Chandler Jones finds comfort at OLB in Vance Joseph’s defense

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Chandler Jones‘ name might not automatically come up when talking about the league’s top pass rushers. It should. In fact, Jones’ name should be one of the first mentioned.

In his four seasons in Arizona, the edge rusher has a league-high 60 sacks, 210 tackles, 67 tackles for loss, 98 quarterback hits, an NFL-high 17 forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.

He has made the Pro Bowl three times in his career and, in 2019, earned a second career All-Pro.

Jones can’t wait for another season at outside linebacker in Vance Joseph’s defense after spending 2018 at defensive end in Steve Wilks’ one season as head coach.

“To have the opportunity to play the same position in consecutive years is going to be fun for me,” Jones said on a conference call with the team’s beat reporters, via audio from the team. “I feel like I’m more comfortable as an outside linebacker. When I started in the NFL, I was a defensive end so I’m familiar with the position, but I like playing outside linebacker.”

He made a career-high 19 sacks and a league-high eight forced fumbles last season.

Jones credits Terrell Suggs, who spent 13 games with the Cardinals last season, helping him learn how and when to take calculated risks.

“Where I am in my career, I find myself . . . in certain plays saying, ‘I’m not going to take that risk. I might lose contain or the quarterback might throw the ball or I might get a flag,'” Jones said. “Not being less careless, but he taught me to say, ‘Hey, take it. The biggest thing that happens is you make a big play. The worst thing that happens is all right, they gain a couple of yards.’ He triggered something in my brain to kind of take more risks on the field, and it’s also [related] to a lot of my stats. My stats, they lead to the team’s success. A lot of those plays were just me taking risks. A lot of them I was falling into, obviously, but a lot of plays I have the option to go inside or outside. A lot of pass rushers don’t want to go inside because that’s kind of frowned upon. I’ve been going inside a lot more.”

The mentality served Jones well last season, and it’s something he will try to carry into 2020.