Though there are stark differences between Raiders outside linebacker Chandler Jones and his former UFC champion brother Jon, one word is often used to describe the style that has taken them to the top of their respective sports.
Jon Jones throws strikes from unique angles that opponents have yet to figure out how to counter in the mixed martial arts cage. Offensive linemen have had similar difficulty trying to solve the pass rush of Chandler Jones, and it has led to him being one of the most consistent sack masters in the league.
“It’s two different sports, but I think we both understand that it’s very hard to prepare for something that’s uncommon,” Chandler Jones said after training camp practice on Friday. “You always have a guy go out there to try to give you a look and emulate the guy you’re going against. But if that guy can’t give you that look, then how do you prepare for it? I think we both understand that, and I think it’s a huge advantage for sure.”
It’s a style he has crafted over the years and it has paid off on the stat sheet. All seven seasons that Jones has played in at least 15 games, he has recorded double-digits in sacks.
“My unorthodox style I think comes from just a lot of self-scouting,” he said. “Just learning how my body moves and what I can and cannot do. And I try to utilize that because I know it’s very uncommon and unique. Guys can’t game plan for it.”
He has also become a ball hawk as his career progressed. Chandler Jones has forced 27 fumbles in his last six full seasons, the result of a conscious decision to focus on attacking the ball.
“I know how rare it is to get a turnover and how important it is for a team,” he said. “If you look at the statistics, the teams that win the turnover margin usually win the game. When I was a younger player, I would get to the quarterback and just try to take him down. The older I got, I realized the importance and said, ‘Hey, maybe try to get the ball out and take him down.’ I’ve had a lot of success with that and hopefully it can continue here.”
Many mouths to feed
One of the issues Mick Lombardi has to deal with in his first year as an NFL offensive coordinator is how to make sure all of the star players the Raiders have assembled get enough opportunities.
It’s a great problem to have and one Lombardi isn’t too concerned about at this point.
“At the end of the day, we talk about mental toughness and doing the best thing for the team, even if it’s not perfect for you,” he said. “Each player in here wants to do one thing and that’s win. They’re not concerned about targets or touches, they want to win a game and a championship.”
UNLV coach Marcus Arroyo attended practice on Friday wearing a white Raiders shirt and a black Rebels hat.
Arroyo’s longest conversation appeared to be with general manager Dave Ziegler, but he also chatted with other staffers and coach Josh McDaniels.
Derek Carr even had the opportunity to say hello to his old friend, admitting he cheers for UNLV except when they play against Fresno State.
“I love Marcus,” Carr said. “I’ve known him for a long time.”
Their relationship dates back to when Arroyo was the quarterbacks coach under offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford with the Buccaneers in 2014 and Carr went there on his draft visit.