Patriots Training Camp Preview: Defensive End

The Patriots defensive end group starts and almost ends with Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. The two combined to play the most snaps by two defensive ends in the NFL.

Behind them the depth is either coming off injury or largely unproven. In a league where your defense lives or dies by their pass rush, do the Pats have enough horses to control the edges for five-plus months?

Here’s our take on the defensive end group.

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With the Patriots bolstering their secondary with Darrelle Revis, a player like third-year defensive end Chandler Jones could be a primary beneficiary of better coverage. He had six sacks as a rookie and followed that up with 11.5 last season. Could he hit 15 this season? As long as he stays healthy, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Mike Reiss

I think the thing with Chandler is knowing when to turn it on. That’s what Belichick mentioned once with Lawrence Taylor - when the game was on the line and it was a gotta-have-it play, that’s when Taylor was at his best.

Chandler’s flashed a lot of athleticism and versatility in his first two years, but I think the final step is to make those big, gotta-have-it plays.

NFL Nation: 4 Downs — AFC East - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston

He logged 17.5 sacks in 30 games since entering the NFL in 2012, just three spots (1.5 sacks) outside the top 20 in that span. With 11.5 sacks in 2013, Jones finished ninth-best in the league.

Sweet #Patriots Propaganda poster featuring the one and only Chandler Jones (by @DeRoyDesigns)


Sweet #Patriots Propaganda poster featuring the one and only Chandler Jones (by @DeRoyDesigns)

Chandler Jones Instagram: Gronk at Gillette Today

I love these guys so much, can’t wait to see old 87 back on the field!!

After starters Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, there was a noticeable drop on the depth chart in 2013. Even if Jones (98.1 percent of defensive snaps played) and Ninkovich (95.6 percent) come close to duplicating their ironman performances in 2014, a strong case could be made for reinforcements to give them a breather at times.

Lotta good points in here from Doug Kyed. I think the key to Jones emerging is getting another legit defensive end (or two). Take the attention off Jones. Don’t make him play every snap. It’s a “one step back to take two steps forward” kind of a deal.

Then you can move Jones around, pick your spots with him and then on that key third-and-long he comes flying off the edge to force a hurried throw. That’s what you want.

Chandler Jones teaches Rob Ninkovich how to dance [x]

How come we don’t see more of these moves out of Nink after big plays?