While the New England Patriots defense is still working on establishing itself as one of the best in the NFL, one area where the team is already leading the league is in turnover differential. As the team heads into its Week 4 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Patriots defense have forced eight total turnovers, which ties them for first in forced turnovers and turnover differential.
On Wednesday, defensive end Chandler Jones talked about the team’s ability to force turnovers and said its something the defense takes pride in.The third-year player gave credit to the coaches for the defense’s ability to be in the right position to take the ball away from their opponents. He told reporters:
That’s a credit to the defense working together. Also a credit to the coaches and their game plans and their play calling. [Defensive coordinator] Matt Patricia and Coach Belichick do a good job of knowing when to call blitzes or drop us into coverage, things of that nature, to confuse the offense a little bit, to help us create turnovers or big plays.”
The Patriots defense have forced two fumbles and six interceptions through the first three games. Much of that has had to do with the pressure created by Jones. The Syracuse product has been a force coming off the edge. He has two sacks and a number of hurries. His stellar play has drawn praise from his teammates.
He’s definitely doing it all, even his rookie year – getting after the ball and playing the run,” Dont’a Hightower said. “I definitely feel like going into our third year that Chandler stepped up a lot as far as being a leader.”
That leadership, along with his natural talent and wingspan, even has Tom Brady praising Jones and talking about the possibility of him playing on the offensive side of the ball. Its something that can’t be ruled out, as the team has played defensive players on offense before. When asked about the Jones potentially playing some offense, Brady told reporters:
Usually they put the guys on defense because they can’t catch the ball. They weren’t good enough to play offense. They didn’t have enough ball skills to catch it. But you’re right. He’s got phenomenal length, and he’s so quick and gangly. He always seems to be making plays. We could probably use that on offense – those long arms to catch the ball and stuff like that.”
In the meantime, Jones and the defense are hoping to force some more turnovers against Alex Smith and the Chiefs. Smith has thrown three interceptions so far this season and although he has been known as a quarterback who doesn’t turn the ball over much, the Patriots are hoping to force him into making some mistakes.