What made the Arizona Cardinals one of the best pass rushes in the NFL in 2016? The acquisition of Chandler Jones.
Markus Golden finished with 12.5 sacks on the season, leading the Arizona Cardinals, Calais Campbell finished with eight sacks, his most since 2013 when he had a career high nine sacks.
Not much changed for the Arizona Cardinals this season, outside of the pick up of Chandler Jones.
Jones, in his first season with the Arizona Cardinals, recorded 11 sacks on the season, the third season in his five year career, where he recorded double digit sacks on the season.
Yet, during Arizona’s worst four game stretch of the season defensively, Jones had no sacks.
From the Atlanta game through the New Orleans game, the pass rusher was held in check.
In those four games, Markus Golden had two sacks, Calais Campbell had three sacks, and yet the Cardinals defense was mostly gashed.
When Jones was neutralized, it seemed to have a ripple effect on the rest of the defense.
Can Jones overcome that season lull he seems to have every year as the calendar turns to November?
If he can overcome that, and put a full 16 games together, maybe the Arizona Cardinals defense can put a full season of dominance together, and take some of the pressure off of the offense.
Of course, first comes the big contract.