The Cardinals already had one of the league's best defenses when they traded for Patriots pass rusher Chandler Jones this offseason. At the time, Cards coach Bruce Arians said he was "shocked" the Pats were even shopping Jones, who had 12.5 sacks in 2015. In three months, Arizona will host New England in the season opener, a nationally televised Sunday night game, and Jones can't wait to face his former team.
"When I first found out they were going to be on our schedule, I said that I was going to circle that game in red marker," Jones said last week during an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio, via ESPN.com. "It's Week 1, so that's even better. The NFL already contacted me and told me I'd probably be miked up for that game. So that will be a fun game to listen to."
It's unclear whether Jones will spend the evening making life miserable for Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo, though a lot has to happen for Brady to avoid his four-game suspension for his role in the Deflategate silliness. Which means that Garoppolo, a 2014 second-round pick, could make his first NFL start on the road on national television.
"It doesn't matter [who the quarterback is]," Jones explained. "Whoever is back there, I'm getting after him, for sure."
Unlike Arians, Jones said he wasn't surprised he was shipped out of town. In January, there were reports of synthetic marijuana use that ended up with Jones in the hospital after first showing up at the police station.
"There were a lot of rumors out," Jones said of his final days in New England. "I try to stay away from the media, but I had heard rumors, [so] it wasn't as shocking when I found out I was traded."
But Jones, who played at Syracuse and has 36 career sacks since the Patriots selected him in the first round of the 2012 draft, is happy to be in the Valley of the Sun.
"It's going great," he said of his transition to Arizona. "I'm enjoying the heat. The biggest challenge is I'm playing outside linebacker now, a true outside backer, so I'm trying to get down the whole drops [into coverage] and everything. ... I'm excited for the challenges and new role. I'm ready to get this show on the road."
That show officially starts on Sept. 11 at 8:30 pm ET.