The Chiefs’ defense took a noticeable step forward in Sunday’s victory over the Jaguars, but the unit finished the game without its top pass rusher. And that situation may continue for the near future.
Justin Houston suffered a hamstring injury against the Jags, and NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo reports (via Twitter) this could shelve the eighth-year edge defender for a few weeks. He’s considered “very iffy” to face the Patriots on Sunday night, per Garafolo.
Houston’s issue appears to have the Chiefs looking at free agent outside linebackers, Blair Kerkhoff, Brooke Pryor and Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star report.
Knee issues have been Houston’s biggest problem as an NFLer, keeping him off the field during much of the 2015 and ’16 seasons. He’s played in all five of Kansas City’s wins thus far this season, however. He has three sacks and two forced fumbles, teaming with Dee Ford as starters for the AFC’s lone unbeaten. Ford, who’s off to a strong start himself with four sacks and a forced fumble (which came against Blake Bortles on Sunday) may have to shoulder more responsibility against the Patriots.
The Chiefs invested second-round picks in OLBs the past two years, bringing in Tanoh Kpassagnon in 2017 and trading up to select Breeland Speaks this year. Speaks has played 116 snaps thus far this season.
Kansas City faces AFC North-leading Cincinnati in Week 7. The Chiefs have a home tilt against the Broncos on tap for Week 8. Kansas City’s bye is not until Week 12.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.