Bucky Brooks at NFL.com rated the NFL’s top pass-rushing duos in a story that appeared on Monday. Right at the top of the rankings came Kansas City’s Tamba Hali and Justin Houston as the league’s top bookends.
The ranking comes as something of a surprise when you consider that bigger name-recognition pairs exist in the league such as the DeMarcus Ware/Vonn Miller pairing that John Elway created this off-season in Denver and Aldon Smith/Ahmad Brooks in San Francisco.
Brooks not only mentioned the Chiefs headlline pair, he also pointed to 1st round pick Dee Ford as a reason for his ranking.
The news comes as a welcome bit of recognition for a Chiefs defense that collapsed in the 2nd half last season after leading the way to a 9-0 start in 2013. Brooks writes that:
The Chiefs‘ terrific tandem might not garner significant attention on the national scene, but opponents across the AFC are well aware of the chaos Hali and Houston routinely create. The duo has combined for 41 sacks over the past two seasons, exhibiting complementary playing styles that make them nearly impossible to handle on passing downs.
Brooks cited Hali has having perhaps the best hand-fighting skills in the league, paired with the speed/strength combo of Justin Houston. Doug Farrar points out in a piece on SI.com how Dee Ford can help them out:
One way to create the space that Ford will need to accelerate cleanly into disruption is to have him on the field at the same time as both Hali and Houston — to create overloads that force offenses to play the pass rush too hard, and to eliminate opportunities. Given Sutton’s creativity, and what he learned about blitzes from Rex Ryan as the former Jets linebacker coach, you’d expect to see some of that. More importantly, Ford could (and should) provide an insurance policy for a Chiefs defense that has proven that it’s among the league’s best with both of its premier pass-rushers — and problematic when either one is out of the picture.
While draftnicks across the blogosphere bashed Chiefs GM John Dorsey for the Dee Ford pick over a wide receiver, some pundits have now come out in favor the selection after studying Ford’s tape.
Right now, with Hali, Houston, Ford, the beast that is Dontari Poe. and the under-rated Vance Walker (most pressures in the league for an interior lineman in 2013) the Chiefs look to have a scary front seven primed to go after QB’s in 2014.