The leader of the Chiefs defense is unarguably inside linebacker Derrick Johnson. After the heartbreaking loss to the San Diego Chargers earlier today, Johnson was asked if Justin Houston and Tamba Hali leaving with injuries impacted the defense
“No, this is the National Football League, when people go down, everybody has to step up. Obviously, it hurt us a little bit not having two better players on the field. Regardless, we still had a chance. (San Diego) had 70-some yards to go with a minute and 22 seconds. We just have to pull away with that win. We’ll take that every game.”
In theory, Johnson is absolutely right about the next man up theory. However, losing the two most elite members of the defense within two series of each other is a tough order to fill, in the same game. If Hali and Houston are going to miss a significant amount of time, it will be up to Johnson and the rest of the defense moving forward to get this squad back on track. If that doesn’t happen, the Chiefs season could be in serious jeopardy. If the Chiefs defense can’t reestablish its identity without an elite pass rush, the miraculous nine game winning streak that started the season will have been for nothing.