But, despite the changes, there is still a lot of familiarity in coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, defensive lineman Chris Jones, cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, safety Juan Thornhill, and defensive end Frank Clark. So, it’s not like the Chiefs are undergoing a complete facelift on defense.
At the same time, however, the unit needs to find an identity heading into 2022. Not only does Kansas City have a lot of new faces on the defensive side of the ball, but a lot of said faces are young.
Like, rookie young.
Regardless, the incumbents and mainstays are going to be the ones who set the tone this year. And Jones, a two-time second-team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler, recently told reporters what identity needs to be adopted in 2022.
“Gritty, if you want to sum it up in one word,” explained Jones. “We gotta be a gritty defense. That’s from the coaching staff, to the players on the sideline, to the players starting. Don’t let go of the rope. We’re always fighting. And once we attain that mentality we can start push forward from that.”
And per Jones, there’s only way to establish a gritty identity and a never-back-down culture.
“Just lead by example, man,” explained Jones. “There’s not much more you can say to encourage guys. People like action. [When] they see you giving your all, that’s when you challenge them to either follow you or take it a step higher. That’s what it’s all about: competing against one another to get the best out of one another.”
The Chiefs still have most of their key players and coaches in place, but this almost feels like a completely different team as we draw closer and closer to the start of the season.
Whether or not that affects the results in the W/L column remains to be seen, but it’s easy to see why a new identity can work with guys like Jones leading the way.
You can check out Jones’ entire press conference, below:
Featured image via Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports