On October 25, it was announced that Kansas City Chiefs veteran defensive end Frank Clark would serve a two-game suspension from his March and June gun-related arrests, marking a huge loss for the defense.
Making matters worse is that this week, the Chiefs take on the Tennessee Titans and their powerhouse running back Derrick Henry. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was quick to address Henry’s royal reputation.
“He’s the king of the run game,” Spagnuolo said of Henry, “and a big challenge for us because he’s a big back. You can’t simulate that in practice, so you just [have to] hope that your foundation of what you’ve done up until this point allows you to tackle him.”
Spagnuolo will lean on the other defensive ends in Clark’s absence, including veterans Carlos Dunlap and Mike Danna, rookie George Karlaftis and second-year player Malik Herring. Danna is set to return from a calf injury that sidelined him for multiple games.
“We’re getting Mike Danna back and that’s a good thing,” started Spagnuolo, “and everybody else has got to step up. Carlos is there, and George, and Mike Danna, and Malik Herring — we’re talking about back to another young guy, right? Because Malik didn't play at all last year and he has to keep doing that. I thought Malik did some good games in the San Francisco game. We’ll need him to do the same thing.
Spagnuolo is also confident in the rest of the team’s ability to fill Clark’s production, particularly third-year linebacker Darius Harris.
“We’re fortunate in knowing that we have a guy, another linebacker, that we know can play pretty good because he went out and did it, and he proved it,” Spagnuolo said. “Darius has earned the right to play some football for us, in the things that he does.”