CARDINALS CORNER

‘Zen master’ Chandler Jones presents tough obstacle for Arizona Cardinals

Sep 14, 2022, 1:04 PM
Defensive end Chandler Jones #55 and defensive tackle Kyle Peko #92 of the Las Vegas Raiders warm u...
Defensive end Chandler Jones #55 and defensive tackle Kyle Peko #92 of the Las Vegas Raiders warm up before a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at Allegiant Stadium on August 14, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated Vikings the 26-20. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

TEMPE — Quarterback Kyler Murray and outside linebacker Chandler Jones loved to chirp at one another on social media or during press conferences last season.

Whether it was Murray calling out Jones’ physique once his shirt came off or the pass rusher likening the signal caller to Baby Yoda, the two former Arizona Cardinals teammates were usually going back and forth throughout any given week.

Week 2 presents yet another chance for the two to get some digs in. But this time, they’ll be lining up as opponents after Jones departed for the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency this past offseason.

“It’s going to be weird — different — seeing him in a new uniform but at the end of the day, he’s got one job, I got one job,” Murray said Wednesday. “We’ll be able to chop it up after the game but when we’re on the field it is what it is.”

“He’s a great dude,” the QB added. “One of the best teammates I had the pleasure to play with.”

Given the pair played together for three seasons, Murray has a good idea of what to expect from the Cardinals’ all-time sacks leader.

Practice only tells so much in a controlled environment, though. It won’t be until game day when Murray gets a grasp of what it’s really like to face Jones in live action.

But even though there’s no way to simulate game speed in practice, that doesn’t mean Murray doesn’t have an inkling as to what he’s up against when the team travels to Sin City.

“He’s a student of the game,” Murray said. “He loves it. He’s like a Zen master when it comes to the art of pass rushing and all the different ways to get to the quarterback.

“He loves to educate other up and coming pass rushers. … He just loves it. It’s hard not to respect that.”

All jokes aside, Jones has proven he can be an absolute game wrecker for opposing offenses. And you don’t have to go far to understand why.

Jones had little trouble making his mark in Arizona, posting five seasons of at least 10.5 sacks.

Only once in his Cardinals tenure did he not record double-digit sacks, but that was due to a season-ending biceps injury and just five games played in 2020.

He was named as an All-Pro twice and saw three Pro Bowl nods over his six-year stint in Arizona.

“He’s obviously a freak when you talk physicality. A special, special talent in that regard,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Wednesday. “He’s always thinking about the next move and the next play and how he’s going to beat a guy and how his hand placement is. … He names his pass rushes.

“He’s eaten up by getting home to the passer and I think that’s what gets lost because he’s such a talented player. He’s very cerebral. He puts a lot into the mindset and how he attacks it mentally each and every day.”

Jones won’t be the only dominant pass rusher the Cardinals have to contend with on Sunday, either.

Opposite Jones sits Maxx Crosby, a world beater in his own right, who put up eight sacks, 30 QB hits and seven passes defensed last season.

“They’ve got two Hall-of-Fame rushers and we understand that, so we got to have a good plan,” Kingsbury said.

Life Changer Loans

Cardinals Corner

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers d...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray: Slow starting offense ‘can’t last forever’

"I know this can't last forever," Kyler Murray told reporters postgame. "We will figure it out. I'm not making it a thing because it's not."
23 hours ago
Baker Mayfield #6 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball against Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals defense dictates Week 4 win over Panthers

While the Cardinals offense started out flat for yet another week of play, the defense was there to pick up the slack against the Panthers.
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt plays against the Carolina Panthers during the first half...
Tyler Drake

Tearful J.J. Watt thankful to take the field in Week 4 win after heart issue

Despite going into atrial fibrillation on Wednesday, Cardinals DL J.J. Watt still managed to suit up on Sunday against the Panthers.
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin runs against the Carolina Panthers during the first hal...
Tyler Drake

Doing it all: Cardinals’ Eno Benjamin takes over kickoff duties in win vs. Panthers

Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin was a key contributor in the team's Week 4 matchup against Carolina Panthers in more ways than one.
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray passes against the Carolina Panthers during the first ha...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals’ early offensive issues continue in 1st half vs. Panthers

While Arizona's defense answered the call against the Panthers, the same couldn't be said for the offense after a 10-3 first half.
23 hours ago
Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)...
Tyler Drake

Carolina Panthers offense starts, stops with RB Christian McCaffrey

Full strength or not, the Cardinals will have their hands full stopping Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey if he suits up on Sunday.
2 days ago
‘Zen master’ Chandler Jones presents tough obstacle for Arizona Cardinals