Kyler Murray has made it public he's trying to stay away from Chandler Jones this Sunday.
Murray knows better than anyone what Jones can do to opposing offenses, having seen it from the sidelines and in practice for three seasons. The Cardinals quarterback will be lined up against his former teammate for the first time since Jones moved one state west to Nevada. In six seasons with the Cardinals, Jones totaled 71.5 sacks. And now, he's looking to get his first sack in the Silver and Black.
"He's a great dude. One of the best teammates I've ever had the pleasure to play with," Murray said. "Going to be weird, different seeing him in a new uniform, but at the end of the day, he's got one job, I've got one job.
"I'm going to do my best to avoid him. I don't plan on seeing too much of him."
Jones also held high praise for his former quarterback leading into their matchup. The veteran edge rusher is well aware of how elusive Murray can be, who had 20 rushing touchdowns in their three seasons together as teammates. Jones, along with the rest of his defense, is excited for the challenge Sunday.
"Kyler is very unique. He's a unique player and it's kind of hard to get someone who can give you a look [that plays] like Kyler," Jones said. "He does things that are uncommon. He has a strong arm and he's very fast, but hopefully we can get after him. He lets his game do the talking and that's something I admire about Kyler. He shows up every Sunday and he plays well and does what he can to help the team."
Murray also described Jones as "a student of the game" who he believes is "like a zen master when comes to the art of pass rushing and all the different ways to get to the quarterback."
One of Jones' new teammates, Davante Adams, can understand where Murray is coming from – based off what he's seen from the edge rusher on the field so far.
"He's got an infectious type of personality. We joke around all the time, and he's a great guy just from a vibe standpoint," Adams said of the leadership Jones brings to the Raiders."
"Then you get him on the field and then you talk about a guy - I think this is Year 12 or so for him now - just the way he goes about his business," continued Adams. "The type of examples that he sets, the type of leader that he is, to a leader like Maxx [Crosby]. He can continue to help him grow as a leader as well. When you've got those type of years behind you and you come out and you still put it on tape the way that he does and attack the data the way that he does, he comes in and he's tapped in every day."
Preparing for the Cardinals has been a "weird" experience for Jones, plotting against some of the same players he fought beside for six seasons. Yet even with it being his first Raiders home game against his former team, he refuses to let the situation overwhelm him.
"It's another week, honestly," Jones said. "I think it's fun to be able to play against my old team, but going into Week 2, hopefully we can just end in the win column this week."
View the best photos from Thursday's practice at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center as the Raiders prepare for their upcoming game against the Arizona Cardinals.