Oct 13, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (left) celebrates with outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) after a sack against the Oakland Raiders in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 24-7. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

NFL.com rates Tamba Hali/Justin Houston top Pass-Rushing Duo

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.

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Tags: Justin Houston Kansas City Chiefs Tamba Hali

  • Josh Michaels

    I cannot wait until we get too see this pass rush at full strength!

  • Leigh Oleszczak

    If only the Chiefs’ secondary didn’t suck. Sigh.

    • Jim Harper

      It’s a little early to make a statement like that isn’t it?

      • Daniel Riddick

        I know right

  • John Viril

    I guess the hope is that no one will notice with QB’s running for their lives.

  • Kelly Alterman

    Better get Huston that new contract!

  • Daniel Riddick

    Hali, Houston, Ford let’s get this show on the road.

  • Chad Jensen

    Something tells me that Ware/Miller will top this list by October.