Chandler Jones: ‘I feel like my pass rush could be better’
|11.16.12 at 6:13 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Defensive end Chandler Jones has seen a drop-off in his numbers over the last few weeks — after five sacks in his first six games, he’s had one in his last three. And while the rookie has certainly drawn the attention of opposing offensive coordinators, he said it’s not because of the rookie wall.
‘Personally, I feel like my pass rush could be better, as an individual,’ Jones said after practice on Friday. ‘That’s just something I have to work on, to get better at my pass rush.’
Asked if he’s seeing more double teams, Jones was noncommittal.
‘I just go out there and play football,’ he said. ‘If you’ve been a dominant pass rusher, or if you’ve been pretty successful, if I was an offensive coordinator, I would double-team someone who’s a good pass rusher. But yeah, I just go out there and play football.’
Jones faces a new challenge on Sunday as he goes up against the Colts offense and Indy left tackle Anthony Castonzo. The former Boston College offensive lineman is in charge of protecting the blind side of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, and Jones knows it’ll be a difficult test.
‘Anthony Castonzo is a good player. He’s tall, he’s athletic. He’s long. You just have to get to him. You can’t have Andrew Luck sitting back there and picking us apart. We have to pressure him,’ Jones said. ‘You can’t let [Luck] sit in the pocket being comfortable. I feel like he’s doing a phenomenal job over in Indy. It’s our job — me, as a defensive end — to make him uncomfortable back there.’
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said this week that Luck is more mobile and more athletic than people think, which presents a new challenge for Jones and the rest of the New England pass rush.
‘He’s a big body quarterback — I’ve seen him shed a few guys off,’ Jones said of Luck. ‘If you get him, you have to get him down and you can’t let him throw the ball.’
One teammate who should be able to offer some support is fellow defensive end Rob Ninkovich. Jones is quick to praise Ninkovich — the two have combined to form the nucleus of New England pass rush, as they have combined for 17 of the teams’ 34 quarterback hits and 12 of the 20 sacks. Jones calls Ninkovich ‘a great leader and a great helper as well.’
‘I’ve learned a lot from Rob. Every single day, I’m learning something,’ said Jones, who has six sacks and nine quarterback hits over the first nine games. ‘If we’re watching film, if he sees me doing something wrong or taking the wrong step, he’s like, ‘Hey Chandler, try doing this with that.’ If you have someone like that in your room, it’s just a great aspect to have.’