Most Las Vegas Raiders fans can admit they were ecstatic at the notion of Chandler Jones teaming up with Maxx Crosby last offseason. Regrettably, offseason hype and excitement didn’t translate into production. Coming into year-two, there’s hope that Jones can rebound thanks to a flurry of moves geared towards improving the defensive line by Dave Ziegler. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham also weighed in on what he’s expecting from Jones this upcoming season.
The Raiders are expecting big things from Chandler Jones in Year 2
As OTAs continue for the Raiders, Graham was quite jubilant when speaking about Jones. He went as far as calling his defensive end his “favorite.” Given their shared history of working together, this isn’t too shocking. Be that as it may, Jones didn’t deliver last year and oftentimes looked like a shell of himself.
We would be remised if we didn’t mention how rookie Tyree Wilson is coming for his job, metaphorically, of course. The top draft pick can learn much from Jones; he’s a true professional, as Graham noted.
“Chan has been my favorite for – the sky is the limit with Chan. The things he did last year in terms of putting pressure on the quarterback, playing the run, I mean I’m just so proud of him because you’ve got to remember, I coached him as a rookie and then Brendan Daly had him after that and then he went to Arizona and you just see the growth of a true technician, a true professional in terms of the way he can explain the game, the way he executes out there, the way he can see it and his leadership ability… He’s working hard every day and we’ll see how it all plays out, but Chan is a great player. He’s a great player who’s been doing it for a long time. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”
One thing of note regarding Jones has been the weight he’s gained in this offseason’s program. Currently, Jones weighs 250 pounds; he was noticeably slimmer during his presser this week. At the same time, he did weigh in at around 266, 267 pounds last season, and we saw how he looked. His current weight reflects his size from when he had much better seasons statistically, most notably in 2021, when he was a Pro Bowler and notched 10.5 sacks.
Praise for Jones aside, Patrick Graham’s bringing along youthful reinforcements…
Ziegler was busy this offseason reloading the defensive line, from the interior to drafting what he hopes will become a pass-rushing force in Wilson. Nevertheless, the caveat with so much youth is having adequate coaching to groom all of it. You still have Matthew Butler and Neil Farrell whom the jury’s still out on, all things considered. Then, when you add Byron Young, and Nesta Jade Silvera in particular, that’s a lot of inexperience—something Patrick Graham is fully aware of.
“You have to be patient. You can’t have high expectations and low patience; that’s a rap song I heard that from before. I think you’ve got to be patient; at some point it’s going to turn up and you’ve got to go. But you’ve got to be patient with those guys, and I think they’re working through it. You just have to clearly define to them what’s right and what’s wrong, then develop a plan for them to improve, and then make sure we’re doing our best to get that done.”
Looking at what Ziegler accomplished this offseason, no one can deny that he went to work on the defensive line. He himself said earlier in the offseason that he believes the key to building a successful defense begins with that unit. To say there’s going to be pressure on Chandler Jones, Tyree Wilson, and the rest of these youngsters is putting it kindly. Maybe Raiders fans need to adjust those “high expectations.”
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images