Raiders’ Josh McDaniels Sounds off on Chandler Jones’ Unimpressive Start

chandler jones

Getty Las Vegas Raiders pass rusher Chandler Jones.

The Las Vegas Raiders finally notched their first win of the season against the Denver Broncos in Week 4 but there’s still a matter to be concerned about. Three-time Pro Bowler Chandler Jones was the team’s big free agent signing in the offseason and they traded away Yannick Ngakoue to make room for him. Jones has put together a great career but he’s 32 and the team gave him a contract worth $51 million over three seasons.

Through four games, Jones has zero sacks and is Pro Football Focus‘ 78th-rated EDGE defender. Maxx Crosby has been putting together a potential Defensive Player of the Year campaign while Jones has been largely invisible. While fans are starting to turn on the former Arizona Cardinal, head coach Josh McDaniels is happy with what he’s seen from Jones. He believes that the defensive end is doing a lot of good things.

“He’s making a lot of plays that don’t show up in the stats,” McDaniels said Monday. “And that’s probably going to be not good enough for everybody to listen to, but he’s making plays in the running game, he drew multiple holding penalties yesterday. I mean, there are ways to produce and there is a way to impact the game beyond just the one column that everybody’s looking for. I thought he and Maxx [Crosby], Clelin [Ferrell], Malcolm [Koonce], Bilal [Nichols] – I thought there was a lot of different things going on up front yesterday where we created some negativity offensively for them with some of our effort, the way we were playing.

“We didn’t always make the tackle. We didn’t always get the sack, or the TFL, but we created it for somebody else to have it. Chandler is an unselfish guy, and he understands what his role is. Nobody would want to have more of those than Chandler would, but he also is not going to sit here and get frustrated with lack of those production stats. He was in there, Russell [Wilson] felt him some yesterday for sure, and like I said, he drew a few holdings calls that were important in the game. I think impact is sometimes, if you look at it and measure it just by the one column, you can misjudge it a little bit. I like the way he’s playing. I like the effort he’s playing with, and I think those will come.”

Has Jones Really Been That Disappointing?

McDaniels isn’t about to throw Jones under the bus. He’s a former New England Patriots star and they’ve known each other for a long time. Jones is also beloved as a teammate and does work hard. However, he is not proving to be worth the $51 million the Raiders gave him in the offseason.

Jones only has eight pressures this season, per PFF, while Crosby has 18. In Jones’ defense, he typically has to line up against an offense’s left tackle, which is usually a tougher assignment than lining up against the right tackle. Regardless, the Raiders could’ve kept Ngakoue at a much lower price if these were the numbers they were going to get. He hasn’t had a great season either but he’s making $4 million less a season and is on an expiring deal.

Will Jones Pick Things Up?

Things won’t get any easier for Jones in Week 5 as he’ll likely be lining up against three-time Pro Bowler Orlando Brown. It could be another quiet game for Jones. At a certain point, he will have a big game.

Jones was on a Hall of Fame trajectory heading into this game and he’s healthy right now. He had 10.5 sacks last season so it’s difficult to imagine that he lost his skill this quickly. Since his rookie year, Jones has not had a season where he played over 10 games and had less than 10.5 sacks.

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