Many happy returns
Two weeks ago, Tamba Hali rejoined the Chiefs after spending the first half of the season on the PUP list. Upon entering the game, it was clear he would need some time before he would be able to play the majority of snaps in a game, but he also played with an intensity and energy that was a clear notch above everyone else. He was a motivated man and that bodes well for the rest of the season.
Remember a few months ago, Hali, a typically quiet man and leader who let his work speak for itself, decided to make his case public by asking (demanding?) more snaps in key times to show what he can do. Well, the Chiefs are certainly in a scenario right now where they’re asking for someone to step up and provide some semblance of a pass rush other than Houston, who himself is dealing with the physical demands of an NFL season. It’s time for Hali to step in and he seems anxious to do so.
This week, Dadi Nicolas is also back from injury after spending the first half of the season next to Hali on the injured list. Nicolas is back in practice and the Chiefs still have a few weeks to decide whether to activate him to the main roster or not. (He’d be placed on injured reserve and lost for the year if not.)
Nicolas is not a savior of any kind. Let’s make that clear. He’s a developmental outside linebacker who was the team’s sixth round choice just last season who earned some nice experience as a special teams player in 2016. However he did have 17 career sacks at Virginia Tech (and 35.5 tackles for loss) which means he knows how to push the pocket and disrupt gaps to get after the ball carrier.
More importantly, the return of Hali and Nicolas combines with Houston to give the Chiefs some healthy bodies to line up at pass rusher to even try to make something happen. But the good news is that there’s even more on the way.