PFF says Cardinals’ Chandler Jones poised to bounce back in 2021

Aug 21, 2021, 7:25 AM
Arizona Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones goes airborne to knock over a tackling dummy during ...

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones goes airborne to knock over a tackling dummy during NFL football training camp practice at State Farm Stadium, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After a slow start and eventual season-ending injury derailed the 2020 season for Arizona Cardinals edge linebacker Chandler Jones, Pro Football Focus considers the nine-year veteran to be a bounce-back candidate in 2021.

PFF named Jones as Arizona’s candidate for a strong rebound in the upcoming season, naming one player from every NFL team.

Jones recorded only a 62.6 overall player grade from PFF last season after excelling in 2019 with a 86.0. PFF cited a lack of defensive pressure in 2020 before he was injured in Arizona’s Week 5 game against the New York Jets.

What went wrong: Jones had an elite season as a pass-rusher in 2019, earning a career-high 90.0 pass-rush grade, which ranked inside the top five among NFL edge defenders. Instead of building on that success, Jones got off to a slow start in 2020 before suffering a season-ending biceps injury in Week 5. He generated just 10 pressures across 166 rushes prior to the injury, leading to a 63.1 pass-rush grade in that stretch.

Additional pressure from offensive lines against Jones played a major factor in the decline of production. Jones only recorded one sack in 2020, coming in the second quarter of Arizona’s opening game of the season against the San Francisco 49ers.

PFF believes the three-time Pro Bowler could excel once again in 2021 partly due to the arrival of five-time Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt, as long as Watt remains healthy.

Watt was tied for fifth among the highest volume edge defenders in the league last year with 40 solo tackles, according to PFF.

Jones is looking to make his mark in the final year of his five-year contract with the Cardinals. He reportedly asked for a trade on July 25, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Jones has not spoken about his contract situation or his reported trade request since the start of training camp.

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