clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kansas City Chiefs open to moving their outside linebackers around this season

New, comments

Chiefs outside linebackers coach Mike Smith wants his best players against the opposing offense’s weakest links.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos
Justin Houston sack Trevor Siemian, a beautiful sight.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, cornerbacks coach Al Harris and outside linebackers coach Mike Smith all spoke to the media following the team’s sixth OTA practice on Thursday, and one thing common theme is beginning to emerge.

The tone the 2018 version of the Chiefs defense is looking to set is one of aggression.

Last week, I wrote about Justin Houston’s seemingly new willingness to switch to the right side despite him playing almost exclusively on the left since his arrival to Kansas City back in 2011.

Houston, one of the best in the game at the outside linebacker position with four Pro Bowls to his name since that draft, said he wants to be able to “attack the opposing offense’s weakest link,” which won’t necessarily always be an opposing team’s right tackle.

We learned Thursday that this thought process is coming right from the top.

“That’s the thing I’ve talked to Justin about the most because he likes to line up on one side,” Smith said. “We have to get our best player on their worst offensive lineman, wherever that may be, and that’s how you should be on defense, period. If it’s a coordinator, you break it down, but you just can’t get comfortable on one side. He has to be able to cross the line, and that’s what we do.”

The same goes for Dee Ford, who NFL.com recently explained could be the “biggest X-factor” for the Chiefs in 2018. Ford was a partial participant in practice Thursday as he continues to recover from back surgery.

“All of them—Dee, it’s the same deal,” Smith said. “If there’s a tackle that’s big or a little bit slower, Dee’s got one of the biggest get-offs in the league. Go line up on him. Is your tackle a little bit smaller? Justin, go tear him up a little bit. That’s kind of what we do.”

I’ll admit—at first, I wasn’t sure about all this. But Smith makes a lot of sense, and Houston is buying in.

The goal should be to get Houston back to 2014 form by any means necessary, and it is.