Loser: Stephen Christopher Spagnuolo
Coming into the offseason, the combination of defensive line coach Joe Cullen and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo had a lot to be proud of after a stellar '22 season in which they'd won a second Super Bowl in four seasons and specifically put up the second most sacks in the NFL.
Moving forward, the Chiefs coaches had to feel very good about the way the defense was going to shape up going forward. After all, they'd unlocked something in Chris Jones that had never been seen before. That's not to say that Jones wasn't already a Pro Bowl-caliber performer. Rather, he'd never before taken the leap to true greatness—the kind of rarified air that could lead to a future induction into the Hall of Fame.
Last year, Jones became an Aaron Donald-esque game-altering force in the heart of the Chiefs defense. Because of this, Jones's presence in the middle also changed everything the Chiefs were able to plan defensively behind him.
Even knowing that Jones has to report for some part of the season in order for this year to accrue, Spags and company still have to plan for all potential outcomes if they want to be responsible. The Chiefs' coaches simply cannot stand by and say, "I'm sure he'll be here and ready to go in time." And that means that Spagnuolo has likely spent a decent amount of time and energy into coming up with alternate ways to generate pressure and utilize his front line coming into 2023.
That's not what anyone wants to picture coming into work for the Chiefs.