What To Expect From The Chiefs’ Dee Ford

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Against Pittsburgh in Week 16, Sutton put the trio on the field for a key third down late in the first quarter:

As labeled above, you see Ford coming off the right edge and Hali from the left. The wrinkle? Houston with his hand on the ground next to Dontari Poe. The Chiefs are in their nickel package here. So what happens? Let’s take a look.

Ford has gained the edge and is about to force Ben Roethlisberger up into the pocket. Houston, circled, is drawing a double-team while Poe and Hali collapse the pocket in 1-on-1 battles. It is important to note that Kansas City did not have to blitz, only bringing four. This allows the Chiefs to blanket the receivers, back and tight end coming into the pattern with an extra defender to spare.

The result of this play was Ford being draped on Roethlisberger as he chucked an incomplete pass into the ground (replay showed that Ford actually strip-sacked Roethlisberger, but the play was not challenged).

Expect to see this formation plenty with Derrick Johnson getting on the field in place of Josh Mauga. The best part of this for Sutton is the multiple blitzes and rushes he can call with this amount of talent up front. Kansas City can run various loops and stunts while putting the league’s best pass-rusher all over the field. This is where Houston’s value shows up even beyond the box score. Pittsburgh decided to let the NFL’s most dominant nose tackle have a single-team while putting two linemen on Houston.

Keeping Hali on the team gives the Chiefs a trio of men who can cause havoc off the edge, which brings us to another formation to watch for. Sutton will mix in Allen Bailey, putting him next to Poe while Kansas City overloads one side with some combination of Hali, Houston and Ford. The essence of football is causing a split-second of indecision, something Sutton can create in spades with this subpackage.

Ford was used sparingly in 2014. Look for No. 55 much more come September.