Jeff Howe has tweeted that New England Patriots rookie defensive end Chandler Jones said he is, “Ready to play against the Texans” on Monday Night Football. Reports earlier this week stated that both he and star left guard Logan Mankins will play against the Texans after participating in the walkthrough on Wednesday. In fact, the only player who has not practiced for the Patriots on Friday and Saturday is Rob Gronkowski (broken left forearm, probably out for the regular season).
Jones has been missed ever since being injured very early on a couple of weeks ago against the Indianapolis Colts. Trevor Scott has filled in well as a pass rusher, but the loss of Jermaine Cunningham due to a suspension for violating the league’s PED policy really cut into the pass rushing depth. Jones is clearly the team’s best pass rusher, but his impact goes beyond that.
In the Patriots defense, the defensive ends are expected to contain the run and defend the run at a high level. Even as a rookie, the Syracuse product has already emerged as one of the top 4-3 DEs against the run in the league. He will need to be at his best against Arian Foster and the other Texans running backs.
Beyond that, Chandler Jones is going up against one of the elite tackles in the league in LT Duane Brown. This guy is a monster as a run blocker and almost never gives up pressure as a pass rusher. Jones has had lapses in pass protection, and there have been some games where elite tackles have completely blanked him out. I expect Scott to help out as a pass rusher frequently to supplement Jones, whose main impact will be in run defense on Monday.
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