Jones looks to show a little leg this season

Jones looks to show a little leg this season
May 21, 2014, 1:15 am
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In 2013, Chandler Jones made 79 tackles. That total, perhaps more than his 11.5 sacks, was remarkable for a player identified as a defensive end.

By comparison, the Saints young pass rusher, Cameron Jordan had 47 tackles to go with his 12.5 sacks. The Bills’ Mario Williams had 38 tackles and 13 sacks. The Texans’ brilliant J.J. Watt had 80 tackles and 10.5 sacks. Robert Quinn of the Rams had 57 tackles and 19 sacks.

The high production from Jones illustrates two things. One, he is deployed differently than the other designated pass rushers, working inside as well as on the edge and – as a result – has different demands on him. Second, he’s on the field almost all the time.

This offseason, Jones is taking measures to make himself even more well-conditioned to stand up to the beating and raise his game. That starts at the bottom.

“I feel like if I can get my legs stronger, and get it equal with my upper body, I'll be more proportional and it will help me with my game a lot,” Jones explained. “Last season was my upper body. This year, I'm focusing more on my lower body. It can definitely help with me and the whole sport of football, change of direction, my bull rush, whatever it is. Stronger legs definitely generates more power and more speed."

Jones was asked about two of the reinforcements the Patriots added on the defensive line, Will Smith and Dominique Easley. The two men are at the opposite ends of the age spectrum – Smith is going to be 33 when the season begins, Easley will be 23. But both are coming off ACL injuries.

“Being a defensive end, I feel like the thing you look at is pass-rush ability,” said Jones. “That’s what you get paid for. He’s a great pass-rusher.”

As for first impressions of Easley? “He looks like a great player. I’ve been watching his highlights (and) he was getting a lot of penetration, and that’s definitely key on the defensive line. I’m excited for him to be part of the New England Patriots and make some big plays.”

Jones is acquainted with those. With a "more proportional" frame, he's setting the stage to make more in 2014.