The most notable signing the Las Vegas Raiders made this offseason was Chandler Jones. The four-time Pro Bowler signed a $51 million contract with the team and has rewarded them with 0.5 sacks in seven games. Jones has the third-most sacks (108.0) of any active player in the NFL right now but he has yet to find success in Las Vegas.
Sacks aren’t the only stats that matter but he also hasn’t been providing consistent pressure. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones has just 16 total pressures this season. Despite the lackluster numbers, coaches and teammates continue to praise the pass rusher. Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller has been a big fan of Jones since he joined the team and believes he’s doing a lot of things that aren’t showing up on the stat sheet.
“I think he’s great,” Waller said of Jones in an interview with Heavy Sports. “I love his personality. I love the joy he brings to the building each and every day. He’s not afraid to teach young guys, share some of his experiences with them. He’s just a very approachable, very real just a human being that loves what he does. And yeah, sometimes the stat sheet can be tricky. I know even with Maxx [Crosby] last season, the season he had just absolutely terrorizing people, but I think he only had like 6.0 sacks or something that people are like, ‘Oh, where sack numbers?’ I feel like it’s more about affecting the quarterback than it is stats, like the stats come when the stats come.
“I see [Chandler] making a lot of plays in the run game as well, where a lot of people may not see him as somebody that’s a force. He’s chasing down runs on the backside, setting the edge, doing a lot of things to help the team win. And that’s why we respect those guys that are out there. And we see, sometimes the stats ain’t always gonna be there. But we know what he’s got and we can count on to make something happen when we need it.”
Raiders Last in the NFL in Sacks
The Raiders are clearly still high on Jones but the team still has a major problem. Las Vegas is last in the NFL with 1.3 sacks a game. Maxx Crosby is the only player on the team who has more than 1.0 sack. He’s played at a high level this season but needs help. At a certain point, Jones has to either start getting to the quarterback on a more consistent basis or the Raiders need to start giving Malcolm Koonce a chance.
Jones has been healthy this season and had 10.5 sacks last season. He can still be disruptive and there’s no reason to believe that he’s fallen off this much in just one year.
Dave Ziegler Talks Jones’ Start
The NFL trade deadline has passed and there’s no way to get out of Jones’ contract right now so the Raiders need to hope that he turns the season around. Though the stats aren’t great, general manager Dave Ziegler doesn’t have an issue with how Jones has played this season.
“From the run game, I think he’s done a good job for us,” Ziegler said Wednesday. “We wanted to bring in a player with some length that could set the edge of the defense, that can make plays in the run game, that could be on the field for all three downs; and I think he’s done a good job of that. On the pass rushing standpoint, I think he’s had games where he’s had some disruptive rushes and affected the quarterback, and we’re looking for plays to affect the quarterback. The sack numbers haven’t obviously been there, and so more opportunities. We’d like him to finish at the quarterback more, he’d like to finish at the quarterback more. He still garners a lot of attention, there’s still a lot of protections that get slid his way, getting chipped and checked which obviously would open up other opportunities for other teammates.”