Tamba Hali, Justin Houston draw major praise


Kansas City Chiefs outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are drawing huge praise.

Gil Brandt is considered the godfather of modern scouting in the National Football League. He has seen it all since the 1960s and so getting praise from him is a major honor.

Brandt now contributes as a writer to NFL.com and wrote a recent piece about building the perfect pass-rusher. His example for relentless effort? Tamba Hali. Per the piece:

"The best pass rushers never give up on the play; they might get pushed back initially, but they just keep going, circling around and battling their blocker until they get the sack. The relentless pass rusher is technically proficient, speedy, strong and competitive. The Chiefs veteran is on the downside of his career, but the 11th-year pro uses his speed, quickness and technique to apply non-stop pressure to his man. You could also list J.J. Watt — whose game relies more on strength than Hali’s does — here."

Hali has been known for his motor throughout his career. He’s also revered for the use of his hands, always swatting down the advances of offensive tackles with quickness and strength. It’s been impressive to watch over the years and has led to 86 career sacks.

More impressive than the sacks, however, has been his ability to create pressure. Even last year, at the ripe age of 32, Hali was among the league leaders in pressures. It’s become his hallmark and it’s why the Chiefs signed him to a new three-year deal.

Brandt also praised the work of Justin Houston, stating that he is the best at going from speed to power. Anybody who has watched Houston over the first five years of his career would certainly agree. Houston has the freakish ability to get into the blocker’s chest and then drive him back. Per Brandt:

"Houston’s availability to start the 2016 season is in doubt, but when he’s healthy, the Chiefs‘ pass rusher is one of the best at setting up his blocker with speed and then powering past him to the passer. The 6-3, 258-pound OLB is an athlete (4.68 40, 36 1/2-inch vertical, 10-5 broad jump at the combine) who is really at his best rushing the passer. Offensive linemen like to use their hands, but Houston uses his big mitts (11 inches) and long arms (34 1/2 inches) to rip the blockers off of him; he’s just too big, strong and long."

With Houston and Hali screaming off the edges, the Chiefs should feel very good about 2016.