Raiders News: Josh McDaniels Not Expecting Chandler Jones To Play In Season Opener
Chandler Jones, Josh McDaniels, Raiders
Dec 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels (left) and defensive end Chandler Jones (55) embrace at the end of the game against the New England Patriots at Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the Las Vegas Raiders get set to open the 2023 regular season against the Denver Broncos, the team has been surrounded by controversy involving pass rusher Chandler Jones. Despite head coach Josh McDaniels and team captain Maxx Crosby wanting to keep things in-house, Jones has gone on social media multiple times and blasted the team before ultimately deleting the posts.

Originally Jones went on a rant exposing text messages between himself and McDaniels, claimed the team barred him from the facilities, and said he wouldn’t play for the Raiders as long as McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler were there. He then followed up by claiming the team sent a crisis response team to his house and revealed more messages between himself and McDaniels.

With so much going on and it being unclear exactly what the root of the issue is, many assumed Jones would not be suiting up in Week 1, though he was still being listed as a starter on the team’s depth chart. But McDaniels recently made it known that Jones is unlikely to play in the season opener, via Ian Rapaport of NFL Network:

This was always expected to be the case and is for the best. Whether or not Jones is going through some sort of mental health episode is unclear, but the Raiders may think that is the case, hence why they sent a crisis response team to his home. Whatever the case may be, he has obviously been away from the team for some time now and thus may not be ready to play, not to mention the distraction his being there would cause.

Despite a down season last year, the Raiders were counting on Jones to play a big role for the defense as they continue to try and get Crosby some help on the line. If nothing else Jones’ presence would allow for first-round pick Tyree Wilson to be eased into a bigger role especially as he missed much of offseason training while he recovered from an injury. But McDaniels believes he will be ready to step up.

The most important thing remains Jones’ health, especially if this is some sort of mental health issue, but things still need to get cleared up before Jones will be able to return to the team.