New Chiefs Coach Expects ‘Career Years’ for 2 Veteran Defenders

Getty Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe Cullen.

During the 2021 season, the Kansas City Chiefs tallied 31 total sacks, which ranked 29th in the entire NFL, per StatMuse.

Defensive tackle Chris Jones (86.7) and defensive end Melvin Ingram (70.6) were the only pass rushers on Kansas City’s roster that graded out above a 70 for pass rush by PFF for the season. Defensive end Frank Clark, one of the highest-paid players in Kansas City, registered 4.5 sacks — his lowest sack total since his rookie season — and didn’t record his first sack until Week 8.

This is why gaining help in the edge rush department was of the utmost importance this offseason for the Chiefs, especially with a young secondary in place.

The team drafted George Karlaftis with its second pick in the first round this year, and he will help off the edge in a big way. Although Karlaftis was the only big move Kansas City made to bolster that unit this offseason, one Chiefs coach expects two of the Chiefs’ veterans to have career years in 2022, which could help the defensive line bounce back in a big way.

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Cullen: Expect ‘Career Years’ from Jones, Clark

Chiefs defensive line coach Joe Cullen, who joined Kansas City’s coaching staff this offseason after being the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator, made a bold claim involving Chris Jones and defensive end Frank Clark.

“Well, I’ll tell you what, those are two of my favorite guys,” Cullen explained on June 2. “I was at another place when they were coming out. I mean, I expect those guys to have career years and play the best they have in their career. And if we do that, that will elevate the whole team. And I expect that. Those guys who work — and this is voluntary — this is not mandatory. I’ve been in touch with both of those guys and love the way they play and love what they’re all about.”

Andy Reid & Assistant Coaches Speak After Week Two of Phase Three | Kansas City ChiefsHC Andy Reid and some assistant coaches speak with the media following Week Two of Phase Three of Offseason Workouts. HC Andy Reid: 0:00 DC Steve Spagnuolo: 7:35 OC Eric Bieniemy: 15:44 Defensive Line Coach Joe Cullen: 25:58 Linebackers and Run Game Coordinator Brendan Daly: 31:29 Wide Receivers Coach Joe Bleymaier: 36:59 Quarterbacks Coach Matt…2022-06-02T19:05:43Z

Kansas City experimented with Jones off the edge in 2021 but found that he was better suited in the defensive interior come the second half of the season. When asked what Jones’ role will be next season, Cullen hinted at Jones resuming his full-time role at defensive tackle.

“Well, I think when Chris (Jones) is on his game, there is not a better defensive tackle in the NFL,” Cullen said. “You saw that in the championship run. I mean, there will be different spots. He’ll move around within the nature of the scheme, but I’m excited to get him in here and get rolling.”

Twitter Reacts to Cullen’s Claim

Twitter reacted to Cullen claiming Jones and Clark are in line for career years.

“I hope that we aren’t banking on a DL coach to save us… I know he’s good,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Chris always does. As for Frank, I’ll see it when I believe it Joe,” another user wrote.

“Hopefully they leave CJ on the inside after that failed experiment last year,” another user wrote.

“Frank Clark better be considerably better this year or he is gone!” another user wrote.

“If this is true we might go undefeated,” another user wrote.


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