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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Jess Root

Cardinals need committee of sacks to replace Chandler Jones’ production

One of the major questions facing the Arizona Cardinals this season is how they will replace Chandler Jones, who signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency. Jones had 10.5 sacks last season and is the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks.

They did not add another proven pass rusher to replace him.

They have Markus Golden and his team-leading 11 sacks last season but then a committee of players to play opposite him.

They have veteran Devon Kennard, who has not produced the way anyone hoped he would in his first two seasons with the team. He is now slated to start as the base outside linebacker. He had three sacks in 2020 but none last season.

Next is Dennis Gardeck, who had seven sacks in 93 snaps in 2020 but none last year in his return from a torn ACL.

They drafted Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders in the third round this year. Thomas was one of the nation’s most productive pass rushers and Sanders, while he lacked sacks, created a lot of pressure.

While it would be unfair to expect any individual player to replace Jones in terms of impact on the defense, the Cardinals are counting on the whole of that group to be able to replace his production.

Jones had 10.5 sacks last season but only 5.5 after Week 1.

If the four players combine for 14 sacks in 2022 with Golden producing double digits, the Cardinals will be in great shape.

That 14 could be Thomas getting five with Kennard, Gardeck and Sanders each getting three.

Plus, if the defensive interior of J.J. Watt and Zach Allen each increase their sack production in 2022, the Cardinals’ pass rush will be just fine.

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

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