From the FanPosts. -Joel
One of the biggest things to come out of the Kansas City Chiefs horrendous season last year was the emergence of Justin Houston. After being regulated to the bench for much of his rookie season, he has registered 15.5 sacks in the last 21 games. Not bad considering teams could run on the Chiefs after they had a decent lead last year.
Justin Houston has provided the Chiefs with something we haven't seen since the days of Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas. That is right guys, the Chiefs have a good pass rush coming from both sides. Even when Jared Allen was our defensive end, we never could get too much pressure from the other side. The guy on the other side during that time? Pro Bowl OLB Tamba Hali.
I am not saying that Houston and Hali are on the same level as Smith and DT. That would be just foolish. I am just saying that we are seeing the best pass rush since those days.
One thing that will help out this year is a different scheme on defense. With a more attacking scheme, this should allow our front three to generate some pressure and let Tamba and Justin reek the benefits. Tyson Jackson has made leaps and bounds last year. While he may never live up to his draft position, he is improving on a yearly basis. I think we will see many great things from him next year.
This will depend solely on the big man in the middle being able to push back. Dontari Poe did quite well last year for a rookie defensive linemen. I was quite reserved about taking the Memphis prospect due to him not looking that good on tape. That was before I realized that he was on the field for just about every defensive play for Memphis. He put up one hell of a combine running an outstanding sub-5 second 40. Normally defensive linemen need a year or two to learn but Poe jumped in and did well. I am expecting big things from the big man.
Tyson Jackson has improved steadily every year since he was drafted. In any other draft, I don't think Tyson would be taken at No. 3 but the 2009 draft was the worst one in quite sometime. We have known he was stout against the run but the pass rush was never there. It wasn't until last year that TJax improved dramatically. He finally earned Romeo Crennel's blessing and saw some work on third down. I don't think he will be a big force in terms of sacks but he will see his sacks increase this year. I want to make this clear to NFL offenses, the strong side of the Chiefs defense is a no run zone.
The other DE position is not going to see much in terms of pass rushing. Mike DeVito is one of the best 3-4 DEs in the league because he is good at one thing and that is stopping the run. I would love to see it but I have my doubts.
The ILBs here are going to play a little part. The Chiefs have one of the best MLBs in the league in Derrick Johnson. With the sole exception of Patrick Willis in San Francisco, there isn't another 3-4 ILB in the league I would take over DJ. I don't see DJ's sack numbers going up but I could see him picking off a few more passes.
The man standing next to DJ is a mystery really. The favorite to start in the SILB spot is rookie Nico Johnson. He is going to be that thumper that can help DJ be DJ. His primary role is more than likely going to be in run support but I wouldn't be surprised to see him blitzing some.
The only real pass rush I see from the secondary is Eric Berry blitzing occasionally. I think Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton is going to let Eric Berry do what he does best, be the roamer. Towards the end of last year, Eric Berry finally came back into form.
The future of the Chiefs pass rush is bright. You have three Pro Bowl LBs and a new scheme that is going to suit it. The biggest issue with Romeo Crennel's defense was that it wasn't aggressive enough. That is going to change and for the better.