KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs weren't certain how much and how effectively Chris Jones could play in Sunday's AFC Championship, but his performance ended up impressing head coach Andy Reid.
“We started him off slow – just on third downs to see how he would do,” Reid said one day after Jones returned to action from a calf injury. “He was feeling better as we went along, so we gave him a little bit more.”
Jones started slowly but finished strong, playing 28 of team's 66 defensive snaps in the team's 35-34 win over Tennessee. He recorded one tackle and an assist, but also wreaked havoc in the Titans passing game, recording four hurries and five total pressures against quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Reid credited defensive line coach and run game coordinator Brendan Daly for managing the workload of Jones during the game. Daly shuffled nine different defensive linemen in and out of the game, with only Frank Clark (55) and Tanoh Kpassagnon (53) playing more than 36 snaps.
“I thought Brendan Daly did a nice job with managing him throughout it,” Reid said. “Chris did a good job of communicating. As a result, I think he came out feeling pretty good.”
Safety Tyrann Mathieu said after the game he told Jones how much he appreciated him, and not just his effort on Sunday.
“I was more impressed with him and committing himself to us,” Mathieu said. “It all brings me back to him showing up for training camp. He could’ve probably held out the entire camp, but I think that says a lot about him as a person, as a man. When he’s on the field he’s one of the better interior guys in the league.”
The Chiefs have two weeks before meeting the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, and Reid presumes Jones should be ready for a larger role barring any setbacks.
“Not that he won't be sore, he hasn't played for a little bit,” Reid said. “All in all, I think he came out healthy.”