Chandler Jones Las Vegas Raiders

Finally Playing His Best Ball, Chandler Jones Silencing Naysayers

Chandler Jones, the Las Vegas Raiders’ high-priced free agent signing, has been absent from pass-rushing action for much of the 2022 season. However, the last two weeks have shown a surge in his productivity. With the addition of defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, Jones has been heating up.

Chandler Jones is peaking at the perfect time for the Raiders

Last week against the Seattle Seahawks, Jones had a fumble recovery and was consistently getting Geno Smith in the pocket with the ball in his hands. Flash forward to this week. Against the Los Angeles Chargers, Jones was fully plugged in and charging up. Three sacks, two tackles for a loss, five quarterback hits, and one pass deflection later, Jones appears fully charged and primed for an explosive run down the stretch. Head coach Josh McDaniels is fully cognizant of the impact Jones has, whether he piles up sacks or not. He made sure to recognize his efforts this week after examining the film.

“I thought he just played with great effort; he was relentless. I thought they executed a few things in the pass rush that we’ve been working hard on. Again, I think all of that is a complementary factor—the inside rush, the outside rush, the coverage. If one breaks down, then a lot of times you lose an opportunity to create pressure on the quarterback. So, I think we’re learning how to work together a little bit better as the season has gone on. Like I said, Chandler played his butt off when he was in there, and I thought he had a lot of help up front too.”

It would not be ideal for Jones to have zero sacks and be paid the amount of money that has been committed to him, but it’s easy to see where he’s coming from. At this stage in his career, it’s less about his own personal numbers and all about the team. General manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels showed unwavering support for Jones all season long. Even when it seemed like it was all “cap,” they continued to applaud the effort he displayed and the dirty work he continued to do.

Playoffs?

Playoffs are the ultimate goal, and they are still entirely attainable. Pass rush has been the Achilles’ heel of the Raiders’ defense, but it appears to be picking up as of late. Jones getting to the quarterback is a great sign for the defense moving forward.

*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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