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Chandler Jones on Patriots rookie class: ‘We’re very mature’

09.14.12 at 2:55 pm ET
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Chandler Jones is ready for the Patriots home opener Sunday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Chandler Jones got the message on rookie humility from Bill Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff.

On Friday, he acknowledged that – as a rookie defensive end out of Syracuse – he can still get a lot better in his technique and overall game on defense.

“Being humble is key because no one likes a cocky player at all,” Jones said. “There’s a big difference between being cocky and being confident. It’s good to be humble but it’s good to be confident at the same time. I have a lot of work to do, a lot of work to do.”

He was asked if his strip-sack of Jake Locker leading to the fumble return for a touchdown by fellow rookie Dont’a Hightower proves right away that he belongs in the NFL.

“I wouldn’t jump to that statement right away, saying ‘I belong in this league.’ I feel like it was a great play but anyone can get a great play in this game of football. Like I said, I have a lot of work to do and that was just Week 1 and I have a few more weeks to go,” Jones said. “It gave me a little bit of swagger, I’ll say. But I have a lot work to do, a lot of work to do.

“We’re handed the game plan. We’re told to execute the game plan and that’s what we did.”

But don’t get Jones wrong. He definitely plays and carries himself like a rookie who knows what he’s doing on and off the field.

“That’s the job of the vets,” Jones said of the job of keeping rookies in check in the Patriots locker room. “I feel like as far as the rookie class, we’re very mature. We all are leaders on our own. That’s one characteristic we all have.”

That rookie class of Jones, Hightower, Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner will be center stage on Sunday as the Patriots make the 2012 home debut at Gillette Stadium.

“I’m excited to see,” Jones said. “With a sold out game, hopefully we can get the crowd going on third down or whenever the defense is out there and we’ll see what happens.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Chander Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Nate Ebner
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