Chandler Jones is poised for a breakout year in 2013, and the New England Patriots pass rush would greatly benefit from Jones making the leap from “good” to “great”. Jones has all the tools to be a star in this league, and the Patriots will need him to be a consistent, top pass rushing force. Rob Ninkovich can get sacks, but he’s not a consistent source of pressure. The backup DEs have some promise, but they definitely are not consistent. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly looks like a huge addition to the front four and should push the pocket, but having an elite pass rusher could help quell a lot of concerns regarding the Patriots pass defense.
As a rookie, star tight end Rob Gronkowski gave Chandler Jones quite a bit of confidence, and Jones shared this nice story with reporters yesterday, via WEEI, “I want to get you every day in practice. You’re good, you’re good. I was like, ‘Wow, Rob Gronkowski telling me this.’ So, it kind of a gave me a little confidence boost. It helped. It helped a lot. I told him that the other day.
“Gronk did help me, saying that to me gave me some confidence going out on the field. It gave me a little extra boost, it did.”
Remembering how much the kind words and boost in confidence helped him, Chandler Jones said that he has taken it upon himself to try and help increase the confidence of the many young players on this roster. One of the players mentioned is defensive end Michael Buchanan, who played his best game when it mattered most in Week 4 against the New York Giants. Buchanan went off to the tune of 2.5 sacks and a pass deflected, and he was simply a monster. That performance locked up a roster spot for the Illinois product, and maybe that performance and Chandler Jones will allow him to start the season strong. But in order to be a consistent and effective pass rusher at this level, it takes physical development and an improved football IQ; something that comes with intelligence.