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Chiefs’ Chris Jones cheerleads for George Karlaftis: ‘He needs to get 10’

Kansas City’s star pass rusher is excited about the growth of the second-year player who leads the team in sacks.

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NFL: OCT 12 Broncos at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With three games left in the regular season, there are statistical milestones in reach for some of the Kansas City Chiefs’ players. On defense, the ones that stand out are for defensive tackle Chris Jones, who has numerous contract incentives tied to sacks he earns this season.

With 7.5 sacks, it’s not likely Jones will earn the $2 million incentive for winning Defensive Player of the Year (and the team winning the Super Bowl). Reaching 10 sacks would earn him $1.25 million — but it would take an unbelievable run to get to 15 sacks, which would qualify him for an additional $500,000.

Jones, however, now seems more concerned with a teammate’s sack total. Defensive end George Karlaftis has nine. Jones is driving the second-year edge rusher to reach the decade mark.

“He needs to get 10,” Jones told the media on Thursday. “We’ve been talking about it all week; I’ve been giving him crap all week. It was one of his goals coming into the season — to have double-digit [sacks] — so I want to push him to get that. He works so hard during the season [and] during the offseason... It would be tremendous for his confidence (and his game moving forward — to give him something to build [upon].”

With three sacks in the last five games, Karlaftis has been a consistent factor in the team’s pass rush. He leads the unit in sacks — and according to PFF, also leads the team in pressures and batted passes. Jones has seen Karlaftis’ growth — but wants us to remember how young he is as a football player.

“I’ve seen some maturity in his understanding of the game,” observed Jones. “George didn’t start playing football until he was a junior [in high school], so he still has a lot to learn; he’s still learning. He is improving, and that’s all you can ask: to improve every year, year in and year out. The sky’s the limit for him if he continues to do that.

“I told him if he continues to double his sack count, ‘Oh my gosh. You’re going to kick me to curb and out of this place,’” Jones laughed. “[But] I’m a cheerleader for George, I want him to excel.”

While Karaftis has the raw numbers, Jones is still the most impactful player on the Kansas City pass rush. Over the last four weeks, he has the league’s fourth-most pressures and second-most quarterback hits.

While he is making it possible for others to finish sacks, Jones himself hasn’t notched one since the game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11. He had two that night — but in the following game against the Las Vegas Raiders, he was shut out.

While Jones has personal reasons to strive for three more sacks, his teammates also have reasons to help him get to that number.

After quarterback Patrick Mahomes bought golf carts for everyone on the offensive line, reporters wondered if anyone might do something similar for the defensive line.

“Until the Chiefs start paying me $50 million, I can’t afford to buy golf carts,” Jones chuckled. “I do get the defensive line Rolexes after I get 10 sacks. If I don’t have 10 sacks, nobody gets nothing.”

So Kansas City has two pass rushers trying to reach that 10-sack milestone. While they’re doing it for different reasons, two players hungry for more will only help the Chiefs’ defense finish the season strong — starting with Monday’s game against the Raiders at Arrowhead.

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