K.C Chiefs Top Ten Players PART TWO

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I was apparently far more impressed with Justin Houston’s accomplishments in 2014 than most people. Finishing .5 sacks away from the sack record is especially special. For me, J.J. Watt’s and Justin Houston’s race for the single season sack record was akin to MIckey Mantle’s and Roger Maris’ chasing down Babe Ruth’s single season home run record in 1961 (and I was around to watch that unfold on a daily basis). Now, I know the sack record holder, Michael Strahan, is no Babe Ruth in the sports legends department but the rarity of breaking the single season sack record is no less grand in my eyes.

To help place this in perspective, Houston wasn’t given every opportunity to rush the passer (e.g. coverage responsibilities and setting the edge)… while… Watt lined up along the defensive line with the singular idea of getting to the QB. Plus, in the history of the NFL, only 6 men have ever recorded 21 or more sacks in a season and Justin Houston is one of them. J.J Watt is not.

Justin Houston’s impact on the overall success of the defense is immeasurable. How do the Chiefs go from being ranked 28th in passing defense (yards per game) in 2013 to being ranked 2nd in passing defense in 2014? Yes, I agree that letting Kendrick Lewis and Dunta Robinson go was a big help but the real reason is that the Chief were able to apply much more consistent pressure on the opposing QB. The pressure that Houston and Hali could create was the primary reason for this huge change in ranking.

When a player like Houston is performing at a level that puts him the conversation for MVP of the league, then he must be the top player on his own team.

A Fit for the Chiefs

It’s hard for me to believe that there are Chiefs fans who would want to allow Justin Houston to either be traded or allowed to walk in free agency under the guise that he’ll be too expensive to sign. Houston needs to be signed this offseason because… if he’s franchised this offseason and allowed to approach free agency next year… testing the waters may be too tempting for him and then the Chiefs could be caught in the middle of a  bidding war for his services. Let’s not be near-sighted by refusing to see past the cap limit for this coming year because the Chiefs have plenty of cap space in 2016 and 2017 which is when they can structure a lion’s share of Houston’s money to come off the books.

To accomplish signing Justin Houston this offseason will obviously take restructuring and/or releasing other players. However, Houston is the heart and soul of the defense and in some ways, the Chiefs would stop being the Chiefs if he’s not on the team.

Now, let’s take a look at the Chiefs players who deserve a Top Ten consideration but aren’t quite there yet: the Honorable Mentions.

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K.C. Chiefs Top Ten Players Of 2014