CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens knows what a standout pass rusher in the National Football League looks like, and he considers Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones to be on the short list of those who can wreck a game for opposing offenses.
Jones enters Sunday’s game against the Browns at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona second in the league in sacks and is on pace to break his own team record for the most sacks in a single season.
“Defensively, they fly around and they get to the ball,” Kitchens said earlier this week. “Chandler causes disruption on the football. He’s got six caused fumbles. He’s disruptive in the run and the pass games, so our tackles have to do a good job of handling him.”
Jones has registered 14.0 sacks in 13 games, and if he finishes with the most at the end of the 2019 season, he’ll be only the eighth player in NFL history to lead the league in sacks for a single season more than once.
Since joining the Cardinals prior to the 2016 season, Jones has the most sacks in the NFL, 55.0, which is 4.5 more than Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who has won back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards. Also, Jones has registered an NFL-best 40 games with at least one sack over the last four seasons.
Currently, Jones leads the NFL with six forced fumbles and six strip-sacks this season.
“He has been phenomenal, a real pass rush terror for other teams,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said in a conference call with the Cleveland media. “His work ethic, he was at every OTA, every minicamp and every activity we had offseason.
“The way he approaches practice, the kind of vibe and juice he brings to the locker room, he has been tremendous. I am excited to see that he is finally getting the kind of the due that he has deserved around the league.”
Jones is tied for third in the NFL for the most consecutive seasons with at least 13.0 sacks, three from 2017-2019, and despite only four years in Arizona, is nearing the top of the franchise’s all-time list for the most career sacks.
In just 61 games with the Cardinals, Jones has registered 55.0 sacks, which are 11.5 off the pace set by Freddie Joe Nunn (1985-93) in 131 games.
“He’s a big guy, tremendous length,” Kitchens said. “He attacks the football when he’s around the football, so his hands and his length help him to get to points where the football is that a lot of people can’t do from a physical standpoint.
“Then, his motor is tremendous. He plays. For him to do what he does is pretty remarkable. He really doesn’t come off the field, and that’s a great testament to him as a player. He can bend, dip and get low, and then, he’s got the strength and length to bull-rush you. He’s a very good, refined pass rusher.”