After the Las Vegas Raiders signed defensive end and pass-rushing extraordinaire Chandler Jones during the offseason, there was speculation that he and Maxx Crosby would become one of the most dangerous pass-rushing duos in football, but as of the first two weeks of the NFL, this statement has been false.
Crosby has been himself during the first two weeks of the season, as he accumulated 14 total tackles, two tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, and one sack. The real question is what his partner in crime has done.
Where has Chandler Jones been?
Head coach Josh McDaniels was recently asked by the media if he expected more from Jones. He responded by saying, “No. We had to rush a different way yesterday. That’s clearly one thing we needed to do, and we tried to keep him (Kyler Murray) in front of us. He’s a very difficult guy to play against. We talked about that last week.”
Murray isn’t an easy person to gameplan for because of his ability to run and pass the ball at an elite level. McDaniels talked about how, schematically, they had to rush a different way due to Murray’s abilities. “We asked our guys to do a certain thing yesterday. I thought they tried to do it the right way and had some production,” McDaniels said.
Jones ended the game with three total tackles, two quarterback hits, and zero sacks. This is his second game in a row where he hasn’t been able to get home to the quarterback.
McDaniels said something interesting regarding Jones’ sack absences during the first two games. “Chandler—this isn’t the first time he’s gone two games without a sack.”
The thing is, Jones is getting up there in age and the same juice he had isn’t there. Last year he had 10 sacks, but five of them came during the first week against the Tennessee Titans. After that, Jones had nine games where he didn’t have a single sack.
Improvements for the Raiders’ pass rush
If Crosby is the only one winning his battles, that is a bad thing for the Raiders’ defense, as the opposing quarterback will be able to pick them apart. There is no need to bench Jones as his run defense is still elite, but the Raiders have two young defensive ends in Tashawn Bower and Malcolm Koonce waiting. Giving them more snaps when Jones is tired or doesn’t have it may help improve the overall state of the Raiders pass rush.
*Top Photo: ESPN/Getty Images