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Tim Graham: Zay Jones' father drops some mean tweets in defense of his son

Did we learn Sunday the Buffalo Bills have their own LaVar Ball?

We certainly know Robert Jones, father of rookie receiver Zay Jones, was a far more accomplished athlete than Lonzo Ball's blowhard daddy.

But Robert Jones, while in Mercedes-Benz Stadium to watch the Bills play the Atlanta Falcons, went after media and fans from his @robertjonesLB55 Twitter account for criticizing his son's third-down drop in the second quarter.

The Bills punted to the Falcons, who turned that possession into a touchdown right before halftime. The Bills rallied in the second half to win, 23-17.

Robert Jones got into some fiery back-and-forths, mocking people's appearances and last names, using terms such as "sissy" and "mama's boy" and offering face-to-face meetings in Buffalo.

I reached out to Robert Jones to get thoughts deeper than 140 characters.

"They can call me LaVar Ball or whatever they want," said Robert, an 11-year NFL linebacker with three Super Bowl rings for the Dallas Cowboys.

Zay Jones is having a difficult rookie year so far. The second-round pick from East Carolina has been targeted 17 times, but has only four catches for 57 yards.

"It's OK for a fan to have an opinion," Robert Jones said by phone from the Atlanta airport, "but when you stoop to a level where you're trying to tear somebody's soul apart and destroy their character on Twitter, that's where I step in.

"The things being said are uncalled for. I didn't respond to those people the way they responded to my son, but I wanted them to see what it feels like to be attacked. People didn't like it when they were attacked."

I asked Robert if he felt his approach could backfire.

Drops oftentimes are mental. ProFootballFocus.com charted Jones for three drops through the first three games. Only five players had more.

Jones was emotional and took the blame two weeks ago, when he and quarterback Tyrod Taylor failed to connect for what should have been the game-winning touchdown against the Carolina Panthers. The ball hit Jones' hands, but the throw was flawed.

Could hearing his father's voice – or envisioning his next Twitter battle – in the back of Zay's head be unhealthy?

"I attack a media person and call him a 'sissy' or a 'jive turkey,' but they call my son an 'ass----,' " Robert Jones said. "Why are you going to call him that and think I'm going to sit there and take it?

"Isaiah is a grown man, but he is my son. As a parent, I don't care how old your kid gets, it bothers me that people will stoop that low to name-call just because they might have chose him on fantasy or they lost their money.

"My intent was to imply to them, 'That is how my son would feel if you were attacking him.' So if you don't want to be attacked personally, don't do it to somebody else."

Zay Jones' importance to the Bills' offense skyrocketed in the preseason. The Bills traded Sammy Watkins and lost Anquan Boldin to retirement.

Jones might be relied upon even more next Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Jordan Matthews injured his thumb Sunday after scoring the Bills' lone offensive touchdown.

Robert Jones acknowledged his son has a lot of room to grow, but insisted the rookie is up to the challenge.

"Do you think Isaiah's out there intentionally trying to miss balls?" Robert Jones asked. "He's coming along. It's going to take him some time, but he's a quick learner, and I'll tell you Zay Jones is giving 1,000 percent on every play, blocking on the perimeter, effort, community service.

"He wants to be a part of the team, a part of the win. All the things he does to contribute to the Bills organization, nobody talks about that. No one ever should question his effort."

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