Raiders DE Chandler Jones thrives with an ‘unorthodox’ pass-rushing style

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New Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones can get to the quarterback. With more than 100 QB sacks on his resume, there’s no doubt about that.

How he gets the job done, however, is a bit harder to pin down.

Jones’ pass-rush technique is “unorthodox,” according to Jaguars defensive line coach Brentson Buckner. Buckner, who is a former Raiders coach and coached Jones with the Cardinals, did his best to describe Jones’ unique style in an interview with Vic Tafur of The Athletic.

“It’s not a speed rush, but he can get the edge,” Buckner said. “It’s not a power rush, but he is strong enough to walk a guy back. It’s an unorthodox style of rushing, but he has mastered it.

“He knows how to set himself up so that when he moves, he knows what every step means to the offensive lineman in front of him. And these offensive linemen are all accustomed to pass rushers that move the same way with their hands and feet, but they can’t get in a rhythm facing Chandler.

“They don’t know what angle he is going to hit them from. … With a guy like Chandler, you don’t coach him, you just get a chance to work with him. It was really a pleasure.”

Jones’ unorthodox style sounds similar to various techniques boxers, wrestlers, and mixed martial artists use. Jones stays under control, gauges and confuses his opponent, and makes his move.

That makes perfect sense because as many are aware, Jones’ brother, Jon Jones, is a prolific mixed martial artist. Jones’ other brother, Arthur Jones III, was a two-time state champion wrestler in high school and won a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens.

As for the Raiders’ new prized pass rusher from the talented — and no doubt competitive — Jones family, his 7-foot-1 wingspan surely helps him keep offensive linemen off balance as well.

It’s added up to 107.5 career QB sacks, and the Raiders are betting Jones can add significantly to that total. Las Vegas enjoyed an elite pass rush duo last season, led by Maxx Crosby. But with a new defensive coordinator and scheme, DE Yannick Ngakoue was traded to make room for the free-agent signing of Jones, who is better suited for Las Vegas’ new 3-4 defense.

As an added benefit, Jones notched 14 forced fumbles over his last three campaigns, including eight last season, so he doesn’t always have to take the QB down, especially with that reach.

If Crosby and Jones terrorize the backfield this season, as Ngakoue and Crosby did in 2021, the Raiders’ defense will again have a chance to improve, as it did a year ago. With an older, wiser Crosby and a walking Hall of Famer like Jones teaming up, that’s likely a sure bet, even if it’s difficult to describe how Jones has become one of the best pass rushers of all time with a style all his own.