Is the Chris Jones experiment working?
The idea to shift Chris Jones outside to defensive end, at least some of the time, was one of the bigger questions of the offseason for how it might impact the defense. So far, we’re no clearer on what it might mean going forward despite seeing Jones out there for two games now.
Jones has wanted to play edge rusher for quite some times, and the Chiefs granted his wish after the acquisition of Jarran Reed to help bolster the interior. Jones looked solid on some plays against the Browns in Week 1, especially as he was able to sack Baker Mayfield at key times. However, he was still struggling at other times including the entirety of the Baltimore Ravens game.
The only way this works is if the team is committed to seeing Jones make the transformation from interior to exterior, so perhaps it’s worth the learning curve while being embarrassed by Lamar Jackson in Week 2. At best, the team would strategize about the best ways/times to utilize him outside and inside instead of obvious moments when he’s left out on an island against an elite rusher like Jackson.
The Chiefs might believe they have the margin to get away with trying Jones outside and rolling with the subsequent punches of: 1.) Watching Jones learn on the fly and, 2.) Taking Jones out of his element in the middle. Unfortunately, no one else is stepping up and they’re rendering their one positive asset up front to be less effective. At least that’s how it seems on the outside looking in.