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Patriots position-by-position breakdown: Defensive line 02.17.15 at 8:00 am ET
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Bill Belichick, Vince Wilfork and Matt Patricia celebrate at the end of Super Bowl XLIX. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick, Vince Wilfork and Matt Patricia celebrate at the end of Super Bowl XLIX. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

With the Patriots done for the season, we’ve got an end-of-the-year position-by-position breakdown of where the Patriots stand. We’ve looked at special teams, wide receivers, running backs, tight ends, quarterback, offensive line, safety and cornerback and linebacker. Now, we wrap it up with defensive line:

Depth chart (regular-season stats via coaches film review): Chandler Jones (43 tackles, 6 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, 2 passes defensed), Alan Branch (14 tackles, 2 quarterback hits, 1 pass defensed), Sealver Siliga (27 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 4 quarterback hits), Vince Wilfork (47 tackles, 1 quarterback hit, 1 INT, 2 passes defensed), Chris Jones (27 tackles, 3 sacks, 7 quarterback hits), Rob Ninkovich (56 tackles, 8 sacks, 16 quarterback hits, 1 INT, 2 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery), Joe Vellano (6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 quarterback hit), Zach Moore (4 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery), Michael Buchanan (1 tackle), Dominique Easley (9 tackles, 1 sack, 3 quarterback hits) and Akeem Ayers (15 tackles, 4 sacks, 5 quarterback hits, 1 INT, 1 pass defensed). Jake Bequette remains on the practice squad.

Overview: The heart of the New England defense, the line was able to hold strong after a sluggish start and really one together nicely as the year developed and into the playoffs. At the center of it all was a resurgent Wilfork. The veteran had to knock a little rust off at the start of the season, but he was a huge part of the defensive success enjoyed by the Patriots over the course of the 2014 season, not only from an on-field perspective but as a leader and mentor to a group of younger defensive linemen. Along the interior, Wilfork was ably backed by youngsters Siliga and Jones, who returned to their roles as mostly complementary players.

On the edge, Ninkovich and Chandler Jones weren’t an overwhelming pass rush duo, but Ninkovich became the first member of the Pats to register three straight seasons of at least eight sacks since Hall of Famer Andre Tippett. Jones struggled with a hip injury and missed roughly two full months in the middle of the year, but Ayers — acquired from Tennessee in October — was able to provide relief as a pass rusher while holding up relatively well against the run. And Branch, who was plucked off the street in October, managed to find a role as a run-stopper and steadying part of the rotation up front.

Ultimately, it wasn’t an overwhelming defensive front, but in the spirit of good complementary football, it was more than enough to lift the Patriots over the top: In six of their final 11 games (including the playoffs), the Patriots held opposing teams under 100 yards rushing, and finished ninth in the league in rush defense (104.3 yards per game allowed).

Going forward, one of the offseason storylines worth monitoring will be what happens with Wilfork and his contractual situation. The veteran could be one of several players who might be asked to have his deal restructured in hopes of creating more financial flexibility. At the same time, most of the rest of the key parts are under contract for 2015, including 2014’s first-round selection Dominique Easley, who had recurring knee issues through the year and ended the season on injured reserve. Count on him to be a major part of New England’s defensive plans in 2015.

Best moment: Lots of moments to choose from here, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the work that the defensive front did over the course of the six-game gauntlet against (mostly) division leaders that would come to define the Patriots as the physical bunch they turned out to be. In that series, New England yielded an average of 81 rushing yards per game and just one rushing touchdown.

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Read More: Alan Branch, chandler jones, Dominique Easley, New England Patriots
Chandler Jones wants to fight brother, UFC lightweight champion, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones for charity 02.12.15 at 8:36 am ET
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

There aren’t many families as athletic as the Jones family — Chandler is a defensive end for the Patriots, Arthur plays on the defensive line for the Colts, and Jon “Bones” Jones is a UFC fighter.

Chandler, the youngest child, says he wants to fight Jon, the middle child, for charity.

“Me and my brother used to fight all the time when we were young … and I’m pretty sure I can take him down now. I am way bigger than he is,” Chandler said to TMZ Sports.

Chandler said he wouldn’t want a full length fight, just one round for charity.

“It will be fun if we actually did a one-round match for charity … that would be fun,” he said. “If I win, he would have to donate to the charity of my choice and vice versa.”

Even if Jon agreed to the fight, it doesn’t seem like it would happen, as Chandler plays for Bill Belichick, who would likely not be in favor of his defensive end fighting a UFC lightweight champ during the offseason.

“I don’t know how my coach would feel about it. I don’t think it would fly,” Chandler said.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: chandler jones, Jon Jones,
Chandler Jones calls Vince Wilfork a ‘brother': ‘Having a guy like him in the locker room, words can’t explain’ 01.28.15 at 3:18 pm ET
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Chandler Jones is anxious and excited for his first Super Bowl. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Chandler Jones is anxious and excited for his first Super Bowl. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Chandler Jones is one of 36 players on the Patriots who will be playing in their first Super Bowl on Sunday against the Seahawks, and obviously there is a lot going through his mind.

“Those two words are very good words to use: excited and anxious,” Jones said. “But within that, ultimately there’€™s one task at hand, and it’€™s to win. The biggest thing is just being calm throughout it all, all the interviews, all the media, all the people asking for tickets. Just being calm and levelheaded through it all.”

Fortunately for Jones and the rest of the Patriots defense, they have a leader like Vince Wilfork who has played in three previous Super Bowls and has won one as well. He’s preparing the players as best he can for the game.

“He’€™s just like having another brother, actually,” said Jones. “Like I said in the previous interview, his leadership is one thing that stands out to me the most. You could talk to him about anything, about being on the field, off the field, personal life, anything. Having a guy like him in the locker room, words can’€™t explain.

“Everything he does. Even on the field or off the field, or like I said, even in the film room, there will be times where Vince will say, ‘€˜Hey, watch out,’€™ something a coach might not see, but Vince will,” he added. “He’€™s almost like having another coach in the film room.”

Jones played in 10 games this season, as he missed six with a hip injury, but finished with six sacks. One of his biggest tasks on Sunday will be controlling Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

“He’€™s a tremendous quarterback. He’€™s a really good quarterback,” said Jones. “I wouldn’€™t call him unusual. He came in the NFL with me, actually, in the same draft class. He was actually one of the lower quarterbacks picked. ESPN always talks about it. But I feel like if everyone just contains and if everyone is in their spot, that zone read offense, you catch your guy outside their spot, it could hurt you and could gash you.  If everyone’€™s in the right spot, then we should be fine.”

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, chandler jones, Super Bowl XLIX,
Chandler Jones on MFB: ‘I really don’t care’ about Deflategate 01.26.15 at 2:33 pm ET
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Patriots defensive lineman Chandler Jones joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss the Super Bowl and Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Jones discussed preparing for the Super Bowl with the Deflategate controversy dominating the media.

“During a week like this I try to just avoid it all,” Jones said. “I really, honestly, I really don’t care, I just want to play. I’m really focused on Seattle, I’m focused on my matchups, who I’m going against.”

Added Jones: “That just goes back to ignoring the noise. … At the end of the day, we all have a job and we have to do it.”

Jones had high praise for Seattle’s two biggest offensive weapons, running back Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Russell Wilson.

Marshawn Lynch is a guy that, I mean, if you let him he can run over your whole defense,” Jones said. “And then you have a guy like Russell Wilson and if you let him, he can juke out your whole defense and make big plays. So it’s our job as a defense to hopefully contain those guys.”

Jones added: “This is a quarterback-driven team, this is a quarterback-driven league, obviously. If you can contain the quarterback you can hopefully contain the scoreboard.”

Jones likely will spend much of the Super Bowl lined up against Seahawks tackle Russell Okung.

“I had a little success against him my rookie year and hopefully I can again on Sunday,” Jones said, adding “He’s a guy that’s very strong. He’s very strong on the running game. He has very strong hands, and he’s also a guy that’s long. When you have a guy that’s kind of a long and athletic body type, it’s kind of harder to get around.”

Added Jones: “For this week, we’re just kind of working hard and trying to polish up things so hopefully we can be successful on Sunday.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: chandler jones, Deflategate, Patriots,
Julian Edelman on MFB: ‘We just so happened to do a lot of things right’ vs. Colts 01.19.15 at 12:59 pm ET
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Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman and defensive end Chandler Jones joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss Sunday’s rout of the Colts in the AFC championship game. To hear the interviews, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots had their way with Indianapolis on both sides of the football Sunday night.

“They’re a good team. We just so happened to do a lot of things right,” Edelman said. “We played a complementary football game. … We were just able to execute at a high level last night. Hopefully that goes on to two weeks.”

Said Jones: “It’s good for the coaches to give out a game plan, but at the end of the day it’s up to the players to execute and buy into what the coaches are coaching. I feel like our players did a good job of buying into the coaches’ game plan, and we outexecuted the other team and it definitely showed on the scoreboard at the end of the game.”

Jones credited fellow defensive end Rob Ninkovich with having a standout game.

Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

“I want to personally take the time to point out Rob Ninkovich‘s game that he had last night,” Jones said. “I just finished watching him. Rob had a tremendous game. It might not show on the stat sheet, but he did a really good job of pressuring Andrew Luck. Like I said, I want to shout him out. That was a great game by Rob Ninkovich.”

Edelman said he knew nothing about the controversy regarding allegedly underinflated footballs.

“I’m not even getting involved in this one,” Edelman said. “Ask coach Bill Belichick on all situations.”

Added Edelman: “Those guys [on the sideline] didn’t do anything. They’re probably just overreacting on something. It’s ridiculous, but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. We’re going to just try to get better for Seattle.”

Offensive lineman Nate Solder scored a touchdown in the third quarter, catching a short pass from Tom Brady and running into the end zone. Edelman said he was happy to share the spotlight with his underappreciated teammate.

“Those big dogs, they do all the grinding work each and every week. They don’t ever get the credit they deserve,” Edelman said. “To see one of your big dogs get a touchdown, especially in such an important game, it’s always awesome. You get to see those guys, they light up like a Christmas tree. It was awesome to see that.”

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Read More: chandler jones, Julian Edelman, Rob Ninkovich,
Arthur Jones on brother Chandler: ‘I always want to beat my brother in everything that we do’ at 12:13 pm ET
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Chandler Jones was able to beat his brother Arthur in Sunday's AFC championship. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Chandler Jones was able to beat his brother Arthur in Sunday’s AFC championship. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — It was a win-win situation for the Jones family Sunday night — they were going to the Super Bowl no matter what.

If the Patriots won, Chandler would be going. If the Colts won, Arthur would be going. But, there wasn’t much doubt as the Patriots rolled to a 45-7 win and Chandler will be playing in his first Super Bowl in two weeks in Arizona.

Despite the loss, Arthur was proud of his younger brother, especially for all he went through this season, missing significant time with a hip injury.

“The kid is a champion. He’s a warrior,” Arthur said. “He battled through injury, I congratulated him. I don’t want to be a sore loser, my mom and dad raised me better than that. Hats off to them. We’ll be ready to go next time.”

“As a competitor you always want to go to the Super Bowl,” he added. “I always want to beat my brother in everything that we do. Hats off to them. It’s a team sport, they won fair and square, but we will be back.”

This wasn’t the first time the two brothers have faced off — it was the fourth time the brothers faced each other since Chandler, a first-round draft choice in 2012, joined his brother in the NFL. Arthur was fifth-round pick in 2010 by the Ravens and this was his first season with the Colts.

“I’ve played against my brother before and he has beaten me. I have beat him before too,” Chandler said. “It was kind of a win-win for my family — they get to go to Arizona no matter what. It was a great win.”

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Arthur Jones, chandler jones,
Chandler Jones dishes on brother Arthur Jones, explaining why big brother is ‘reason I started playing football’ 01.15.15 at 9:08 pm ET
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FOXBORO — This is not the time for brotherly love. At least not in the Jones football household.

Patriots defense end Chandler Jones knows what’s at stake. He’ll get together with brother Arthur, a fellow defensive lineman, after Sunday’s game. For three hours or more on Sunday, Chandler of the Patriots and Arthur of the Colts will be trying to stop the opposing quarterback and offenses and punch a ticket to Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz.

“No, I don’€™t see too much of him,” Chandler Jones said. “I really don’€™t see a lot of the other players before the game.”

This is the fourth time the two brothers will be on the field at the same time. In 2012, the Ravens beat the Patriots, 31-30, in a controversial ending. Arthur Jones did not start and played as a back-up in that game. Later that season, in the AFC championship, the brothers were both substitutes.

The only game the two brothers have played actively in was Week 16 of the 2013 season, when the Patriots hammered the Ravens, 41-7. Arthur had four solo tackles and four assists. Chandler had two assists and a fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown that helped put the game away.

This year, after Arthur was signed by the Colts in March to a five-year, $30 million deal, Jones missed the Nov. 16 meeting with an ankle injury at Lucas Oil Stadium while Chandler was out of the same game with a hip injury.

So, going against your brother Arthur on the Colts, how is the Jones family going to feel in the stands?

“My mom and dad are pretty excited,” Chandler Jones said Thursday. “They get to go to the Championship no matter what. But, it’€™ll be a good family gathering, and everyone will be there, so that’€™ll be fun for our family. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 playoffs, AFC Championship, Arthur Jones, chandler jones
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