Chiefs in trouble if Dontari Poe misses season’s start
Dontari Poe will miss training camp after undergoing back surgery, and there’s a chance he could miss the start of the season as he recovers. If that’s the case, it would be a huge blow for the Chiefs.
Poe is one of the rarest commodities in the NFL, an interior defensive linemen who is both durable and productive. He is currently only one of three active defensive linemen who weigh more than 300 pounds and have more than 2,600 snaps of experience (Ndamukong Suh and Muhammad Wilkerson are the others).
After a lackluster rookie year, the coaching switch before the 2013 season from Romeo Crennel to Andy Reid triggered a massive jump in his overall grade, going from -14.5 to +15.4. His run defense went from -9.3 to +9.2, the fourth-largest improvement in the league.
Poe’s 7.6 percent run-stop rate ranks eighth among interior defenders, and he has the sixth-most QB hurries (55) for interior defenders in the AFC over the same span. Since the Chiefs drafted him out of Memphis in 2012, he has been the centerpiece of their defensive line, quietly freeing up playmakers like Tamba Hali and Justin Houston to wreak havoc on opposing offenses while still being disruptive himself.
The Chiefs have a tough start to the season with three road games (Texans, Packers, Bengals) and their only home game coming on short rest (Thursday night, Week 2) against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. That could be an even rougher stretch if they’re missing their defensive anchor in the middle.