The Kansas City Chiefs are only days away from the start of the regular season and defense of their Super Bowl title. The word defense will be used often as the team seeks answers on the unit’s stability following several injuries and the absence of All-Pro lineman Chris Jones.
Jones continues to hold out and missed all of training camp due to ongoing contract negotiations. Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo spoke with reporters after practice on Tuesday and talked about a possible continuity issue on the defensive line without the perennial pro bowler.
“You’re always looking for continuity, right? And continuity comes with reps and being around each other and together,” Spagnuolo explained. “We haven’t had that. [We] have a lot of moving pieces right now. Sometimes it takes your first quarter of the season to figure out who you are and what you have. Now along the way, you gotta hope you’re winning games. But it might take us a little while to figure all that out.”
The Chiefs are also without defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton as he recovers from injury. Spagnuolo is still hopeful Jones can return and stabilize the unit.
“I don’t think Chris is any different than any other player that misses the entire camp and then has to play,” Spagnuolo said. “It’s tough. I mean, you certainly can’t expect that particular person as good as Chris to play every down, and then you worry about injuries, the body ready. Chris always keeps himself in good shape, but football shape is different. So hopefully, we can get him back right, and then when that happens, we just have to figure out how to go about it.”
The Chiefs will need their depth on the front four to fill holes for the missing pieces, and Spagnuolo seems committed to a defensive-line-by-committee approach until a resolution is found.