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Chandler Jones gives the Cardinals something to celebrate in a tough season

An oasis of defensive destruction in the desert, Jones is retired NFL defensive end Stephen White’s Hoss of the Week.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Last week, I talked about how Jaguars second-year defensive end Yannick Ngakoue hasn't been getting the appropriate amount of attention and recognition for the work he’s put in over his first two seasons in the league. When it comes to guys who have been doing numbers for years, however, who are still somehow floating under the radar, few veteran pass rushers are more under-appreciated than Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones.

That might have something to do with the fact that Bill Belichick traded Jones away to Arizona even after the linebacker put up a career high 12.5 sacks in 2015, his fourth season in the league. At this point some folks tend to assume that if Belichick trades a guy, something must be wrong with him. But if anything, Jones has only gotten better since he arrived in Arizona. In four of his last five seasons, including the current one, Jones has found a way to get at least 11 sacks.

Oh, and the the one season he didn't?

He missed six games.

That kind of production is pretty damn hard to find. For context, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have not had a double digit sack guy since ...

*puts on glasses*

*squints*

... 2005.

The trade did seem to work out ok for the Patriots as they ended up winning another Super Bowl without Jones last year, after winning one with him in the 2014 season. It has also gone pretty damn great for Jones.

Just past the midway point in his second season with the team and after a strong game on Sunday, Jones is now tied for the league lead in sacks with 12, and Jones broke the fucking bank this past spring with a new contract from the Cardinals. I'd say this is one occasion where there weren't any losers in the trade.

But since we are talking about Jones propensity for sacking the quarterback, let's look at how he got two Sunday against the Jaguars, allowing him to jump into a tie for the league lead in sacks.


With 3:50 left in the second quarter, the Jags faced a third-and-3 from the 50-yard line. Jones was lined up as the right defensive end with his hand on the ground outside of Jacksonville rookie left tackle Cam Robinson.

Because he has a myriad of pass rush moves, from power to finesse jawns, Jones is somewhat of an "awkward" pass rusher. It’s usually hard to tell what kind of move he is going to try to use until the very last minute. Such was the case on this play because as Jones came off the ball, it appeared that Robinson was trying his best to be patient with his punch. He was trying not to give Jones the opportunity to knock his hands down just in case. However, by holding back his punch Robinson also left his chest open, and Jones took advantage by putting his inside (left) hand right down the middle of Robinson's chest and started to push.

Normally, I would call this a long arm move, but Jones didn't actually get full extension with his inside arm like you would normally see. Instead, his inside arm remained slightly bent the whole for the few seconds his hand was on Robinson's chest. However, when Robinson decided to try to dig in against Jones' push and finally had to use his punch, Jones used his outside (right) hand to swipe Robinson's outside (left) arm inside as Jones simultaneously stepped wide with his inside foot to skate outside.

It was like two ships passing in the night as Jones slid right off of Robinson's block and wrapped Bortles up to take him down for a loss of 10 yards.

Oh, to make this even more of a big play, if you check the all-22 Jags, running back TJ Yeldon was wide ass open for the first down heading to the right flat after checking through the line.

I mean it is Bortles, so there's no guarantee that he would've hit him, but still ...

The second sack came after the Jaguars had worked the ball all the way down to the Cardinals' 22 after starting from their own 44-yard line right before halftime. They looked to be in good shape having earned a first-and-10 with 46 seconds left to try to get in the end zone.

Jones was standing up as the right outside linebacker on this particular play, once again lined up outside of Robinson. Arizona defensive tackle Rodney Gunter was lined up just on the inside half of Jacksonville left guard Chris Reed, on Jones' side of the defensive line.

On the snap of the football Gunter stunted outside to the B gap while Jones took two overly emphatic steps up field. Jones did a really good job of acting and drawing attention to himself. It got both Robinson and Yeldon, who looked to be coming to chip him, believing Jones was going to try an edge rush. So when Jones stuck his foot in the ground to loop inside, that left Robinson as a sitting duck for Gunter.

Gunter ripped through Reed's outside shoulder, then ended up grabbing Robinson so that he couldn't recover to block Jones. Reed was so busy trying not to get beat by Gunter's rip move that Jones had a clear path through the A gap to Bortles. With Yeldon continuing out on a route after trying, but failing, to chip Jones, there was nobody left to save Bortles' ass and he went down in a heap for another 10 yard loss.

Jacksonville would eventually make a field goal after gaining seven yards on third-and-20, but considering the fact that they lost by three points on the last play of the game, the fact that they had no shot to score a touchdown after Jones' sack ended up being a big fucking deal, I'd say.

While sacks are great and Jones leading the NFL in that category is big news, the guy is actually a pretty well rounded defender. He also showed that on Sunday.

In addition to the sacks, Jones also had three tackles for a loss with the first one coming on the very first play from scrimmage.

The Jaguars tried to run a form of split belly where the fullback, who was offset away from Jones, was supposed to come across and kick out Jones so that the running back who initially started away from Jones would have a built in cutback lane. However, when Jags fullback Tommy Bohanon tried to actually execute that block, Jones "ole'd" him by side stepping the block on his way to taking down Jacksonville's rookie sensation Leonard Fournette for a 1-yard loss.

That play really set the tone for the rest of Jones' big day.

Later on in game, in the second quarter, the Jaguars tried again to have a blocker kick Jones out in space. This time it was right guard A.J. Cann who they sent on a fool's errand.

The idea was to have Cann kick out Jones while Bohanon came behind him to block a linebacker to give Fournette a lane to run downhill with a full head of steam. Instead, Jones slid by Cann upfield, much like he had done to Bohanon earlier, and blasted Fournette to stop him in his tracks just after he had been handed the football. He took him down for a loss of 3 yards.

Jones ended up with two sacks, three tackles for a loss, a pressure, a tipped pass and two more tackles to help Arizona notch their fifth win of the season. I know that the Cardinals are not doing so hot as a team this year, but that hasn't stopped Jones from kicking ass week in and week out. It’s important to note he has been putting up numbers without Calais Campbell, who signed with the Jags in the offseason, and without Arizona's other promising young pass rusher, third-year man Markus Golden, who was lost for the season after the fourth game with a torn ACL.

Chandler Jones has still found a way to raise his play and production and he has been a definite bright spot in an otherwise pretty shitty season for Arizona. With his huge day against Jacksonville, he earned my Hoss Of The Week honors for Week 12 of the NFL season.