As the NFL works its way toward attempting to begin the regular season on time, players are now in training camps around the league eyeing all manner of team and personal goals. Those who did not opt out due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will be met with a number of challenges in achieving said goals, but that hasn’t stopped at least one player from aiming for the NFL record books this coming season. Chandler Jones, a three-time Pro Bowler who routinely deals out terror on the defensive edge for the Arizona Cardinals, wants to push Hall of Fame pass rusher Michael Strahan to the side — taking the single-season sack record for himself in 2020.

And for what it’s worth, he doesn’t particularly view it as some sort of insurmountable challenge.

“I don’t think that’s hard to get,” Jones told media, via ESPN. “And I feel like if there was a year to do it, this could be the year to do it, honestly, for me. That’s a personal goal of mine. But we have more help on our team. We have a better team.”

Of course, many have said this before, but the record still stands — approaching its 20th year in existence. Strahan racked up 22.5 sacks in 2001 for the New York Giants, putting a staple in his Canton bid in the process. Jones certainly has the ability to take hold of the throne though, having fallen only 3.5 sacks shy of tying the record in 2019 after posting a career-best 19 sacks in his fourth year with the Cardinals. There’s obviously competition in the race for single-season sack greatness though, one such example being Shaquil Barrett — who bested Jones by half a sack last season to lead the league in that category.

Some would also point at the fact a player like Barrett is three years younger, but Jones shrugs off any argument regarding his age. In an offseason that’s seen COVID-19 lead to the cancellation of minicamp and other official offseason programs leading up to training camp, Jones feels refreshed and is raring to go.

“I feel like I’m getting closer and closer,” the 30-year-old said. “And I don’t feel older, and I had a pretty decent year last year. I feel even better actually. With some of this time off my body got some time to rest. So why not? Why not? Why can’t I break the record? 

“So, we’ll see, for sure.”

The help Jones mentioned should also not be overlooked, considering the Cardinals selected arguably the best athlete in the 2020 NFL Draft in linebacker Isaiah Simmons, adding him to an offseason haul that includes Devon Kennard and Jordan Phillips — the latter two entering the fold with 16 combined sacks from 2019. If others can help keep opposing teams from keying in on Jones whenever possible, he’ll be in position to again challenge for Strahan’s record, but even if defenses throw the sink at him; Jones feels he’s hit a level where he simply can’t be stopped.

“Where I am right now in my career, I’ve definitely felt like I’ve mastered the art of pass rush, for sure,” he said. “And half of the battle is just having confidence, knowing that no one could block you. You can say it out loud or you can it say to yourself.

“Each and every game, and each and every week, I feel like no one in the NFL could block me.”


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