If you happen upon Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones at training camp, you might notice something different about him.
Jones played around 310 pounds last season while playing defensive tackle in Kansas City. When he reported to training camp and took the team conditioning test on Tuesday, Jones weighed in at 292 pounds.
“Yeah, I’m like 15-20 pounds lighter,” Jones told reporters on Thursday. “I came up here on the first day — quick story — I grabbed a Popeye’s Chicken sandwich, three chicken strips, a biscuit, fry, and a 12-count nugget and I still weigh like 292.”
Why so light for Jones, though?
Much has been made of Jones seeing more action at the defensive end position this upcoming season. Well, it seems to be a bit more than a situational plan after just two training camp practices. Jones isn’t just getting extra work on the edge, but he has transformed his body with the goal of becoming a hybrid defender in Kansas City. He’s still searching for the ideal play weight to accomplish that goal.
“I feel like my weight is, um, I’m good,” Jones said. “I’m still trying to move up into the 295 range. . . I really focus on feeling the best weight where I can play inside and out. I’m not a real D-end. Spags is gonna move me around. Most likely, I’m gonna be playing both spots, depending on the gameplan and who we’re playing and what’s the best matchup. So I just try to put myself at a weight where I can play 3-tech the whole game or D-end the whole game.”
Jones’ body transformation isn’t just about getting lighter and leaner. He also incorporated more yoga and pilates into his routine. After playing so frequently on the interior, Jones had the goal of getting more flexible and limber to find more success turning the edge.
“Well, I did yoga three times a week,” Jones said. “And pilates. . . I usually do the pilates during the offseason, but I started a little earlier this year for my flexibility. Bending the edge is a little different than taking the turn on a 3-tech. I wanted to be a little more flexible, a little more leaner bending on the edge and I was able to work on my flexibility a lot.”
In addition to the physical preparation that Jones has taken, he’s also prepared himself mentally for the switch. His film study habits have now changed to incorporate and draw from some of the best defensive ends in the NFL today.
“Adding to my film session,” Jones said. “Instead of watching mainly 3-tech’s I’m kind of mix-and-matching, watching a few 3-tech’s a few D-ends. Cam Jordan, guys that have set the stage for defensive ends in this league. Myles Garrett, Joey Bosa, you know those type of guys who have made a name for themselves at the position of defensive end.”
But how has the transition gone so far? It’s only two days into camp and Jones has already notched a would-be sack in team drills.
“Listen, I feel good rushing off the edge,” Jones said with a chuckle. “Okay? I know I’m a little old. I’m a veteran in the room, but I feel so good rushing off the edge.”
As for Jones’ sack goals, well, they remain the same despite his position change.
“We are trying to break the record, baby,” Jones said. “We are trying to break the record. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. The record. We’re trying to have the best D-line in the league, first and foremost. We’re trying to be dominant throughout this whole season, but we’re trying to challenge each other to get better day in and day out. If we do that, this D-line will be where we want to be.”
Regardless of where Jones lines up on a game-to-game basis, he’s confident and he loves getting after the quarterback. He’ll be happy to do so from any gap in Kansas City during the upcoming season.
“My favorite gap is any gap,” Jones said with a smirk on his face. “Any gap where I can get to the quarterback, I’m excited about it.”