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Mike Danna: ‘Chris Jones opens it up for everybody’

Kansas City’s defense played well against Detroit — but there will be a welcome reinforcement in Jacksonville.

NFL: AFC Championship-Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs appear set to add defensive tackle Chris Jones to the roster ahead of their Week 2 road matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Speaking after Friday’s practice, defensive end Mike Danna was clearly happy to Jones back with his teammates after the superstar’s contract holdout caused him to miss Week 1’s 21-20 loss to the Detroit Lions.

“It’s great,” declared the fourth-year pro. “He’s a character. Off the field, he’s a great guy, a great teammate [and] a leader in the room. [He’s] somebody you can look to that has information that can help you. On the field, it opens it up for everybody. You’ve got another dynamic piece on the field that can make plays with the best of them. It’s great to have him back.”

Against the Lions, the defensive line held its own even without 2022’s first-team All Pro in the lineup — and Danna was not surprised to see it happen.

“They came ready,” he said of his teammates up front. “That whole week of preparation, guys were stepping up day-in [and] day-out. It wasn’t really a surprise to me that when it came [to be] game time, guys played their tails off.”

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

While it was Danna who recorded the only sack on Lions quarterback Jared Goff, he credited the entire unit.

“It felt great,” he recalled of the play, “because we rush as one; we try to play as a unit. It felt great getting that done — [and] I’m looking forward to this week, getting 9-5 back [and] generating more sacks together as a unit.”

Danna is also anticipating the return of versatile versatile defensive lineman Charles Omenihu, who is beginning the season on a six-game NFL suspension.

“Looking forward to getting him back in a few weeks,” Danna acknowledged, “but while he’s out, we’re just focused on one step at a time. We just got 9-5 back. We’re happy to have him back — so when we get all the pieces, it’s going to be even better.”

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Kansas City Chiefs Perry Knotts/Getty Images

The timing of Jones’ return is fortunate, as the Chiefs will be facing Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence — the No. 1 overall selection of the 2021 NFL Draft — for the third time in a calendar year. Like many analysts, Danna sees Lawrence is a player on the rise.

“He’s up there with the top of the QB’s that will be throwing that ball,” he said of Lawrence. “He can use his feet to make plays [and] extend plays. He’s got a great arm. The running backs are great, so you’ve got a great unit behind him. He’s a great football player... I’m looking forward to playing him.

“He’s a hell of a player — a gunslinger who can throw the rock anywhere.”

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