Terrell Suggs isn’t the only pass rusher the Cardinals have.
I know, I know. Everyone knows that. It has felt like it this week, though, with T-Sizzle and his return to Baltimore dominating the storylines, with a close second Kyler Murray, his off-then-awesome debut, then dealing with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
But Chandler Jones figures into the latter, of course. How does he (and Suggs) rush the passer without getting torched by Jackson’s legs? An excellent question. Overall, you figure Jones will find a way. He does often, even if it seems like fewer than should pay attention.
Jones will play his 50th game as a Cardinal Sunday against the Ravens. In his first 49 games, he has 42 sacks. Next on the list for most sacks in his first 50 games as a Cardinal is Bertrand Berry at 33. Jones has been everything the Cardinals had hoped when they traded for him from the Patriots. The team’s middling-to-poor success since he arrived probably has hurt his visibility, but again, the idea he wasn’t voted as one of the NFL’s top 100 players by his peers was stunning (and stupid.)
Jones, though, is excited to see how his guy Suggs handles this weekend. As far as himself, he’s not sweating the attention. The way he sees it, that’s a good thing.
“I feel like (my performance) is something expected of me,” Jones said. “This organization, when (GM) Steve Keim signed me for a five-year deal (in 2017), he knew what I was capable of doing. He didn’t sign me to get the accolades, he signed me to get the stats.
“As far as being overlooked or not being talked about, this is what is expected of me. If I were to be out there and not doing what I’m doing, then I’m being talked about, that Chandler Jones is just taking money and not getting sacks.”
-- Suggs smiled when he talked about breaking down video of the Ravens this week, after playing there for so long. Inevitably, part of the video work included cuts from last season – when Suggs was still on the team.
“It was really crazy looking at Ravens film,” Suggs said. “I was part of all those games that we watched. I knew all the craziness that was actually going on on the sideline. That was kind of weird. But it was fun too.”
-- We will wait to see if the Cardinals, Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray can keep some offensive flow going after their fourth quarter/overtime outburst. But even as terrible as the first three quarters were, the 82 offensive plays, 387 net yards, 308 passing yards and nine third-down conversions the Cards posted against the Lions were more than any game the broken offense was able to produce in 2018.
-- Pretty good quote from Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale this week on the Kliff/Kyler phenomenon: “History has a way of repeating itself in this league,” he said. “Last year, what was the whole conversation? RPOs. So now, it’s going to be Air Raid with Kyler Murray. Between him and Zion (Williamson), I don’t know who’s getting more PR right now.”
-- So many ties between these teams. I’m looking forward to seeing former Cardinal Tony Jefferson, who made clear on social media months ago he was excited for this game (it doesn’t hurt that he and Suggs played together.) Larry Fitzgerald noted going against Jefferson, and also brought up former Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who is now a Raven.
“I don’t know if anybody in the league was as happy when Earl Thomas left Seattle last year,” Fitzgerald said. “Then when the schedule came out, I was really bummed to see I had to play against him again.”
-- Speaking of Fitz, we’ll see if he can keep up the 8-113-1 pace he set in the opener, but the chemistry between he and Murray has been pretty clear since the beginning of training camp. “I think every young quarterback needs a security blanket, him being that guy for me,” Murray acknowledged.
-- As a quick aside, I happen to be thumbing through the latest and final print issue of ESPN The Magazine and it was going through many covers over the years, including Fitz’s appearance prior to the 2004 draft. It included a quote from Fitzgerald’s University of Pittsburgh teammate Reggie Carter that seems … prescient as Fitz slowly tries to catch up to the records of Jerry Rice, although it doesn’t sound like Fitz.
“I told him, ‘You’ve got hands like Jerry Rice,’ ” Carter said. “Larry said, ‘What? I got better hands than Jerry Rice.’ ”
-- Was interesting to hear DC Vance Joseph note that rookie cornerback Byron Murphy might've played a little more soft in his man coverage against the Lions than Joseph would've liked. Joseph's message? You can get burned for a touchdown every play when you are a cornerback. You can't let that scare you into losing your aggression. To be fair, Murphy was in his first game. He'll get there.
-- Second-year tight end Mark Andrews of the Ravens, a Scottsdale Desert Mountain High product, is primed for a big year. After the way tight end T.J. Hockensen hurt the Cardinals last week, he’ll be a player to watch.
-- Steve Keim said he was pleased with the offensive line play for the most part in Week 1. Consistency means something, however. Also will be interested to see how Justin Murray can hold up at right tackle, and whether we will be talking about a Jordan Mills possibility or if Murray will be able to more or less lock down the spot.
-- Kingsbury was talking about coaching Suggs and Fitzgerald this week. Don’t forget Kingsbury and Suggs were actually in the 2003 draft together, with Fitzgerald going pro a year later. “It makes me feel like a slouch honestly everyday going out there and watching them do what they do,” Kingsbury said. “It just inspires me. If they can go out there and put their bodies through that and do that then I can wake up early and study some film.”
-- One more Suggs quote. He's a movie buff, and he watched "Bridge of Spies" Thursday night. He made an analogy with his return to Baltimore. "(There was a line) 'How will I know you're all right?' " Suggs recounted. " 'If I'm embraced as a brother or if I'm just shown the back seat.' We're all clear, for three hours come Sunday, I am their opponent. They are my opponent. ... After the game, we'll see if I'm shown the back seat, or if I'm embraced as a brother."
See you Sunday.