Dealing Cards: Chandler Jones moves around, makes impact
GLENDALE, Ariz. — When the Cardinals traded for Chandler Jones in the offseason, the thought was they were getting a premier pass rusher.
So far, so good, as he has four sacks in his first four games, and in doing so became the first player in franchise history to notch a sack in each of the first four games of a season.
Fellow linebacker Markus Golden later joined Jones with the same feat, but Jones’ final line in a 17-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams Sunday of four tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a QB hit was arguably his best of the young season — and for the most part, exactly what the Cardinals were hoping for.
Jones’ performance likely had something to do with the fact that he was lining up all over the defensive front.
“It’s what I’m familiar with,” Jones said after the game. “I was doing it in New England. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I’m going to do it. That was my role this week.”
Head coach Bruce Arians said his defensive staff has done a good job with Jones, allowing him to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback.
“He’s not going to be in the same spot all of the time, that’s for sure,” he added.
While this may have been Jones’ best game in his brief career as a Cardinal, he said he does not concern himself with the stats and knows there is room for improvement. He won’t know exactly how he fared until he watches the film.
But regardless, he likes the idea of being moved around.
“It’s different because you have threats from all directions,” he said. “When you’re at the edge of the line, you know who’s going to block you every play. When you’re at the tackle position, which I did most of the game, you can get the slide, you can get guys coming from inside, outside. You have to read who’s actually attacking you before you actually rush them.
“I played defensive tackle a lot more this game. I’m not foreign to it. I played it over in New England. The coaches asked me to do that and that was my task at hand. It’s just different looks. I don’t want it to be predetermined or for them to predict where I am, so we changed up the look a little bit.”
John Brown breaks out
Though Arizona’s offense was mostly anemic, one of the bright spots from the game was the play of receiver John Brown.
The third-year pro caught 10 of a team-high 16 targets for 144 yards and for the first time this season resembled the player who topped the 1,000-yard mark last year.
“John Brown looked good for three weeks,” Arians said. “He’s had two-to-three great weeks of practice, and it’s finally showing up in games.”
Brown said his slow start to the season could be attributed to rust after he missed so much time during the preseason due to a concussion, but he’s since been able to get his timing down and be more like himself.
“Oh yeah, I feel good,” he said. “The receiving coach comes to me like, ‘We trying to put the ball in your hands. We need you to do this and that.’
“It just made me push harder to get back where I want to be.”
Quick turnaround a good thing?
Given their injury situation, the timing of the Cardinals’ next game could probably be better.
Then again, given that they are coming off another disappointing loss, maybe the chance to get back on the field and right the ship cannot come soon enough.
“Personally, for me, yeah. I’m hungry,” linebacker Chandler Jones said. “I want to win. The quicker we can get to that game, the better. I’m excited about this quick turnaround for sure.”
Thursday night the Cardinals will be in Santa Clara, Calif., to take on the 49ers in their first and only Thursday night affair this season. Every team has to play in one, and the Cardinals will get theirs out of the way now. If they win, the benefit will be a little extra time off before their next game.
It won’t be a bye week, but it will be close. And if nothing else, needing to prepare for another game so soon means the Cardinals cannot spend too much time focusing on Sunday’s outcome. Arians said the team has no time to dwell on the loss to the Rams — only time to watch the film.
“We’ll be at work at 8 o’clock in the morning trying to get better and get a win,” he said. “The sky is not falling for us. I’m sure it is for a bunch of the fans. I’m disappointed to say that, but we’ve got a game Thursday night.”
The page has to be turned, and quickly.
“Can’t feel too bad for ourselves, we have to play in like 72 hours,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “It’s going to be an opportunity for us to bounce back, primetime T.V. Hopefully we can be ready.”