Alex Smith On Justin Houston: “I think he and Tamba Hali are elite players”


Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs’ outside linebacker Justin Houston has been receiving a ton of attention as of late, and for good reason.

Houston is quickly becoming one of the most explosive and effective linebackers in the NFL, and his stats go a long way to back up that statement. In three games this season, Houston has racked up 7.5 sacks to go along with 16 tackles and two fumble recoveries.

He’s currently the leading rusher in the NFL—the Colts’ Robert Mathis has 4.5 sacks—and he’s won the AFC Defensive Player of the Week award twice this season.

Simply put, Houston is a star.

Elite is a word that’s often times used to describe the best players in the NFL, and it was a word that Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith had no problem using to describe Houston, per a recent press release, along with fellow outside linebacker Tamba Hali:

"Both our guys outside, I think he and Tamba (Hali) are elite players. They really do a great job every single play. They have great motors and are really talented guys. I’m happy they’re on my side. ”"

Defensive end Mike Catapano also took time to discuss #50 and why he’s been so good:

"“The dedication to the little things. This game at this level, the talent level, what separates people are the little things. Everybody’s got talent, everybody’s got speed, everybody’s big and fast. What it comes down to with him – what I’ve seen – is really his dedication to the little things. And that’s what makes the best the best, and this the cream of the crop in the NFL.”"

For his part, Houston seemed to take things in stride, handling the praise humbly and crediting the Chiefs’ defense as a whole:

“I think it’s a team effort. When you’ve got guys covering their guys the whole time and the big guys in the middle pushing the pocket and Tamba [Hali] rushing from the other side, it’s very easy to make plays.”

Kansas City currently leads the NFL in sacks as a team with 15, per ESPN. Bob Sutton’s defense is also ranked No. 8 in total defense, tied with New England.