Raiders’ Chandler Jones Has Fresh Outlook For Year 2 With Team

Chandler Jones, Raiders
NFL Analysis Network

The Las Vegas Raiders thought that their pass-rushing needs were alleviated during the 2022 offseason. They made a huge splash, signing Chandler Jones away from the Arizona Cardinals as a bookend for Maxx Crosby.

Acquiring Jones also led to the team moving on from Yannick Ngakoue, who had a productive 2021 campaign. It was a decision that the front office rued almost instantly as Jones struggled mightily.

For six straight seasons in which Jones played double-digit games, he recorded double-digit sacks. That streak came to a screeching halt in his first with the Raiders, as he had only 4.5 in 15 games. What made it even worse was that 4.0 of them came in a two-week span against the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams in Weeks 12 and 13.

Right as he was beginning to find his groove, Jones suffered a season-ending elbow injury. Heading into Year 2 with the Raiders, the veteran pass rusher is looking to put a tough 2022 campaign behind him and is focusing solely on 2023.

He came into training camp visibly skinnier, partly due to the elbow injury. It didn’t require surgery, but he adjusted his offseason plans so that it didn’t include as much weight lifting to ensure that he was 100 percent healthy.

“I’m little lighter this year, I feel a little faster, a little bit stronger, but I’m just trying to perfect my craft,” the 11-year veteran edge rusher said during voluntary OTAs.

“As I was rehabbing, I kind of took my time, as opposed to just jumping into weights and trying to gain muscle right away. So, got back healthy, then I started working out, lifting, and that’s where I am. I’m kind of just building muscle right now. So, you kind of just shed the leaves off the tree and then [start] growing them back on.”

There were some people who thought the Raiders could try and move on from Jones this offseason. Those talks got a little louder after the 2023 NFL Draft when the Raiders used the No. 7 overall pick on Texas Tech edge rusher, Tyree Wilson.

Seeing what is likely your eventual replacement being picked cannot be easy. But, it is something that Jones is taking in stride, as he is embracing the opportunity to help out a young player. It is something he said he didn’t have when he started his career with the New England Patriots and is excited about getting to pay it forward.

“Where I am now as a player, it’s my job to grab guys like Tyree, Adam Plant — another guy you might not have heard of — these guys are young and they have such a high ceiling,” Jones said of the Raiders’ first-round draft pick and an undrafted rookie from UNLV. “They can go so far.

“When I was a young player, I had Vince Wilfork, but he wasn’t much of a pass-rusher, but I wish I had a Maxx Crosby, a Chandler Jones in my room as a rookie. It’s our job as a player to pass that down, and the things that we can share … I mean, looking at [Tyree], I’m excited to have him on the team. … He’s going to be good for us.”

Jones is certainly taking the high road and setting an example as the consummate professional. He knows he is capable of playing better than he did last season and is doing everything he can to put himself in a better position to succeed in 2023.

More production from Jones, while being a mentor for the younger pass rushers on the roster, is a win-win for the Raiders.

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