With Justin Houston on the mend, the Kansas City Chiefs desperately need the best from Tamba Hali.
Let’s be very clear about one thing from the outset; if Tamba Hali doesn’t play like a Pro Bowler while Justin Houston is sidelined, this defense is going to get abused. We can all talk about Marcus Peters and Derrick Johnson, and what has been a very talented defensive line. We can mention Eric Berry and rookie Chris Jones, and how they change the game.
All of that is true (well, it may be true with Jones). Yet, if Hali looks like an ordinary 32-year-old coming off knee surgery, it’s all for nothing. Hali only registered six sacks last year but remained one of the best in generating pressure off the edge. He’s also incredibly smart and understands how to shut down the edge against the run.
On Tuesday, Hali practiced for the first time this season. Watching the videos of him, one thing struck me immediately. Hali has definitely lost weight. Look at the footage shot by the Kansas City Star here. He looks noticeably lighter.
When Hali signed his three-year deal in March, one of the clauses in the contract dealt with his playing weight. Hali has looked bulkier over the past two seasons, something that tends to happen as players age. They remain in shape, but their bodies begin to take on an extra 10 pounds or so. Apparently, the Chiefs didn’t want to see Hali balloon into an unhealthy realm.
Here’s a little more footage for your viewing pleasure:
Kansas City is vying to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 1969. This offseason has showcased that the defense desperately need a healthy and productive Hali.