FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Chandler Jones never seems satisfied.
The New England Patriots’ rookie defensive end made an immediate impact in his first professional game four weeks ago, recording five tackles and a strip-sack that was recovered for a touchdown. Not enough.
The 21st overall pick out of Syracuse jarred another ball loose the following week and has a sack in three of his first four NFL games. Not content.
Jones on Thursday was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September.
And guess what? There’s still room for improvement.
“I feel personally that it’s not good enough,” he said as the Patriots (2-2) continued preparations for the Denver Broncos (2-2). “Even though they say I’m the rookie of the month for September, we still have a .500 record. That’s just not good enough.”
Jones has provided a much-needed menacing presence along the New England defensive line, something that’s been lacking. Along with his three sacks, which leads all rookies, he’s collected 17 tackles in helping stabilize New England’s run defense. The Pats are tied for seventh at 85.2 yards per game after ranking 17th last season, allowing more than 117 a game.
Perhaps even more impressive is the rate at which he’s been on the field, lining up for more than 90 percent of the snaps.
“I have a lot of work to do,” Jones said. “For me personally, I feel like I have a long way to go. I’m still a rookie, it’s a long season ahead of me and we’ve got a lot more games to play. Each week I’m trying to get better. You take it one day at a time and you let those days stack.”
Sunday’s test likely will be more challenging than anything he’s faced.
After chasing down the likes of Jake Locker, Kevin Kolb, Joe Flacco and Ryan Fitzpatrick — not a star-studded cast — Jones now is tasked with wreaking havoc on Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, a certain Hall of Famer who entered the league when Jones was 10.
“I don’t try to play the name game, who I’m going against. It’s a quarterback and it’s my job to get after him,” Jones said.
BRONCOS: Denver will be without linebacker D.J. Williams until mid-November after the NFL added three games to his suspension.
RAMS: Running Steven Jackson can void the final year of his contract after this season in a compromise after talks fell through on a long-term extension.
• Coach Jeff Fisher had little to say about the condition of Danny Amendola, calling it a “competitive issue” after the receiver was injured during Thursday night’s victory against Arizona.
HAWAII’S STATE tourism agency and the NFL are creating a committee to boost attendance at the Pro Bowl and for events leading up to the game.
TITANS: Linebacker Colin McCarthy and receiver Kenny Britt are questionable for Sunday’s game against Minnesota. McCarthy at least has practiced; Britt hasn’t seen any action in two weeks due to his sprained left ankle.
PACKERS: Coach Mike McCarthy said he called the replacement referee who made the call on a final play that cost the team a game against Seattle to offer his support.
SEAHAWKS: Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane returned to full practice and is expected to play Sunday at Carolina.
JETS: Tight end Dustin Keller and rookie receiver Stephen Hill didn’t practice for the second straight day, leaving their availability to play undefeated Houston on Monday night uncertain.
REDSKINS: Nickel cornerback Cedric Griffin will sit out Sunday’s game against Atlanta.