The AFC West has been injected with a massive influx of talent this offseason. The Kansas City Chiefs took a step back by trading away Tyreek Hill but the Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers have added proven superstars. The Raiders were the only team outside of the Chiefs to make the playoffs out of the AFC West last season and they decided to hire Josh McDaniels as head coach, trade for Davante Adams and sign Chandler Jones.
Those are the types of moves a team makes when they expect to improve upon a playoff berth and start pushing for a Super Bowl. The Broncos perhaps made the biggest move by adding quarterback Russell Wilson. Quarterback play has held Denver back for years and now they have one of the best.
Luckily for the Raiders, they landed Wilson’s archnemesis in Jones. The four-time Pro Bowler has sacked the quarterback 14.5 times throughout his career, which is more than any other player has sacked Wilson. Jones isn’t exactly sure what it is about the quarterback.
“We have a very unique history,” Jones told Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “I am on the all-time sack list at the Seahawks’ stadium. I am the only non-Seahawk on the list, if you’re picking up what I am putting down. I don’t know what it is … maybe we have a magnet attached to our hips.”
Though Jones and Wilson are friends, the star defender clearly won’t take it easy on him. He made sure to put the quarterback on notice ahead of the upcoming season.
“Yeah, it’s not good for him at all,” Jones said. “Russell is a great friend of mine. But he thought he could get away from me by leaving, but I’m right here with him again.”
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Jones Praises AFC West QBs
Wilson is a Super Bowl champion, nine-time Pro Bowler and likely Hall of Famer. Despite that, he’s still considered the second or third-best quarterback in the division. The AFC West also features Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, who are two of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. That’s not to mention Derek Carr, who has been to three Pro Bowl and was an MVP candidate in the past.
Jones knows the AFC West is going to be tough but he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s a great division for quarterbacks — I have been a fan of Derek Carr for quite a while as well,” Jones said. “To go against Mahomes, Herbert and Russell two times a year is going to be fun. I can’t wait.
“This is my third team and I know what people are looking for out of a player like myself, not just on the field but in the locker room. … Being in guys’ ears and preaching the right things. And still proving to them that I am the same player that they saw when they were younger.”
Can Jones Continue Being Elite Pass Rusher?
Jones has been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL over the last decade. His 107.5 sacks since entering the league are more than any other player during that time period. However, Jones is 32 now and only has 11.5 sacks combined over the last two seasons.
He’s still one of the most effective pass rushers in the NFL but it’s possible he’s starting to show a decline. A big thing that might help him reach a bigger sack number this season is the fact that he’s teaming up with Maxx Crosby. With Crosby taking up so much attention for offenses, Jones could have an easier time getting to the quarterback. The Raiders don’t need Jones to be the player he was at his peak. They just need him to be a very good partner for Crosby and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be.
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And he missed 15 games the last 2 seasons. Potentially McDummys first huge screwup, (maybe keeping Leatherhead is worse) getting rid of the Yannick- Maxx chemistry for an old dude that’s played olb most of the last 5 seasons.