Let’s Overreact! Defensive Line Edition

$189 million dollars. Chris Jones and Frank Clark’s contract are massive and yet their contributions are minimal as this defense continues to look like the Achilles heel this season. Another Sunday, another day where Chris Jones underperforms. Another Sunday and Frank Clark is wearing street clothes.

And didn’t the Chiefs sign Jarran Reed in the offseason? Did he ever show up to the team facility? Because I can’t remember seeing him anywhere.

As a long-time Chiefs fan, I can remember countless seasons of the Chiefs not being able to field a solid defense when the offense was good (i.e. Vermeil) or having a solid defense and the offense could score more than 10 points (i.e. Derrick Thomas). As Andy Reid develops a run game behind this new o-line this offense could become a real juggernaut for opposing teams.

With Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and a solid ground game, yikes. But, then there is the defense, particularly the defensive line. The lack of investment in the secondary for what seems like years now is certainly coming to a head, but the money in the d-line for the production is downright disturbing.    

The decision to move Chris Jones to defensive end was supposed to be profound and lead to DPOY and a sack record. After four weeks it has proved to have been a ridiculous plan that has neutralized Jones’ ability to produce anything close to previous seasons.

Although, since Jones had 11 straight games with a sack, he has failed to produce even close to that level. What was all that money for? 40 plus games with 18.5 sacks. Brett Veach failed in depending on Jones and Clark by rewarding them with huge contracts. All that investment in the o-line this off-season and the defense gets Nick Bolton, poor planning for a defense that was last in red-zone scoring last season.

With poor linebacker play and a struggling secondary, the defense needs better line play, particularly from their overpriced linemen. The other of which has more gun charges than games played this season, as Frank Clark continues to disappoint.

His efforts during the Super Bowl season aside, the Chiefs have so much money wrapped up in Clark that his inability to get on the field or produce pressure and tackles when he does show up is going to hurt this defense this season and next. When Mahomes signed his record-breaking deal there was concern with how the team would continue to add talent with that much money going for PM 15. The real mistake that will cost this team isn’t the Mahomes deal, it is the money going to Jones and Clark.

Brett Veach needed to be looking to the draft to add young talent on rookie deals. Instead, he backed up the Brinks truck to two players who are stealing their money. Through four weeks, the $189 million-dollar men have recorded a combined 9 tackles and 2 sacks. Most of that would be Chris Jones as Clark’s limited availability this season has netted him a staggering 2 tackles and zero sacks. Steve Spagnuolo deserves some of the blame for an inability to not only adjust during the week, but also during games. The lack of pressure is the first in a line of dominoes that are leading to this defense continuing to struggle every Sunday.

Speaking of struggling, Jarran Reed is proving to be a waste of a roster spot. Veach unloaded $5.5 million to add Reed and what is the return on the investment four weeks in? 2 tackles……2, so .5 tackles per game. Pathetic. Reed should donate his game check to only Chiefs d-linemen who has shown any value this season, Mike Danna. Playing for less than 1/5th of Reed’s salary, Danna has as many combined tackles as Jones and Clark combined and one more sack with three total.

This defense has little hope to see any help past Frank Clark and Willie Gay’s return from IR, so it has to come from the roster. Players need to take some pride in their play on Sunday, it’s one thing to struggle against a perennial playoff team, but the Eagles? The Eagles didn’t punt on Sunday. Perhaps there is an unknown cabal of powerful punters that have infiltrated the Chiefs.

A bevy of powerfully cash-laden punter lobbyists that have the Chiefs working to keep punters on the sideline. What else could it be that has the Chiefs failing to force the opposing team to punt? This defense is going to be the downfall of this season. Will Clark and Gay Jr.’s return lead to some magical reawakening of this defense? Will Spags start to scheme better with the roster he has? Here’s hoping, because the Buffalo Bills come to town next and they have been steamrolling teams.

The Chief still owns last place in the AFC West. The Chargers did the Chiefs a solid by beating the Raiders on Monday Night. Still, the Chiefs have little room for error with the Chargers and Raiders demonstrating they are much improved. This defense owes the offense and the Chiefs Kingdom more than they have delivered so far this season. Sunday is a test, fail it and the rest of the season seems like it could be lost. Mahomes can only cover the defense for so long, and at some point they need to earn those game checks.