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Cards players predict 20-plus sacks for Chandler Jones

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The Cardinals addressed a major need this offseason when they worked out a trade with the Patriots for veteran pass rusher Chandler Jones.

After piling up 12.5 sacks last season and 36 over his four years in New England, Jones is seen by his new teammates as the type of talent who could be in for a huge season in the desert.

"There's no doubt about it," Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson told The Arizona Republic. "He has that potential to be a 20-plus sack guy. ... He's in a contract year, too, so I know he's going to be even that much hungrier."

Defensive back Tyrann Mathieu also believes Jones will benefit from facing a string of work-in-progress offensive lines inside the NFC West.

"In this division, yeah, he can get 20 sacks," Mathieu said. "In this division, they rely on their quarterbacks to make plays -- i.e. San Francisco and Seattle. I just figure it like this: If (Dwight) Freeney had eight sacks in a backup role, Chandler should probably get 20 in a starting role."

Jones was on pace for 19 sacks midway through last season before tailing off down the stretch, but he says he isn't zeroed in on stats alone.

"That would be cool if I get there," Jones said. "But my biggest thing is winning, honestly. Like I said, I just want to do better than I did last year. I want to be an elite defensive end, not just a pass rusher. I want to be able to stop the run and have a durable season and have consistency."

The Cardinals could use the pass-rushing help after finishing 20th in the league with just 36 sacks in 2015. Freeney's eight takedowns led the way, but the veteran isn't even on the roster any more, leading Mathieu to say of Jones: "He's got everything that we were missing."

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