|Big start for Chandler Jones and the rest of the Patriots’ rookies||09.10.12 at 6:29 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For rookie Chandler Jones, you couldn’t draw it up much better.
The Patriots defensive end, who played 58 of a possible 65 defensive snaps in his professional debut Sunday against the Titans, finished with five tackles (three solo) and a strip sack of Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker.
On the sack, Jones beat Titans’ tackle Michael Roos off the edge and easily brought down Locker. He ended up knocking the ball away, where it was gathered up by fellow first-round pick Dont’a Hightower. Hightower then broke one tackle on the way to the end zone for the touchdown.
“I didn’t even know it was a strip sack, to be honest with you, I thought it was just a normal sack,” Jones said on Monday afternoon. “And I got up and Dont’a was in the end zone jumping up and down, so that was good.
“Me being a pass rusher, you basically just take what they give you. When you’re rushing the passer, you look at the offensive linemen and his stature and what he’s doing, [and you base that] on what move you’re going to do. That’s what he gave me, so I took it.”
It was a great start for the rookie out of Syracuse, but only a small part of his personal expectations when it comes to measuring success in the NFL.
“My expectations were to get respect from these vets. You have Vince Wilfork over here to my right, just earning his respect,” said Jones, motioning to the veteran defensive lineman who was dressing two stalls down. “For him to be out there and to trust in me that I’m going to do my job, that’s my goal. For me to go out there and say, ‘I don’t want Vince to worry about what I’m doing. I want him to have trust in me that I’m doing my job.’”
Jones and Hightower weren’t the only rookies to provide highlights. Defensive back Tavon Wilson also came away with a pick of Locker, his first as a pro. All in all, it was a good day for New England’s draft class.
“That was great. That was really great, actually,” he said of the Wilson interception. “It was funny that it happened, actually. Every time someone mentions me on Twitter, I read it. I read it all the time. One of the fans mentioned, ‘I was playing Madden and you got a strip-sack fumble and Hightower picked it up for a touchdown.’ That was right before the game. I was reading that. For me, for it to happen in real life, it was great. It was like a dream come true. That guy predicted it.”
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