FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones is back. Not that he really left, but let’s explain.
Jones missed six games last season with a hip injury. In February, he was spotted at Gillette Stadium walking with the aid of crutches. And throughout the spring, he was kept off the field as he worked his way back to full health.
So when training camp began Thursday, it was notable that he was fully cleared to participate.
Chandler Jones appears fully healthy after suffering a hip injury last season. AP Photo/Charles KrupaStill left to be determined, however, was whether Jones experienced any residual effects from rehabilitation and I think the answer was apparent after watching during one repetition in one-on-one drills in Sunday’s practice.
Lined up as a three-technique, over the outside shoulder of left guard Josh Kline, he exploded at the snap and recorded a decisive victory. That led me to write the following in my notebook: “No noticeable issues with health of No. 95.”
After practice, I asked Kline about the repetition in which Jones beat him with a quick move by taking advantage of a technique error in which Kline dipped his head, compromising his position and allowing Jones to get into his shoulder.
“As a guy that’s longer [6-foot-5, 265 pounds], obviously he’s going to use his length against a guy like me that’s shorter [6-foot-3, 300]. So I have to use my leverage against him,” Kline explained. “He had a good rep.”
It wasn’t all perfect for Jones, who was later stopped by undrafted interior lineman David Andrews, but I had him with two other solid reps in one-on-one drills, against tackles Nate Solder and Jordan Devey.
Overall, Jones looks to be healthy and flashing some of the desired explosion following an offseason filled with rehabilitation.
A few other observations from practice:

Second-year running back Tyler Gaffney was not present, as LeGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray shared work as the top “big backs.” The reason for Gaffney’s absence was not known, but if it’s an extended absence, that could create some separation at a position on the roster where there is expected to be a competition for spots. Something we’ll keep an eye on.

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