Dealing Cards: Chandler Jones putting together career year
Dec 14, 2017, 4:33 PM | Updated: Dec 15, 2017, 12:23 pm
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
TEMPE, Ariz. — It’s been a frustrating season for the Arizona Cardinals and that’s putting it mildly. But at least one player is still managing to put together an impressive campaign.
Chandler Jones enters Week 15 with 14 sacks, good for the NFL lead by 0.5 over the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence. He also leads the league with 24 tackles for a loss.
The 14 sacks are already a career high, putting him on pace for roughly 17 by the time the season ends. So the numbers themselves are impressive on their own. But they look that much better when considering the fact that Markus Golden has been out of the lineup since Week 4 with a knee injury.
Now opposing offenses can focus most of their efforts on containing Jones. And it really hasn’t slowed him down at all.
“I’ve said it – I said it, I think, three weeks ago – there is no question he’s a Defensive Player of the Year candidate,” James Bettcher reminded everyone after practice on Thursday. “There’s no question that people should be talking about him as a Defensive Player of the Year.
“And that’s not numbers, that’s not just statistics. But when you turn the tape on, all the things that are non-measurable snaps. All the non-measurable things he does to affect games.”
Jones may be facing an uphill battle in terms of actually taking home Defensive POY honors, simply because the Cardinals are almost certain to miss out on the playoffs. But if he finishes out these final three games the way he’s performed in the first 13, he’s going to force voters to look even closer at what he’s been able to do.
“Just to see him work and to see his unorthodox movements and he’s able to get to the quarterback is definitely fun to watch from the back end,” Patrick Peterson pointed out. “But it’s even better to watch on tape because, when you’re on the field, you really can’t see it.
“You can see him making the play, but you can’t see him making the movements to get him to make that play. And to see some of the body positions and some of the hand placements that’s he’s able to use to get to the quarterback is definitely fun to watch.”
Larry Fitzgerald addressed the media on Thursday and had a pretty succinct answer when asked how he and his teammates are getting geared up to play these games right now, despite their place in the standings.
“I mean, we’re playing for our jobs,” he explained. “You don’t need much motivation in the National Football League – we’re all on one-year contracts. You’ve got to perform, you’ve got to earn your keep, or you won’t be around. It’s as simple as that. I don’t know if there’s much more motivation.”
Most Valuable Receiver
No wide receiver has ever been named the league’s Most Valuable Player, but Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown is making a strong push to become the first this year.
“I definitely believe so,” Fitzgerald said when asked if Brown would be deserving of the honor. “I don’t think there’s anybody that’s as dominant as he is in the game right now.
“He’s playing at an extremely high level. He singlehandedly has won – or put his team in position to win – three or four games this year. And what he does in terms of creating mismatches for his teammates, you can’t value that enough.”
Pro Bowl voting
Arizona players were able to cast their votes for the Pro Bowl today. After using captains to draft lineups from players that were voted in from 2013-15, the league has gone back to the traditional AFC vs NFC format. That means Cardinals players only have to focus on the NFC when casting their votes. They’re also not allowed to pick any teammates.