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Chiefs’ Chris Jones looks ready for a larger role. That’s good because he’s getting one

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So Allen Bailey, very suddenly and unexpectedly, was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury that will threaten the rest of the season.

First, let’s all take a moment of silence for our own innocence being shattered. The idea that Allen Bailey could somehow sustain harm (the man is a real life cross between Luke Cage and The Hulk) is enough to destroy childhoods everywhere. If he can get hurt, ANYONE can get hurt. Get well soon, big guy.

Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Bailey was taking around 65-70 percent of the Chiefs defensive snaps. We all assume (and Andy Reid alluded to this) that those snaps will largely be absorbed by Chris Jones, the Chiefs second round pick.

I’ve written about Jones a great deal since he was drafted. Based on what we saw this preseason I believed we would see Jones on the field the majority of the time. Instead, he’s seen barely a quarter of the defensive snaps, with Reid preferring to roll with Bailey or Howard or even (at times) the recently-released Nick Williams.

Since it appears Jones is going to have his workload sharply increased AND the Chiefs happened to be playing a very solid offensive line Sunday, I thought it was appropriate to review Jones’ snaps and see how he did and what his regular season film looks like. If you don’t know, I watch every snap on all-22 several times, charting wins, losses, and neutral plays. I also kept track of pressures, but I didn’t do my usual charting of stuffed runs and effective double teams, for reasons I could go into but will not here (I’ll talk about those two things in the film review portion).

Let’s let Chris lead us into the numbers, shall we?

Snaps: 21

Wins: 8

Losses: 4

Neutral: 8

Pressures: 4

Jones continued his habit from this preseason of chalking up way more wins than you normally see from defensive linemen not named Watt or Donald. Four losses in as many snaps as he had isn’t shabby at all, either (think of DL as something of the inverse of OL, where you can’t afford to lose often at all. It’s gonna happen as a defensive lineman, you just try and limit the number of times).

After re-watching, I’m still scratching my head and wondering why Jones isn’t seeing the field more. He and Dee Ford single (well, double) handedly destroyed Oakland’s final desperate attempt at a comeback.

Jones consistently demonstrated that Oakland’s offensive linemen couldn’t handle him one-on-one. The previous play to the above GIF he used a spin move (which he tried out several times and shows some real promise) to get an edge on his OL and then shoved him while off-balance to get freedom to chase Derek Carr (who was fleeing from Dee Ford, who really had a whale of a game).

I suppose I would understand Bob Sutton’s hesitation to have Jones on the field consistently if he were weak against the run, but the opposite is the case. Jones possesses the functional strength to hold his ground at the point of attack as well as the quick first step to get into the backfield and ruin plays before they can start (see the very first GIF). And his strength doesn’t stop at merely holding the line. Jones is strong enough to use offensive linemen against a running back.

Plays like this have a massive impact on an offense’s success, despite not showing up in the box score (seriously, there needs to be a runs redirected or runs affected stat for defensive linemen). How often do you see a defensive lineman push an OL so far back so quickly that he gets in the way of a fullback? Jones possesses the kind of functional strength most players only dream of, despite still playing with higher than ideal pad level.

The Raiders clearly recognized that Jones was a problem, as on several plays they sent what appeared to be intentional double teams his way. Incidentally, Jones is capable of at least holding his ground against two blockers and even getting a little push (though not a ton, even making the double team actually work is a victory as it assures both blockers stay on you).

I know it’s easy to say that Jones hasn’t sacked the quarterback yet and therefore isn’t making an impact. But that just isn’t true. Pressure impacts a game even when it doesn’t hit home.

When you mess with a quarterback’s footwork, you mess with his accuracy. It’s a basic fact of NFL life. Carr’s interception was due to pressure from Ford and throwing off his back foot. Here, we see Carr trying a tough throw while sliding left due to Jones applying pressure, and he misses his target.

Jones has affected quarterbacks and running backs every time he’s seen the field. He’s also demonstrated some decent variety in his pass rush moves (he favors the bull rush and push/pull techniques but has demonstrated a swim and, as I said earlier, seems to be testing out a spin move that looks like a great countermove). He looks like a good overall lineman already, one who can help out against the pass and the run.

I look forward to seeing more of Jones on the field. Hopefully he keeps beating blockers at the same rate with increased snaps. Sacks and recognition will quickly follow if he does.