Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires

first_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires TEMPE, Ariz. – Ask Chandler Jones about his season, in particular his recent run of success, and the sixth-year linebacker quickly downplays his performance.For him, there’s always room for improvement.His coaches and teammates, however, rave about his play.“He’s playing at a, not a Pro Bowl level, not just an all-pro level, he’s playing at a Defensive Player of the Year level,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) celebrates a defensive stop against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) 4 Comments   Share   “Bloody is a great word,” Jones said, when told of Bettcher’s comments. “Physical means bloody. I feel like if you put the fear, or you let the opposing player across from you know that they’re aware of your strength and your power, I feel like they’ll think about it the whole game and I feel like I utilize it a lot, especially in the fourth quarter.”Aside from talent, Jones’ success this season can largely be attributed to two things: 1) comfort and 2) weight loss.Jones is in his second year with the Cardinals, so not only has he become more familiar with his teammates but them with him. Coaches, too, as they recognize where to put him in the best positions to make plays.Jones is also lighter. His current playing weight is 255 pounds, a good 10-20 pounds lighter than a year ago; something he credits to offseason training with his brother, Jon Jones, an accomplished MMA fighter. Jones believes the weight loss has helped increase his stamina, allowing him to maintain a high level of play even into the fourth quarter.The proof is in the numbers.Not only does Jones lead the league in sacks but his 20 tackles for loss and 25 quarterback hits are also tops in the NFL. “If there was a stat for disruption, he’d be leading the league in that stat, too. There’s no question,” Bettcher said. “A disruptive play on any down and distance, whether it’s affecting the quarterback, affecting the run game. You go talk to offensive coaches, they got to gameplan for him. They have to. He’s playing at a really high level right now.”Disruptive is a good description for how Jones played against the Jaguars, especially against the run. Three of his tackles for loss were wrapping up Fournette behind the line of scrimmage, while his five total TFLs were more than any player has had in a game in the last two seasons.Jones, though, wants to hear none of that. His focus is on the Los Angeles Rams.“I always feel like I can play better, and I know you guys are saying I’m being humble but this isn’t my best football,” he said. “I have to play perfect football in order for this team to win so hopefully we can get that done on Sunday.” “Chandler is playing out of this world right now. We riding his wave right now,” linebacker Karlos Dansby said. “He making it look real easy, I’ll tell you that much.”So, too, can the Jacksonville Jaguars.Last Sunday, Jones spent nearly as much time in the Jaguars’ backfield as quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Leonard Fournette. Jones finished the game with six tackles, two sacks, a career-high five tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and a pass defensed.It was Jones’ third two-sack game of the season, giving him 12 on the season, one more than 2016 and leaving him a half-sack shy of matching his career-high.Again, though, ask Jones about his sack total, which is tops in the NFL, tied with Minnesota’s Everson Griffen, and he’ll bring up the ones he’s missed. Jones reasons he missed two sacks last week and should’ve had two more—he had one—at Detroit, back in Week 1.“Even talking about it hurts me so I don’t want to talk about missing sacks. How about we end that convo,” he said, smiling, Thursday.Bettcher, who likes to move Jones up-and-down the defensive line and even drop him into coverage, said Jones brings a “bloody element to the game” of football. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories last_img

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