Chandler Jones has been busy prepping for 2013 season
|05.02.13 at 6:32 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For an NFL youngster, the transition between the first and second season can be even tougher than the jump from college to the pros for several reasons, including the fact that the league now has a full year of tape on you. The moves you used to surprise people as a rookie don’t work any more, and it’s on you to make the adjustments to take your game to another level.
For Chandler Jones, those adjustments are multifaceted. For one, in the wake of his 2012 season, he wanted to improve his upper body strength. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end out of Syracuse is a long, lean pass rusher, but wanted to bulk up to try and gain an advantage on opposing tackles.
“I’m still working on it — it’s a long process,” said Jones, the Syracuse product had 10 quarterback hits and six sacks as a rookie with the Patriots in 2012. “You can’t just wake up and just get bigger and stronger. [Strength] coach Harold [Nash] and [assistant strength] coach Moses [Cabrera] do a great job at strength and conditioning, so I’m excited.”
He’s also managed to do some boxing as part of his offseason workouts. He was initially set on training with his brother, MMA fighter Jonny “Bones” Jones, but a toe injury to Jonny may have set that make a bit.
“His toe was pretty bad, I don’t know if you guys saw it — his toe kind of broke out of the skin,” Chandler said of the gruesome injury his brother recently endured. “Actually I didn’t go down and train with him, but I did do some boxing and MMA right up over in Providence with [teammate] Brandon Deaderick. It was great training, very great training.”
It hasn’t been all work this offseason for Jones. He said Thursday he took about five weeks off to relax and recharge after a long rookie year.
“I was talking about that the other day,” he said. “Someone asked me ‘How was the offseason?’ There really isn’t an offseason. Even though you try to unplug from the game and get your mind off of it, you’re always thinking about what you could’ve done on that play or in that game. Physically, yeah, there’s definitely a resting factor, but you know mentally, you’re always thinking about football. That’s your job.”
When it comes to off-field stuff, Jones — who met second-round pick Jamie Collins for the first time on Thursday, just before the rookie was presented with his jersey in a ceremony alongside owner Robert Kraft — is excited to get his second year started for several reasons, not the least of which is that he’ll have a chance to show his chops as a leader.
“Being a rookie, especially being a first-round draft pick, you don’t want to make any mistakes. You’re nervous about going into every drill,” he said when asked about the offseason workouts, which are ongoing at Gillette Stadium. “Now going into my second year in the NFL, I kind of try to lead, be the first one at every drill, and just try to be a leader and that’s what my biggest focus is, taking the game more seriously.”