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As the Arizona Cardinals prepare to visit the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6, they’ll have to do so without one of their biggest defensive guns in tow. Chandler Jones, who is roundly regarded as one of the best pass rushers in the entire NFL, suffered an injury head coach Kliff Kingsbury was hoping wouldn’t cost him significant time. That hope is now gone, as Jones will undergo biceps surgery that will end his 2020 season, Kingsbury announced on Wednesday. The two-time All-Pro defensive end will now begin his journey to return to the field in 2021.

For the Cardinals, it leaves a massive void at the edge, and not to say they don’t have talent who can step up in spell duty, but replacing a talent like Jones is a tough go. A former first-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2012, Jones went on to win a Super Bowl ring before landing in Arizona by way of trade in 2016, going on to sign a five-year, $82.5 million deal the next season. 

He’s been an absolute terror for the Cardinals ever since — amassing 60 sacks, 90 quarterback hits and 170 combined tackles (67 for a loss) — leading into 2020. There hasn’t been a season in Arizona wherein he hasn’t logged a double digit sack tally, and he threatened the all-time NFL single season sack record owned by Michael Strahan in 2019, when he racked up a career-best 19 sacks. That was only one season removed from having delivered 17, and this is the type of player the Cardinals will have to figure out how to replace going forward.

His absence will put more pressure on players like Devon Kennard and Haason Reddick, along with Kylie Fitts and potentially sending the hyper-talented Isaiah Simmons to aid in blitz packages at times. There’s an added issue here, however, as Kennard continues to battle a calf injury that leaves his availability in question for now, adding to the list of items Kingsbury must adapt to going forward. 

Needless to say, pass rushers of Jones’ caliber don’t grow on trees. 

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