Although Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones is in the midst of a Defensive Player of the Year campaign, the defending AFC West Champions could use a little more help when defending the run.
Through two weeks of the regular season, the Chiefs defense ranks 16th in the NFL in run defense, per PFF. Jones is the only interior defender for Kansas City that has an overall grade above a 70 in run defense (83.9).
Because of this, it doesn’t hurt to toy with the idea of the Chiefs adding another defensive tackle to bolster their run defense unit. That’s why one NFL insider named the Chiefs as a potential landing spot for a veteran defensive tackle with a Hall of Fame resume.
Lombardo Links Chiefs to Ndamukong Suh
Heavy Sports’ Matt Lombardo recently named four teams that could be a “perfect” fit for the services of veteran free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, one of which was the Chiefs.
Last season, Suh played in all 17 regular season games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and recorded 27 tackles, 13 QB hits, 7 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery, according to Pro Football Reference. He also registered 8 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and .5 sacks in two playoff games.
Suh — a five-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro and Super Bowl champion with the Buccaneers — has a long history of succeeding at an elite level in the NFL. He is 35 years old and at the tail end of his career, but that doesn’t mean he can’t provide situational value for an NFL team right now.
“The Chiefs have a razor-thin margin for error in a loaded AFC race,” Lombardo wrote on September 22. “Not to mention, Kansas City plays in a division that houses both the Las Vegas Raiders’ Josh Jacobs and Los Angeles Chargers’ Austin Ekeler, so shutting down dominant running games is going to prove pivotal.
“Suh and Jones would put pressure on the interior of any offensive line, and be a potentially dominant run-stopping force.”
Based on the NFLPA’s public salary cap report and the news of the Chiefs restructuring kicker Harrison Butker’s contract to free up cap space, Kansas City has approximately $3.1 million in available cap space. While that’s a minimal amount of spending money, it could be enough to bring Suh’s services to Kansas City.
LB Darius Harris Talks Expanded Role
In the wake of Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay being suspended for four games by the NFL, head coach Andy Reid said that third-year linebacker Darius Harris would be the player that would fill in for Gay during his suspension.
Harris spoke with the media on September 22 and shared his thoughts on having an increased role over the next four games and how different practice has been for him since learning of his increased role.
“Practice this week, for me, has kind of been different. Just stepping into the starting lineup,” Harris said during his press conference. “Obviously, here it’s the ‘next man up’ mentality. Whether it’s this week, next week, or next month – you’ve just got to be ready when your number is called and when the time presents itself. So, just taking the same approach (and) just being dialed in more and kind of just looking at a different position but also just making sure I’m ready come Sunday to help this team win.”
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo gushed over Harris when asked about increased opportunities for him.
“I’ll tell you what, I’m fired up to see Darius (Harris) out there,” Spags said during his press conference on September 21. “I’m really happy for him that he has this opportunity. You’re talking about a guy who’s been here for a number of years.
“If you remember the first year he was here it was a ‘redshirt’ year because of his shoulder I believe. And that’s a long year to go through. And then he came in and he’s just kind of done this (upward motion) continually as a player. (He) earned himself a right to be on the roster this year and he’s one of those cerebral guys, so I’m really anxious to see what he can do.”
Harris will get his first crack at starting for the Chiefs this season when Kansas City travels to face the 0-2 Indianapolis Colts on September 25. Kickoff is at 12 p.m. CST.