The Kansas City Chiefs have struggled without their star pass rusher. The team will look different when he returns — and for the better.
Things haven’t been going too well for the Kansas City Chiefs as of late, but not only on the offensive side of the ball. The defense has struggled too.
On the heels of back-to-back losses, the league’s 31st-ranked run defense is still without star defensive lineman Chris Jones. Jones, who had 15.5 sacks and 19 TFLs last season, has been nursing a groin injury he suffered during the team’s Week 5 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He’s not playing in Kansas City’s upcoming Thursday night matchup against their division rival Denver Broncos and is considered week-to-week.
The Chiefs have been bitten as hard as any team by the pesky injury bug. In addition to quarterback Patrick Mahomes playing on a bum ankle, left tackle Eric Fisher has missed significant time and remains out. Wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins have struggled to stay healthy, with the former returning just last week after an extended absence. Running back Damien Williams finally looks to be healthy after sitting out Weeks 3 and 4.
On defense, things aren’t looking much prettier. Although linebacker Anthony Hitchens will return vs. Denver, cornerback Kendall Fuller is now out. Aside from Jones’ injury, the Chiefs have a lot on their plate. The void left by him is a major one — and one that can’t be filled easily, to literally add insult to injury.
Failing to record a single sack in either of its previous two games, Steve Spagnuolo’s pass rush is also lacking. Many remember how bad the Chiefs’ defense was a season ago, and it hasn’t been that much better in 2019. A scheme change and new personnel are two legitimate excuses, but at a certain point, the results have to show. Through six games, those results have been a mixed bag at best.
When Jones is ready to return to action, the Chiefs will welcome him with open arms. He is one of the game’s most disruptive players on the defensive side of the football and is a leader both on and off the field. Kansas City is looking to secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason and with a healthy Chris Jones, that goal becomes a lot easier to reach.