The New England Patriots have been doing something interesting with second-year defensive end Chandler Jones, as they are using Jones as a defensive tackle in certain situations. That’s how he took advantage of an easier matchup against Buffalo Bills left guard Colin Brown, because all of his pressure in that game came from rushing the passer as a DT instead of a DE (Cordy Glenn held off all of Jones’s advances from right end). It’s going to be interesting to see how much the Patriots use Jones in this role, and he’s strong enough to be successful in that role. The Patriots have always wanted to add a faster player to rush the passer as a sub-package DT, but they unwisely used edge rushers (like Jermaine Cunningham and Marcus Benard in the preseason) who just weren’t strong enough to rush the passer on the inside. Jones looks like a much better alternative to that, and this is something to watch for in Week 3 and beyond.
Bill Belichick was asked about how Chandler Jones is used as a DT, specifically in the game against the New York Jets, and answered, “He had some production in there. We’ve done that. He’s done that in training camp and in both games. He’s a versatile player. We’ve seen him stand up, get down, play on a tight end, play on a tackle, play on a guard. He’s a versatile player that is long, he’s got good quickness and he uses his hands well. ”
It seems like this role is here to stay, as Bill Belichick and the Patriots value versatility and want to create mis-matches by using Jones as a DT to rush the passer when this is a helpful scenario.
Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is one of the best RTs in the NFL, and the only thing that holds him back at times is his health. Vollmer was an absolute monster against the Jets, and that’s no easy feat given the matchups he was facing in that game (the Jets defensive line is nasty). Vollmer isn’t as appreciated as he should be, and he was the true priority player for the Patriots to re-sign this past offseason. The Pats locked up the star tackle, and it looks like he’ll have another great season in the prime of his career.
Belichick dished some praise to Vollmer today as well, “ Sebastian had a good training camp; he’s been out there every day. He’s worked hard; he’s in good physical condition. He’s certainly ahead of where he was last year. He’s had a good career. He started as a rookie and he’s been a solid player for us since he came to us. He’s a smart guy that works hard. He’s a good technique player. He plays against a lot of good people out there at defensive end and outside linebacker and he’ll see them again this week. He’s always met those challenges with his toughness, his preparation. He’s a good player.”
Just watch Sebastian Vollmer play, and you’ll see why he’s a favorite of Patriots fans, and I’m willing to bet that the Patriots organization absolutely loves him too.