Looking toward the season opener on the road against the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, the Detroit Lions need all the advantages they can get.
Chris Jones is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, but he's no longer necessarily being paid at that level. So he is holding out due to a contract dispute, and may not be back for the start of the season.
Recently, Jones answered a question on social media and suggested he's prepared to hold out until Week 8. That's the latest he can show up and get credited for the final season of his current contract.
Obviously, a resolution could always come in the next few weeks and end Jones' holdout. If it did drag into the first week of the season, or beyond, that would be a significant blow for the Chiefs.
Subtracting Jones from the Kansas City defense would allow the Lions offense a good chance to establish themselves. Jones was a first-team All-Pro in 2022, and has 65 career sacks and 243 tackles. That amounts to potentially clearer running lanes and less pressure on Jared Goff.
Andy Reid spoke to the media on Wednesday, and admitted to no recent communication with Jones:
"There's been no communication, so I don't know what's going to go there. But whatever happens, happens, and if he's not there, the game goes on, right? That's how it works."- Andy Reid
That isn't the most optimistic of updates on the Jones situation from Reid, which casts even more doubt on his viability for opening night. Advantage Detroit if the situation continues to drag on.
Dan Campbell: Lions continue preparation for Chiefs this week
Whether Jones is there or not, the show must go on for the Lions as well. As Campbell explained meeting the media on Tuesday, preparations are being made.
"We may do a little bit (Wednesday) is where the beginning of that'll be, but we're still going to focus on good on good and rounding out the roster. We've got some work done on those guys and we're still thinking about it, just like they do on us. They've been looking, it's been a long offseason, but I still think our focus is on us right now."- Dan Campbell
Regardless, it's likely hard for Campbell to not think about how the dynamic would change without Jones as the team prepares. The Chiefs could be without their best defensive player, and the odds seem to getting better that happens.