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Kansas City Chiefs mailbag: Justin Houston edition

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Some of you probably thought (with good reason) that I was absolutely lying through my teeth when I said I'd be doing my best to make smaller mailbags a daily(ish) occurrence. I can very much understand that cynicism, as I've earned it through years of making promises I didn't keep.

But as you can see by the words you're currently reading, I'm a changed man. I've found the light, and the light is a mailbag! You've all done so wonderfully at sending me fantastic questions, I don't see an end in sight. Well done, all of you.

Also, I don't really keep a record of whose questions I've used and who I have not. So if I end up using the same person's questions back to back, well ... clearly that person is really good at this game and you should try and be more like him or her.

Let's mini mailbag.

Cool, we can start with an easy one.

Y-E-S. Houston is gonna get P-A-I-D. Glad we could talk this over and be done with that particular subject for go-

Sweet mother of...

Look I understand that longevity is a big deal to people. They view players that have been great for years differently than players that have only been good for a year or a little more. I understand that Houston was "only" really good in 2013 and didn't become incredible until 2014.

I also understand that we can't totally rule out Dee Ford (or whoever) totally surprising us and playing fantastic football. I mean, stranger things have happened. Of course rarely have GOOD stranger things happened to us as Chiefs fans, but I digress.

All that said, there's a 98 percent chance Justin Houston being replaced by another player would be an absolutely massive drop-off in production. The Chiefs entire defense would likely suffer.

Let's not, for a second, forget how good Houston is. I wrote an article awhile back detailing just how unbelievable Houston's 2014 season was. I won't go through all the numbers there, but keep in mind that Houston got to the quarterback as much or more than three different NFL teams. Like, teams. Like, all the players on that team.

Houston is absolutely the best pass rusher in the NFL. No one (not even J.J. Watt) gets to the quarterback as frequently as Houston does. And it's not just the sacks, either. He consistently forces quarterbacks to move out of their spot and generally makes them miserable. He changes the entire dynamic of a defense by forcing offenses to essentially game plan around the idea that he's going to do ridiculous things all day.

And it's not just that. Houston is also the best edge-setting outside linebacker in the NFL when it comes to defending the run. There's a reason teams rarely ran to the outside on Houston's edge last year. His strength and speed allows him to basically force running backs to hesitate ... and hesitate ... and hesitate as they try and get an opening to the outside. All that hesitating allows for the rest of the defense to catch up.

ALSO, Houston can drop back into coverage in a pinch and not be a weakness to be exploited. I mean... he's essentially perfect.

Anyone who replaces him is going to be worse at rushing the quarterback and setting the edge unless they, too, become the best in the NFL at it. Which seems a tad unlikely.

A great deal of what the Chiefs do on defense is workable because of the pass rush. It makes everything else easier. Not having Houston is a bad deal for everyone, and the entire pass defense would look worse for it. In the meantime, the edge would suddenly become a lot easier for running backs to test. And the last thing the Chiefs need is another weak spot against the run.

Other than all that, though, it would probably be fine.

I've had more than a few people ask me something similar (especially the second question), and so I figured I would address the "mystery" once and for all.

I spend the majority of my day at work persecuting criminals. I also happen to write things here on Arrowhead Pride, and am the youth pastor at my church. Combine this with a wife and four kids and many people are under the impression that I'm always pressed for time and must be using copious amounts of either caffeine or cocaine. Well in truth, it's neither. It's crystal meth (kidding, just seeing if Joel actually proofs these ... Get back to work Seth! -Joel).

Quite simply, I have time to do what I do because outside of the things I just mentioned (family, work, church, football) I don't do much at all. Many of you speak of your very interesting hobbies. I don't have those. Well, unless you include studying and writing about football as a hobby (which I do).

Are my days quite frequently made up of juggling multiple tasks? Absolutely. Am I willing to give up on any one of those "Big Four" in my life? Not at all. So I make due. A typical day in the life for me is spent constantly doing one of those four things (for example, I just got done covering in-custody arraignments, then returned an email regarding our church board, and am now writing this): Family, Faith, Football, Work. It's a grind.

And I love it. See you tomorrow(ish).

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