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Chandler Jones Earns NFC Monthly Award

Linebacker who set franchise record for sacks named top defender in December


Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones sacked Seattle QB Russell Wilson twice in the season finale to set a team record with 17 in a season.

Chandler Jones deserves to be in the conversation for the NFL's defensive Player of the Year.

The linebacker was definitely talked about for the NFC's defensive Player of the Month.

Jones earned that honor Thursday, after a five-game finishing stretch that got the veteran the Cardinals' franchise record for sacks in a season, with 17. In five games of December, Jones had five sacks, 16 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hits a forced fumble and a pass defended. The Cardinals won three of the five games.

His final game, during a 26-24 win in Seattle, was his best. Jones had two sacks, allowing him to

surpass Simeon Rice's season total of 16½ sacks for the team record. Jones also had a team-best six tackles in the victory.

Jones' 17 sacks led the NFL in 2017, as did his 28 tackles for loss.

Leading the NFL in sacks, Jones said after the Seattle game, "has always been a goal."

For the season, Jones had 68 tackles along with two forced fumbles and two passes defensed. He also had 15 quarterback pressures and 38 quarterback hits.

Jones is the third Cardinal to be named defensive Player of the Month. Safety Tyrann Mathieu won the award in November of 2015, and safety Kwamie Lassiter won it in November of 2001.

Jones said late in the season his goals coming into a year were only to improve on the year before. That will make his 2018 goals pretty lofty.

"I know next year around training camp, you guys are going to be asking me, 'What's your goal?' " Jones said recently. "And I'll say,  'Better than last year … uhhhhh.' "

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