Raiders DC Patrick Graham: ‘Sky Is The Limit’ For Chandler Jones
Chandler Jones, Raiders
Dec 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones (55) celebrates after the game against the New England Patriots at Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders’ premier signing of the 2022 offseason was edge rusher Chandler Jones. After a year in which the Raiders ranked among the worst at getting to the quarterback, Jones figured to be a perfect fit in Patrick Graham’s defense.

However, the two-time first-team All-Pro and four-time Pro-Bowler’s first season in Las Vegas did not go according to plan. He had just 4.5 sacks, the lowest of his career in seasons where he played at least six games. His 15 QB hits were his lowest in a full season since 2014.

Jones has the 2023 season under a guaranteed contract with a potential out before the 2024 season, meaning he needs to show drastic improvement this season. Graham, in his assessment of Jones, sees endless potential for his ability to positively impact the Raiders defense, according to Raider Ramble:

“Chan has been my favorite for – the sky is the limit with Chan. The things he did last year in terms of putting pressure on the quarterback, playing the run, I mean I’m just so proud of him because you’ve got to remember, I coached him as a rookie and then Brendan Daly had him after that and then he went to Arizona and you just see the growth of a true technician, a true professional in terms of the way he can explain the game, the way he executes out there, the way he can see it and his leadership ability… He’s working hard every day and we’ll see how it all plays out, but Chan is a great player. He’s a great player who’s been doing it for a long time. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”

Jones, 33, is entering his 12th NFL season after spending time with the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals. While he is far removed from his league-leading 17-sack season in 2017 and eight forced fumbles in 2019, he was still an incredibly productive player in 2021.

With the Cardinals that season, Jones had 10.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, a recovery, four pass deflections and 26 QB hits. He helped to lead that Cardinals defense to a postseason berth.

He’ll now have to put together a rebound season in Las Vegas to help lift the defense and potentially keep him on the team after 2023.

Jones feels a lot faster

The recipe for a rebound season is absolutely there for Jones, who says he is feeling significantly lighter and faster entering training camp, according to Levi Damien of Raiders Wire:

According to Jones, he is at around 250 pounds, which is 15 pounds below his listed weight, adding that he feels “a lot faster” and that he’s “trying to perfect [his] craft”

“I could play there, I don’t know, we’ll see when training camp starts.” Jones continued. “But I feel good, I feel fast, and we’ll see what happens.”