Posts Tagged ‘Chandler Jones’

2014 Patriots: Roster Projection 2.0

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Whose bubble will burst when the roster cuts are made?

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

The first week plus of training camp is already in the books and the roster is still far from a finished product. Jobs aren’t won during the first week of training camp, but they can be lost via lack of production, injury, or other players making the most of their opportunity.

In the Patriots case there hasn’t been a dramatic change in the roster projection. However there are a few minor changes made since the beginning of camp. Here is my 2.0 version of the Patriots projected 2014 roster along with a few thoughts on position battles up to this point.

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Will Smith Could Bring Sub-Package Power to Patriots Defense

Monday, June 16th, 2014

After missing the 2013 season with a torn ACL, veteran pass-rusher Will Smith is vying to return to form in a new uniform. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

An ACL tear during the 2013 preseason brought Will Smith’s 10-year run with the New Orleans Saints to an unceremonious end. But the former Pro Bowl pass-rusher is looking to start anew with the New England Patriots in 2014.

He just may not start.

It’s an understandable reality for the 32-year-old, released by New Orleans in early February. Despite the 120 starts and 139 regular-season contests under his belt, expectations for the five-time defensive captain are as tempered as the one-year, $855,000 contract he signed in May.

A stark contrast from the $3 million in base salary he was due in 2013, Smith is no longer the player who amassed 33.5 sacks over his first four NFL campaigns. He is no longer the player who forged through left tackles for 13 sacks along the way to a Super Bowl victory in 2009.

Yet for head coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Patriots defensive front, what Smith currently is could be enough to make a difference.

Situated behind defensive ends Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, and their Pro Football Focus-leading 2,256 snaps in 2013, the 2004 first-round pick has an opportunity to excel under a lesser capacity than the one he’s accustomed to. He has an opportunity to earn a title unlike the one’s he’s earned before.

Sub-package rusher. (more…)


58 Defensive Line Combinations: A 2013 Patriots Personnel Study

Friday, June 6th, 2014

The defensive line of the 2013 Patriots shifted in waves. Its components changed by the week, and in some cases, by the snap. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The 2013 New England Patriots defensive line was one of adaptation.

It was one of many faces and many alignments. And it was one composed of 15 players, forged by attrition.

For the collection of former draft picks and undrafted free agents, waiver claims and veteran free agents, it was about being greater than the sum of their parts. For head coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and position coach Patrick Graham, on the other hand, it was about being interchangeable.

From Week 1 through Week 17, the New England’s defensive line was just that. But its identity remained unknown. There was no true first-team. There was no true base defense.

Its contributors and alignments shifted with each opponent, with each snap. (more…)


Man of Versatility: Tracking Chandler Jones’ Alignments vs. Jets in Week 7

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Chandler Jones has become more than a 4-3 defensive end for New England. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Leading up to the 2012 NFL draft, Syracuse’s Chandler Jones was advertised as a long, athletic, vine-armed pass-rusher suited to play in multiple defensive schemes. And since then, the 21st overall pick has lived up to his billing for the New England Patriots.

Jones’ rookie season in Foxborough, Mass., consisted of 45 tackles, six sacks and three forced fumbles in 14 regular-season games. In which, the 6’5”, 265-pounder primarily played the role of right defensive end, attacking off the edge and into the backfield. He was adept right off the bat, before seeing an ankle injury compile with the “rookie wall.”

Yet with the offseason came an opportunity for Jones to not only add weight, muscle and pass-rush moves, but a more diversified role in New England’s system. No. 95 has checked the box on all four.

He has become the most versatile chess piece in the Patriots defensive front.

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New England Patriots vs New York Jets: Three Takeaways from a Narrow Victory

Friday, September 13th, 2013
Chandler Jones Dance

Chandler Jones has been a menace so far in 2013. (USA Today Sports)

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

Survive and advance. Wait for reinforcements. They don’t ask for a picture.

You can repeat any cliche that you want, but the Patriots are 2-0.

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Forging Through: Examining Chandler Jones’ Preseason Performance vs. Buccaneers

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones showcased progression versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2 of the preseason. (Photo: NFL Preseason Live)

NEPD Staff Writer: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots’ defense could boom in 2013. And if it does, it will be because second-year defensive end Chandler Jones booms as well.

In 2012, the first-round draft pick amassed six sacks and three forced fumbles over the first eight games. He flashed explosion off the line. He swung around the blind side to make plays. He looked the part of a 6’6”, 260-pound pass-rusher. But when an ankle injury hampered his health in the second half of his rookie campaign, his overall effectiveness was hampered, too.

Yet now, entering year two of his development, the Syracuse Orangeman is readying himself for the next step. In an interview with Patriots Football Weekly in May, Jones acknowledged the responsibility that comes along with his sophomore season in Foxborough, Mass:

“I feel like you can go two different ways in your career with year two,” said Jones. “I feel like this is the year that establishes you as a player.”

Vying for establishment, Jones added 10 pounds of muscle over the offseason. He is more refined in his hand and arm movements, following technique sessions with a boxing trainer. He’s doing the little things in the hopes of making a big difference.

But can the 23-year-old’s hard work off the field translate to further success on the field?

In the Aug. 16 preseason tilt versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it certainly did. (more…)


Patriots vs. Buccaneers: Thoughts and Observations

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Ryan Mallett had his best night as a professional football player.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

After delivering a scare to the entire region of New England, Tom Brady was back on the Gillette Stadium field for the Patriots second preseason game. Brady, as expected was in mid-season form and showed no signs of a knee injury. Now that training camp is over and open roster spots dwindling multiple players needed impressive performances to play their way onto the competitive Patriots roster. Which players stood out and whose bubble burst against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

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