Chandler Jones is only a few weeks into his second season with the Patriots, but if his offseason was any indication then big things are on the way.
Jones, who played at 260 pounds as a rookie, revealed that he added 10 pounds during the offseason, mostly in muscle. He says the weight is only going to help him get more physical on the outside, and he doesn’t expect it to slow him down at all.
“I had a great offseason. I put on a lot of weight, a lot of muscle actually,” Jones said during an interview with Patriots Football Weekly. “My biggest thing wasn’t just putting on weight. Some guys will put on weight and they’ll run slower. I feel like I really haven’t missed a step with the 10 pounds added. The weight was good. It’s muscle mass.”
The extra weight, as well as some boxing training, should help him get better leverage in the trenches and get after the quarterback more consistently. Adding strength isn’t the only factor in Jones’ offseason program, though. He’s spent much more time focusing on the mental aspects of the game and becoming better acquainted with the playbook.
“Being more familiar with the calls. For a call to be called and me to know it like the back of my hand,” Jones said. “So, if I was to hear a call, boom I’d be right there — be ready. Not just on the field, but off the field. Just having the film study and things of that nature.”
He says all of that work should help him make an even bigger impact on the field this season. In fact, he’s not ruling out a J.J. Watt-type jump in production.
“I feel like a lot of that production comes from guys being more familiar with the game,” Jones said. “You go into your rookie year, and your rookie year you get those pregame jitters. Now, I’m going into sophomore, you’re more fluid and more comfortable even communicating with guys next to you. Less thinking and more just green light — going. So, I’m excited to attack this Year 2.”
When asked if the Watt comparison meant fans could expect 19 sacks from him in 2013, Jones replied with a laugh, “Every Pats fan should accept that.”
While 19 sacks might be a bit of a lofty goal, Jones’ confidence and demeanor entering this season are at least enough to give fans pause.