Bill Belichick** has often said over the years that the greatest improvement that a player often makes is between his first and second NFL season.
The proof of that theory abounds. Just recently we've seen first-round pass rushers like Jason Pierre-Paul and J.J. Watt go from solid rookie seasons to Defensive Player of the Year candidates a year later.
That's a jump that everyone in New England – including the man himself -- is hoping to see this fall from Chandler Jones.
The much ballyhooed Year 2 Jump isn't just a topic for fans and media, it's a topic that Jones was more than willing to address when he stopped by the Gillette Stadium studio for an interview with PFW in Progress radio on Thursday.
"I've definitely thought about it," Jones said candidly. "I feel like you can go two different ways in your career with year two. I feel like this is the year that establishes you as a player on the field and off the field. Usually when a guy is going into his sophomore year if they have a bad season that's going to reflect the rest of his career. Then again, if he has a better season then that's kind of ramping up. That's what I'm shooting at right now. Actually I had a great offseason. I've put on a lot of weight, lot of muscle actually. I just weighed in at 270."
Jones weight 260 as a rookie a year ago when he recorded six sacks, despite battling an ankle injury.
Watt had 5.5 sacks as a rookie before jumping to 20.5 last fall. Pierre-Paul had 4.5 sacks as a rookie before exploding for 16.5 a year later.
So we'll just go ahead and pencil Jones in for say 19 or 20 sacks this fall?
"Every Pats fan should accept that," Jones said with a big laugh without a hint of the pressure that comes with such high expectations.
Because the Year 2 Jump, as Jones acknowledged, is no joke.
To hear the complete interview with Jones on PFW in Progress, click here!
Do you think that Jones is capable of a Watt-like Year 2 Jump? Does he need to have that type of improvement for the defense as a whole to make a huge leap? Let us know with a comment below!