Filling in for Dontari Poe…already done?

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Jaye Howard took advantage of his opportunity in 2014 to show that he belongs in the NFL

Listen, when I’m wrong, I’m wrong, and I’ll man up to it.  I was DEAD  WRONG about Jaye Howard.  I thought he was some scrub of Romeo Crennel’s that was just wasting a roster spot.  But as 2014 went on, he proved me wrong.  Now, this is not to say that Howard is some sort of superman or Pro Bowl talent.  I’m not going crazy here.  But he has certainly proven himself to be a versatile and talented player that we can call upon when we need him.

And that has become even more apparent with the recent revelation that he added weight to come into camp at 330 pounds.  Now, understand that “adding weight” for a football player isn’t the same as it is for most folks.  He didn’t gain those pounds via a non-stop train of takeout and a three-day “Walking Dead” marathon.  No, he gained his weight in the gym.  When asked by Herbie Teope of Chiefs Digest, Howard responded:  “I stayed up here during the offseason, got to work with (strength and conditioning coach) Barry (Rubin). It’s not fat; it’s muscle.”

That’s the kind of statement you should expect from a hungry young player.  Howard got his chance to get noticed last year.  This year he is looking to make a name for himself.  Filling in for Mike DeVito is one thing, filling in for Poe is something different altogether.  But the Chiefs have given him the first crack at the job, so now it is all in his hands.

“I stayed up here during the offseason, got to work with (strength and conditioning coach) Barry (Rubin). It’s not fat; it’s muscle.” ~ Jaye Howard on bulking up over the offseason.

If Howard can fill the void until Dontari Poe returns, it will go a long way towards helping the Chiefs make a playoff run.  But even more intriguing is if he can truly play well.  The Chiefs have been searching for someone to help take the pressure off of Poe’s enormous snap counts.  If the answer to that is already on the roster, then that’s two problems solved.

If Jaye Howard can build on last year, the Chiefs may have yet another curveball to throw opposing offenses. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

If Howard plays well, it also allows for the Chiefs to get even more creative when Poe returns.  The Chiefs have a dynamic defense already, but having a fourth defensive lineman to rotate at various positions opens the doors to a number of different looks.  It could give the Chiefs quite the advantage late in the season when they need a new wrinkle to combat the vast amount of footage their opponents will have.

So if Chiefs fans are looking for the answer for how we replace Dontari Poe, my suggestion is that you start much closer to home than all of those big named free agents.