Chandler Jones has lots of teachers as he goes back to school with Patriots
|09.03.12 at 1:31 pm ET|
FOXBORO — When you graduate from the college game to the NFL, the studying doesn’t stop.
In some cases, it’s gets more intense. Ask Patriots rookie Chandler Jones.
‘Just like college, just like going to school. I find myself with a lot of free time,” Jones said a week before his NFL debut in Tennessee. “The biggest transition from college to the professional level is time management. It’s the maturity level you have as a player to take time out and go and study on your own time when you have free time. Definitely, you take it like it’s class.’
Jones is being asked to adapt his 4-3 defensive end style and his pass rushing skills in the NFL game at the NFL speed. He started out on fire in training camp, beating left tackle Nate Solder consistently in one-on-one drills and looking impressive in his preseason debut against the Saints. He finished his three preseason games with three solo tackles and one assist and one sack against Tampa Bay Aug. 24.
‘Football is fun, especially at the professional level,” said Jones, who came out after his junior season at Syracuse. “You can say my first debut was against the Saints but this is my real NFL debut and I’m excited to out there and play football.’
Helping him on Sunday will be a group of veterans who have been through what he’s going through right now.
‘Just me getting more familiar with the veterans; that’s how I improve to be honest,’ said Jones, who was red-shirted in his freshman year of 2008 before playing three seasons for the Orange.
‘Patrick Chung, Vince Wilfork, Steve Gregory, Jerod Mayo, those are all great players, very great players. As a rookie coming in here, just getting behind those guys and watching them and picking up certain things from them, it makes you adapt to the system and the program a lot easier.’