Rob Gronkowski did wonders for the confidence of Chandler Jones
|09.06.13 at 4:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Earlier this week, it was Zach Sudfeld who said he couldn’t wait to work with Rob Gronkowski.
As the week draws to a close, another teammate on the other side of the ball is paying a similar tribute only Chandler Jones is speaking from experience.
Chandler Jones recalled Friday his time during his rookie year of 2012 when Gronkowski would tell him early on how much he wanted to go up against him on the line of scrimmage in practice.
“I want to get you every day in practice,” Jones recalled Gronk telling him last season. “You’re good, you’re good. I was like, ‘Wow, Rob Gronkowski telling me this.’ So, it kind of a gave me a little confidence boost. It helped. It helped a lot. I told him that the other day.
“Gronk did help me, saying that to me gave me some confidence going out on the field. It gave me a little extra boost, it did.”
The confidence paid early dividends as Jones raced out of the gate as a rookie and had six sacks in his first eight games as a pro.
Jones is now trying to do the same for rookies like Sudfeld on the offensive side of the ball and Jamie Collins and Michael Buchanan.
“All the time,” Jones said. “In preseason, I was talking to a lot of the rookies and sitting there, telling them, ‘Hey, this is kind of just like college. These guys are college players but just have a NFL jersey on.’ So, just go out there and do what you do best.”
Jones is going back home in several ways this weekend in the season opener. He’s going back to Western New York, where he has family that will be attending the game from nearby Rochester. He also will be playing against his former college head coach, as Doug Marrone is in his first season with the Bills after coaching at Syracuse.
“Coach Marrone is a good coach,” he said. “Congrats to Coach Marrone on getting that head coaching job at Buffalo. I’m excited to play against him.”
While this is his first top coaching job in the NFL, Marrone has coached in the league before, coaching the Jets offensive line and serving as the Saints offensive coordinator before taking over the Orange program in 2009.
“He’s changed, he’s changed a lot to be honest with you. He’s moved from college to the National Football League, and different schemes have changed, different body types, different guys but back when I was at Syracuse, he was a good coach. I’m excited to see him on Sunday, play against him.”
As for the ticket demand?
“I have a lot of family members in Rochester, New York, right close to Buffalo,” Jones said. I haven’t gotten them all yet. Just five.”