After Five-Sack Performance, Jones Strives to be Better

The Arizona Cardinals edge rusher spoke to media members on Wednesday.
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To reach the NFL, astronomical levels and odds must be overcome to simply be on a roster at any given time. To become a starter in the league, the odds are even higher. 

The probability of doing what Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones did on Sunday is something few people who walk this earth will ever come close to. Jones' five sacks against the Titans in Arizona's opener was remarkable. Only 18 other players in NFL history have accomplished that feat since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. 

It was as if Jones planned it. 

"Oh, yeah, I had a feeling for sure," said Jones about his performance after practice on Wednesday. "We had a good week of practice. I had a great week of practice. And it showed out in the field for sure."

Jones' five sacks and his ability to get to the passer can't be overstated. Jones nearly reached Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill for a sixth time before the ball was thrown, although that will go down as a mere QB hit for Jones. 

Yet, his impact in stopping Tennessee's rushing attack that features workhorse Derrick Henry isn't nearly talked about enough. Jones' four tackles for loss were instrumental in ensuring the Titans offense remained stagnant, starting from the game's first play where Jones quickly met Henry for a three-yard loss. 

"Anytime someone on the defense can get a negative play to the opposing offense, it's good for our defense. That definitely fuels us. On that play, (tackle) Taylor Lewan overstepped me and I just beat him inside," Jones said.

It was a career day for Jones, who tied a Cardinals franchise record for most sacks in a game set by Haason Reddick last season. Jones played only 75% of the team's defensive snaps. 

With such a great start to the 2021 season, Jones is only aiming higher for the rest of the way. 

"What's significant about this game, is that you can never have a perfect game. It's never perfect football, there's always something you can clean," said Jones.

"There's a few plays out there that I could have been better with my hands. In the run game, my hand placement, a few of my stunts. They were a little sloppy, they could have been cleaner. So as much as you guys see on TV, the commentators saying whatever and you see the stats, there's a lot of corrections that we need to make and that I need to make as a team. So hopefully we can cross those t's and dot those i's for the Minnesota Vikings."

Jones needs to average just over one sack per game moving forward to break New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan's single-season record of 22.5 sacks. However, Jones says he's not even thinking about individual records. 

He said, "I'm not going to go that direction. I remember last season, I was talking about my season and stats. My goal is to do better than the previous year. So whatever that is, hopefully I can do better than I did last year (with) just being consistent."

Unstated was that he had only one sack in the five games he played last season, so he's already well ahead of that pace.

It's clear that Jones won't settle for a one-week performance, as the All-Pro pass rusher simply wants to get better with each game under his belt in 2021. 

That's bad news for any Vikings player on the offensive side of the ball.