HENDERSON, Nev. — Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said Friday he does not “expect” defensive end Chandler Jones to play in Sunday’s season opener at the Denver Broncos, which is no surprise given Jones’ continued absence from the team and his since-deleted social media posts criticizing the team this week.
Jones, who posted on Instagram that he no longer wanted to play for Las Vegas before saying he would stop posting to social media if the team would let him play at Denver and also said the team sent a crisis response team to his house, has been listed as a nonparticipant on the Raiders’ injury report this week due to “not injury-related/personal” reasons.
The Raiders, though, have to make a roster move by Saturday to make room on the 53-man roster for All-Pro running back Josh Jacobs, who is on a roster exemption/commissioner permission list.
McDaniels would not delve into Jones’ situation, saying it was a “personal issue,” but did allow for the personnel issue Jones’ continued absence has brought the team.
“I mean, we deal with it all year in terms of having to make decisions whether they’re injury-related or what’s best for the team in terms of practice squad elevations or just deciding on the active from the 53[-man roster],” McDaniels said. “So, nothing different in that regard. We’ll just try to figure out what the best thing is in terms of how to play the game in general.”
With Jones out, third-year defensive end Malcolm Koonce and first-round draft pick Tyree Wilson figure to share time at edge rusher opposite two-time Pro Bowler Maxx Crosby, though McDaniels intimated a practice squad player could be elevated. The Raiders have three defensive ends on the practice squad in Isaac Rochell, Janarius Robinson and international player David Agoha.
Asked how the Raiders’ locker room has weathered the storm of Jones’ social media posts, McDaniels said he was impressed with the players.
“I think they’re focused on the competition that we have in front of us on Sunday and controlling what they can control,” McDaniels said. “We’ve had really a really good week so far, looking forward to a good day today and know they want to finish off the preparation the best that they can today. And I’ve been very proud of just their approach in general and excited to see them play on Sunday, honestly.”
Jones’ agent, Ethan Lock, who initially had no comment on the situation earlier in the week, had not responded for a follow-up comment.