The Ringer: Cardinals’ Jones and Golden are 9th-best pass rushing duo

Dec 9, 2016, 7:51 AM
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) and linebacker Markus Golden (44) celebrat...
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) and linebacker Markus Golden (44) celebrate after an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 40-7. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

When the Arizona Cardinals walked off the field at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte following a loss to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game, general manager Steve Keim already had a checklist of areas in which to improve.

At or near the top of that list: improve the pass rush.

Despite setting a franchise record with 13 wins in 2015, the Cardinals finished the season with only 36 sacks. Nine of them came in a Week 16 win over the Green Bay Packers.

Keim checked that box in March when he acquired pass rusher Chandler Jones from the New England Patriots for offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick.

Coupled with second-year outside linebacker Markus Golden, the Cardinals do have a more formidable pass rush this season, despite their struggles in the standings heading into a Week 14 road game at Miami.

Arizona has 31 sacks through 12 games, tied for fourth-most in the league. Jones and Golden, who have combined for 15 sacks, have been a huge reason for the improvement.

The Ringer ranked its top ten pass-rushing duos in the NFL, and has the Cardinals’ pair at number nine.

The Cardinals haven’t had the season they’d hoped for, but one area they improved greatly over last year is their pass rush. As a team, Arizona registered just 36 sacks last year, and through 12 games, they’re already at 31. Trading for Jones (eight sacks) has been a big boost in that area, and second-year breakout rusher Golden (seven sacks) has emerged as a legit threat on the edge.

Not surprisingly, the Denver Broncos’ twosome of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware ranks first, followed by Kansas City’s Dee Ford and Justin Houston and Oakland’s Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.

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The Ringer: Cardinals’ Jones and Golden are 9th-best pass rushing duo