The New England Patriots were basically without Chandler Jones during the last playoff run. Jones was limited by an ankle injury that he suffered in the middle of the 2012 regular season. This time around, Jones has stayed completely healthy throughout the regular season.
Jones’ ability to stay healthy all season long has been reflected in his production. He has posted 11.5 sacks this season, establishing himself as a true franchise pass rusher. And sacks are just one stat. Jones has been a constant disruptive force all season long.
It all starts with Jones’ size. He stands at a towering 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 265 pounds. That is the height and weight of a true franchise pass rusher.
Being a good pass rusher does not just mean having a good height-weight combination, though. Jones has great power, especially when he uses the bull rush. It is almost as if Jones is pushing an opposing left tackle into the backfield on almost every play.
Not only does Jones constantly pressure the opposing quarterback, he defends the run like a beast. Matt Patricia hardly takes Jones off of the field in any situation, because Jones is very good at setting the edge. And that is not typically expected of a franchise pass rusher.
It took Bill Belichick years to draft a great pass rusher, mostly because he wanted a guy who could do it all. Patience has paid off, however, as Jones has turned into that guy and more. His impact on this young defense is already being felt. If the regular season is any indication of how Jones will do in the playoffs, then he will certainly be a force to be reckoned with.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.