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Steve Keim not sounding alarms over Cardinals’ Chandler Jones’ production

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) sacks San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Cardinals fans are used to seeing linebacker Chandler Jones make a statement in most every game.

The three-time Pro Bowler has posted 11 or more sacks each season since 2015. He also set a career high 19 sacks in 2019, ranking second in the league behind Tampa Bay’s Shaquil Barrett.

But this season, Jones has just one sack through three games, the lowest total he’s had through the first three weeks in his career.

So what’s going on?

While on with Arizona Sports’ Doug and Wolf Friday morning, Cardinals GM Steve Keim dug into the topic.

“I think when you watch the film, you realize that for the most part he’s getting a lot of double teams, a lot of chips which is tough for a defensive end pass rusher, outside linebacker which he plays,” Keim said “But that gives other guys opportunities to step up.”

Those “other guys” – Corey Peters, Jordan Phillips, Hasson Reddick and Devon Kennard – have each stepped up and recorded two sacks so far this season.

It’s a stark contrast to 2019, where Peters and Reddick recorded a total of 2.5 and 1.0 sacks with the Cardinals, respectively.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph told reporters Thursday that the change in Jones’ production is to be expected as he gets doubled more and sees less one-on-one matchups.

“Obviously, you can see the chips on Sundays where everyone’s chipping Chandler before they go out for routes,” he said. “They should chip Chandler. I mean, Chan has 19 sacks last year.

“As they watch us unfold from last season and watch us now, he is going to get the chip most of the time. … The more they chip and slide to Chandler, other guys have to produce in the rush game,” Joseph added.

The Cardinals defense has posted four sacks in back-to-back games, an impressive feat in the league, according to Joseph.

Going into Sunday’s game against the Panthers, Joseph hopes to free up the star linebacker and give him more one-on-one matches. But with defense still producing, both Keim and Joseph aren’t too worried about Jones’ current stats.

“I’m pretty bullish on the fact that there’s no doubt in my mind that Chandler is going to get some of those numbers up and he’s going to have his opportunities moving forward,” Keim said.


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