Raiders’ Chandler Jones and UFC’s Jon Jones share an unorthodox style
While there are big differences between Raiders outside linebacker Chandler Jones and his former UFC champion brother Jon, one word is often used to describe the style that took them to the top of their respective sports.
Jon Jones throws strikes from unique angles that opponents have yet to figure out how to counter in the mixed martial arts cage. Offensive linemen had similar difficulties trying to solve Chandler Jones‘ pass rush, and it led to him being one of the most consistent sack masters in the league.
“They’re two different sports, but I think we both understand that it’s very difficult to prepare for anything unusual,” Chandler Jones said after training camp on Friday. “You always have a guy trying to peek at you and imitate the guy you’re going against. But if this guy can’t give you that look, then how do you prepare for it? I think we both understand that, and I think that’s a huge advantage, for sure.
It’s a style he’s shaped over the years that has paid off on the stat sheet. In the seven seasons Jones has played in at least 15 games, he’s recorded double-digit sack scores.
“I think my unorthodox style comes from a lot of self-recognition,” he said. “I just learned how my body moves and what I can and can’t do. And I try to use it because I know it’s very rare and unique. Guys can’t plan a game for that.
He also became a ball hawk as his career progressed. Chandler Jones has forced 27 fumbles in his last six full seasons, the result of a conscious decision to focus on attacking the ball.
“I know how rare it is to get a turnover and how important it is for a team,” he said. “If you look at the stats, teams that win the turnover margin usually win the game. When I was a young player, I would come in at quarterback and just try to knock him down. More j grew, the more I realized the importance and I said, “Hey, maybe try to get the ball out and drop it.” I had a lot of success with that and I hope that it can continue here.
Many mouths to feed
One of the issues Mick Lombardi faces in his first year as the NFL’s offensive coordinator is how to make sure all the star players the Raiders have assembled get enough opportunities.
It’s a big deal to have and Lombardi doesn’t care too much at this point.
“At the end of the day, we’re talking about mental toughness and doing what’s best for the team, even if it’s not perfect for you,” he said. “Every player here wants to do one thing and that’s win. They don’t care about targets or touches, they want to win a game and a championship.
UNLV coach Marcus Arroyo attended practice Friday wearing a white Raiders shirt and a black Rebels hat.
Arroyo’s longest conversation appears to have been with general manager Dave Ziegler, but he’s also chatted with other staff members and coach Josh McDaniels.
Derek Carr even got to say hello to his old friend, admitting he cheers on UNLV except when they play against Fresno State.
“I love Marcus,” Carr said. “I know him since a long time.”
Their relationship dates back to when Arroyo was the quarterbacks coach under offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford with the Buccaneers in 2014 and Carr visited there during his draft visit.