Chandler Jones fits in well with the Raiders
HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — After 10 very successful years in the NFL, it would have been easy for the defensive lineman…
HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — After 10 highly successful years in the NFL, it would have been easy for defensive lineman Chandler Jones to walk into the Las Vegas Raiders facility with an inflated ego.
His 107 1/2 sacks over the past decade rank higher than any other NFL player, and he’s second in the league behind Pittsburgh’s TJ Watt with 14 forced fumbles over the past three seasons.
But bravado isn’t something you learn growing up in Endicott, New York.
Instead, a positive attitude and a strong dose of humility allow Jones to fit right in with his new team.
“Being humble is something I was raised in, and the culture where I come from,” Jones said Thursday after offseason practice activities. “I say it all the time that I was this kid who said, ‘Hey, when I grow up, I want to be an NFL football player. So now that I’m 10, I understand the gravity of this job, but this opportunity that I had.
An opportunity that allowed Jones to reunite with people he had known from the start of his New England career, including coach Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Pat Graham.
Jones, who spent four seasons with the Patriots and six with the Cardinals, signed a three-year, $51 million contract in March with the Raiders.
“It’s a blessing to play this long, but having your dream job every day is very humbling and something you want to do well and do at a high level,” Jones said. “So that’s what I’m proud of. And like I said before being consistent, but just enjoying the work, enjoying the football.”
With Jones playing fourth-year pro Maxx Crosby, the Raiders now have two of the top nine rushers in Pro Football Focus from last season as they prepare for one of the toughest schedules in the league.
McDaniels said his familiarity with the four-time Pro Bowler’s pass-rushing techniques made him an easy target this offseason, an acquisition he said would help replace Yannick Ngakoue, who was traded to the Colts from Indianapolis in exchange of Rock Ya-Sin the day before. Jones signed with Vegas.
“He’s got this long, leveraged body that’s really hard to hit and he’s got a lot of different rushing passing moves,” McDaniels said. “He’s got a good sense of the different people that protect, and he’s been able to play in a lot of different places up front. … I know he’s in his 30s, but I see Chandler as a guy who still plays at a very high level and he plays at this level on all three tries.
Crosby, the second-ranked edge runner by Pro Football Focus last season and someone who should lead Las Vegas’ defensive front, said he appreciates his new teammate and sees Jones as an immediate leader for the team.
“I constantly ask him questions,” Crosby said. “The cool thing about Chandler is he’s one of the most humble guys I’ve ever met. Super humble about the things he’s done. He asks me stuff all the time and It baffles me because I look at his career and it’s something I aspire to do. You know, he’s been amazing from day one and he’s definitely someone I look up to.
While the 32-year-old veteran said he found himself trying to keep up with Crosby’s agility and youthful exuberance in the first two weeks of OTA, defensive line coach Frank Okam said. said working with someone of Jones’ caliber has helped everyone.
“You can see how well he runs for the ball, he leads by example with his effort and I think that’s a testament to his longevity in his career and why he’s been so successful for so long,” Okam said. “I always like to pick the brains of someone who has 100+ bags because that’s something I’ve never done in my own career so anytime you can get lessons on how what they see the game, practice points, film study points, anything to help these young guys acclimate to the game faster, I’m all ears.
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