Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones has seen his fair share of playoff games.
But one of the most productive regular-season players of the past decade has a playoff stat line that reads zero: playoff sacks. Surprisingly, Jones has never had a sack in a playoff game — a mark that has evaded him over his career.
After a regular season that saw the Chiefs' defense rank second in the league in total sacks (55.0), Jones is looking to silence the media’s line of questioning.
“[Getting a sack is] not a huge priority,” Jones stated. “But, I’m going to make sure I get one this go around — just to shut you guys up.”
Jones has seen many iterations of the defense in his time in Kansas City. Asked to compare this year to last year, Jones feels impressed with the improvement in ranking.
“You look at last year, we [were] 29th in sacks’ you look at this year, we’re like No. 2, and we still [have] the same guys,” he emphasized. “We [practically have] the same guys in the room; it’s just about getting everything that those guys have out of them each day and on Sunday letting them play.”
Jones credits defensive line coach Joe Cullen and assistant Terry Bradden for the team's success, as well as his own. Having a room full of “unselfish” teammates has led Jones to one of his most impressive seasons.
“I think it’s an accumulation of the D-line room – unselfish guys,” explained Jones. “The D-line coaches starting with Joe Cullen, Terry Bradden staying with me before and after practice, me committing to wanting to be the leader – be the best – committing to improving my pass rush from last year, me committing to making sure that I put the extra work in and it shows.”
Onto Saturday against the Jags
The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming into Arrowhead hot off of their come-from-behind victory over Chiefs’ AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers. Jones says that the Jaguars' performance in that game showed the teams’ “resiliency” in tough moments.
“[Being] 27 down and to be able to come back and win the game by two, that speaks volumes,” praised Jones. “That speaks [to] what type of team you’re dealing with right there.“
Jones is “looking forward” to playing the Jaguars this weekend, and he anticipates a tough matchup.
“They don’t quit and coming here we know (we’re) going to have to play four quarters, maybe overtime with these guys because that’s a competitive group,” detailed Jones. “Hopefully, we don’t go down 27 to them and have to come back.”
With Jones’ attention solely on the playoffs, he can appreciate the moment at hand and recognizes that reaching the playoffs comes with heavy expectations amongst critics and fans. He also knows the home crowd will be anxious to see their top ranking Chiefs defense play to their full potential.
“It’s always special to play in the playoffs, not a lot of teams are in this position, Jones said. “Especially where (we’re) at being fortunate enough to receive the bye, but just to be in the playoffs particularly, that margin of error is so small, and the level of intensity, I know Arrowhead fans are (going to) be crazy at GEHA field.“