, we are close. RR has been successful everywhere he's been and there's absolutely no reason to believe he won't continue that here.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 10:21 p.m.

I don't have to like or support every Michigan coach, player, trainer, or AD to be the UM fan I am. Don't try to tell me that I have to support RR or I'm not a fan. UM'ers are supposed to THINK not blindly follow. I've read every post supporting RR over the last few weeks. There are a few words that almost NEVER show up in them. They are: Character Integrity Honesty Vision What I see instead is: Lloyd Carr 2011 (last year it was 2010; next year it will be...) Lloyd Carr I think we are not being fair to ourselves by being apologists to the current situation. If that makes me not a fan in your eyes, so be it!


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 9:37 p.m.

Lets see......Maybe Braylon Edwards should worry more about catching the football and keeping his mouth closed...and Dhani Jones should worry about his Bungles who looked like a high school team sunday night....They were horrible.... As for Michigan Football.... I will be laughing when all you so called Michigan Fans who act more like Ohio State fans are back under your rock when Mr. Rodriguez is winning our next National Championship.....True fans support their team and have enough smarts to realize that a complete change in styles will take time....I am glad the University makes the decisions instead of fair weather fans.....oh thats right!


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 9:36 p.m.

Hey 1989: You have patience for RR that you prove that you don't have (didn't have) for LC based on your comments. YOu claim that he "underachieved" yet had no talent on his roster. How could he be both? If he had no talent, then how did he win so much? If he underachieved, then he clearly had talent. And how could you say that proof of no talent is the lack of NFL draft picks the last few years? Does the current coaching staff--RR on down--have any responsibility in that? Or is that also LC's fault? I mean, RR has had 2 spring practices, 2 summers and winters conditioning, and 2 seasons (granted, last year only 1). How does he get off the hook for not developing the talent? Did every player that came into LC's program come from high school NFL ready? Face it, RR has had unprecedented losing at a school with a long winning tradition. Mediocre would have sufficed, perhaps, but Rodriguez is way below mediocre. He is just plain awful. Show us any unit that he has developed, and you may have a point. Did the OL play any better in the second half of his second year than the first half of the first year? Nope. Defensive line? Linebackers? Receiving corps? Nope, nope, nope. That is the sign of coaching. Not to mention all of the other stuff that he brought to the table--signing a contract the week of the MSU game, lawsuits, logs, bad press, etc. And why is 7-5 or 8-4 good enough next year? It sure wasn't good enough for Moeller, Bo, or LC? Michigan football should challenge for the B10 title every year, with its tradition, resources, stadium, and to state that it'll take RR 4-5 years to do that? Huh? What am I missing?


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 9:11 p.m.

You can't expect a 69 scholarship players to lead to much success. That on top of all the freshman they had starting this year.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 9:10 p.m.

What many of you fail to realize is that the Michigan football program has been on a decline before Rich Rodriguez took over. The defense was horrible the last few years Lloyd Carr & his staff where there.(Texas, App State, Oregon, etc) (And the big game they won in Lloyd's final game against Florida in the Capitol One Bowl..they used a spread offense to win that game!) Most people were frustrated with Lloyd & his staff because they had treamedous amount of talent on teams that underachieved. (NFL caliber talent) RR did not have much talent at all on the 2008 & 2009 teams. The proof is the amount of players that went to the NFL off those teams. And the talent he does have now is young but will perform well in 2010 and beyond. Imagine what RR could do with the talent that Carr had during his best years...RR would win BCS games!! Dhani jones played on defenses that did not have freshman walk on linebackers & safties. (Kovacks and the other walk ons will get better next year and might be all big-ten players one day) D. Jones played with Ian Gold, Woodson, James Hall, and others who are playing in the NFL. Brandon Graham did not have that luxury. Braylon Edwards played on teams that lost to USC, Texas, and the only big win his teams had was in 2003 when they beat OSU. What did Braylon's teams win? And Braylon seems to forget he played with Avant & Breaston (who arguably are better NFL recievers than he is.) Rich Rodrigues was brought in to win the big games, Big Ten Titles & National Championships. I belive he will lead a talented group of players that will do that soon! Lloyd Carr was a great coach & had some great assitants during his tenure. RR wil do great things at Michigan next year & beyond as well. If RR and his staff dont lead Michigan to a decent bowl game in 2010, then I can understand the frustration. But not now. Wolverine Nation Relax, 2010 we will be able to exhale and enjoy the new stadium and finally see the progress this football program has made! Go Blue!


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 8:27 p.m.

Theo, No one stepped on either of these guys glory. Braylon stomped OSU and won several B10 titles, the Biletnikoff Award, and is now making millions in the NFL. Dhani is now the leading tackler of an NFL team and already has won a NC at Michigan that you now dream of with RR. These are all time great UM players who love the university and the program and hate to see it fall the way it has over the past two years. They care an awful damn lot about it, too, or they wouldn't bother to vent about it. They very badlly want Michigan to win and don't have patience for losing. Go Blue!


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 7:57 p.m.

TomHagan....It's Temp to Perm.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 7:54 p.m.

To the trolls: No one is ripping on Michigan football. They are ripping on the job that Rich Rod has done, and as such are ripping on Rich Rodriguez. This is basic analysis by deductive reasoning...not that hard to figure out is it? Rich Rodriguez does not = Michigan football. He is only a temporary employee of the Michigan football program.

Sean T.

Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 7:47 p.m.

I don't blame them!


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 7:41 p.m.

There's always criticism of a coach. People used to write terrible, very unfair stuff about Lloyd Carr and there were dissenters about Bo too. I guess it comes with the territory.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 7:04 p.m.

Has anyone noticed that the Offense that RR wants to run has been getting beat by "Run First" teams in the Bowl games. The spread that RR runs is a thing of the past. college football is going to the running game now due to the cover corner type DB's that have been recruited over the last 10 years. RR is a day late and a dollar short. The Wishbone will be back.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 7:02 p.m.

But then again Chango... You're replying to two SOS fan's. Who are actually the biggest hypocrits on the internet. Crying about Michigan fans commenting on Spartans football. Then being the first to show up here. Bouldercrying will pipe in next I'm sure. But yes ripping and patience are two different things. GO BLUE!


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 6:13 p.m.

I understand many people don't have patience. Doesn't look like Dhani was ripping, its more like venting. There is a difference.