KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones, the upcoming season will put him to the test as he transitions to playing snaps on the edge of the line as a defensive end.
“We had guys that excelled at that level when I came in, as Justin Houston and Dee Ford,” Jones said. “I waited my time and thank God, finally happened for me.”
Since entering the league in 2016, Jones has collected 20.5 sacks, 15.5 of them coming in the 2018 season and a majority coming from the interior of the defensive line.
With the addition of Jarran Reed in the offseason to compliment Jones and pass-rusher Frank Clark, it allows for Jones to move around the line and attack quarterbacks from different angles.
“We’re able to exchange gaps now. We’re able to play left and right,” Jones said. “It doesn’t really matter to me about sides. Whatever Frank’s comfortable with. I don’t mind rushing left, right, I’ll stand up and rush from the middle as a linebacker if I have to.”
Jones said they haven’t completely worked out how the reps at both ends will work, but with Reed in the mix, too, they’ll all be free to dominate Sack Nation.
“When you’re that caliber of player, you should be able to move all along the defensive line, and I’m liking it so I can stay in 3 technique,” Reed said.
Speaking of Reed, he’s been impressing his new teammates at practice so far.
“I’ve been really impressed with Jarran Reed, his work ethic,” Jones said. “He’s got a really, really good work ethic, asks a lot of questions. I’m honored to work alongside a guy like Jarran Reed. With him being in the mix, I think it not only can help improve this line but help improve this defense.”
Clark said that moving Jones to the outside allows for the game to open up more and cause offenses more problems.
“There’s only so much you can help when you’ve got one guy playing a three-tech and you’ve got another guy playing end,” Clark said. “But Chris going to the end position, it just opens up the game much more. It makes it hard—now they’ve got to pick sides, whether they’re going to slide right or going to slide left.”
For Jones, moving outside means the potential for less double-teams, but more responsibility in the game plan.
“I’m excited to learn this position learn the drops; cover 3, cover 2 drops, man drops. I’m still learning and progressing well,” Jones said.
As Jones, Clark, Reed and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo work to improve the defensive front for the 2021-22 season, the bar is set high as members of the team talk about going 20-0.
“We got to set the bar high, especially ending the season like we did,” Jones said. “It’s not just [Patrick Mahomes] and Tyreek [Hill]. I think we’re all bought into it, but its just focus on getting 1% better every day.”