I hope it happens.

Chandler Jones had a fantastic start to his rookie season. Both in preseason and the regular season, he was harassing opposing quarterbacks. Then, he hit his rookie wall. Or, at least his ankle did.

After suffering an ankle injury in a november game against the Colts, Jones was never the same. He's hoping that changes this upcoming season.

Andy Hart, Patriots.com
“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.

[J.J.] Watt had 5.5 sacks as a rookie before jumping to 20.5 last fall. [Jason] 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.

As Hart notes, Belichick does often say that players make a big jump in their sophomore season. Watt and Pierre-Paul are two great recent examples. The key of course is staying healthy. If Jones has done that last year, he would've been on pace for a double digit sack season and perhaps the defensive rookie of the year award.

The Patriots pass rush is really the key to the Super Bowl in my opinion. You can't get there without someone to make the opposing signal caller uncomfortable. You've seen that recently with teams like the Packers, Giants and Ravens taking home the Lombardi. All had at least one dominant pass rushers. The Patriots always have a chance to get to the Super Bowl, but if Jones can take his game to that 19 sack level they've got an even better shot of winning it.

Michael Saver 5/24/2013 01:21:00 PM Edit

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