2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Chiefs linebacker Houston off to sack-filled start

By DAVE SKRETTA - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-26 11:54

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Georgia coach Mark Richt knew that Justin Houston had all the physical tools to be a smashing NFL success. The young linebacker just needed to screw his head on straight.

Well, now it's bolted on in such a way that his eyes are focused right on the quarterback.

The never-stop motor of the Kansas City defense, Houston has already piled up 7 1/2 sacks through the first three weeks. That freakish pace puts him on track to have 40 by the end of the season.

Nobody expects him to keep up that rate, of course, but the notion that Houston could at least approach the NFL record of 22 1/2 set by the Giants' Michael Strahan in 2001 is a possibility.

``Justin had the body type; he had the work ethic. I'm not surprised at all to see him do well,'' Richt said this week. ``The guy had 4 1/2 sacks in a game, so what are you going to say?''

Houston piled up that total last Thursday night in Philadelphia. He's had four games of three-plus sacks already in his career and a total of 23 in 35 games.

``I think it takes a team effort,'' said Houston, who made his first Pro Bowl last season. ``When you've got guys covering the whole time, and the big guys inside pushing the pocket, and Tamba Hali rushing from the other side, it's very easy to make plays.''

It helps that Houston has been feasting on rookie offensive tackles this season.

He abused No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel in the season opener at Jacksonville, piling up his first three sacks. In Philadelphia, it was No. 4 pick Lane Johnson who was doing his best bullfighter imitation as Houston breezed by on the outside.

Houston could get another rookie tackle Sunday, too. Justin Pugh, the 19th overall pick, will start on the right side for the Giants if David Diehl still isn't back from thumb surgery.

Pugh was part of a group that allowed Eli Manning to get sacked seven times last Sunday.

``He's got a good motor, so it's a good challenge for me,'' Pugh said of Houston.

It's hard to mimic what Houston can do, though, because there are very few players like him.

He stands an imposing 6-foot-3, 258 pounds yet has speed that could rival many running backs in the NFL. His upper body strength allows him to shed would-be blockers like he's shrugging off a sack of potatoes, while his tree trunk legs provide him leverage on bull rushes.

Then there are his hands, which stood out to Richt most of all.

``He had hands about that big,'' Richt said, holding up his own and outlining a much bigger hand around it. ``For whatever reason, they measure the hand size. They probably went crazy when they measured his hands: `Draft that guy. He's got big hands.'''

All the better to wrestle down opposing quarterbacks.

Houston was considered a first-round talent coming out of Georgia, but he slid to the third round when questions arose about his maturity. Houston reportedly tested positive for marijuana at the NFL's scouting combine, and that gave plenty of teams across the league pause.

Former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli took the risk on Houston, gambling that he would quickly grow up, and so far it's paid off. Houston has been a model teammate since he arrived.

``He gets on the field and gets mad and makes plays,'' Hali said. ``He wants to be recognized as one of the top rushers to ever play here, or play in the league.''

He's certainly off to quite the start.

``He's got to continue to work,'' coach Andy Reid said. ``We're early in the season here, and the better you do, the better teams know who you are. So you're going to get everybody's `A' game when they play against you. You have to prepare that way, take care of your business and continue to get better.''

---

AP Sports Writer Paul Newberry in Athens, Ga., contributed to this report.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Johnny ManzielAug 21 08:22a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel will not have a package of plays created for him to run off the bench, according to head coach Mike Pettine. Manziel has been [ More ]

Geno SmithAug 21 02:23a

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will start Week 1 versus the Oakland Raiders, barring an injury. The coaching staff has yet to officially name Smith the starter.

Geno AtkinsAug 21 12:53a

Cincinnati Bengals DE Geno Atkins (knee) will be ready for the regular season opener against the Baltimore Ravens Sept. 7, head coach Marvin Lewis said Wednesday, Aug. 20. In [ More ]

Walt AikensAug 21 12:53a

Miami Dolphins CB Walt Aikens (hand) is sidelined indefinitely due to a left hand injury suffered a practice earlier this week. No timetable has been established for his return.

Tyler WilsonAug 21 12:53a

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hip), DT David King (undisclosed), CB Lavelle Westbrooks (undisclosed) and QB Tyler Wilson (head) were unable to practice Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Andre SmithAug 21 12:53a

Cincinnati Bengals OT Andre Smith (concussion) said Wednesday, Aug. 20, that he expects to get cleared to play in the preseason game Sunday, Aug. 24, against the Arizona Cardinals. [ More ]

Jalil BrownAug 21 12:53a

Miami Dolphins CB Jalil Brown, CB Don Jones, FS Jordan Kovacs and FS Michael Thomas appear to be fighting for two roster spots. Thomas has reportedly had a good [ More ]

Knowshon MorenoAug 21 12:53a

Miami Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno (knee) said Wednesday, Aug. 20, that he feels good. The team wants to see him practice Thursday, Aug. 21, before deciding if he will [ More ]

Andre JohnsonAug 20 10:43p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson has showed no signs of rust from his time away from the team this offseason. Johnson had an impressive practice during joint workouts with [ More ]

Trent RichardsonAug 20 10:33p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson is off to a slow start in training camp and the preseason, posting just 34 yards in 14 attempts. At 2.4 yards per carry, [ More ]

Emmanuel SandersAug 20 10:33p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (quadriceps) was involved in practice Wednesday, Aug. 20, but he is not working in 'live' setting yet. Head coach John Fox would not rule [ More ]

Montee BallAug 20 10:33p

Denver Broncos RB Montee Ball (appendix) continues to do more work in practice each day, but most of his work continues to be outside of the team structure. However, [ More ]

LeGarrette BlountAug 20 07:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB LeGarrette Blount and RB Le'Veon Bell were charged by Ross Township Police Wednesday, Aug. 20, with marijuana possession.

Le'Veon BellAug 20 07:43p

Pittsburgh Pirates RB Le'Veon Bell and RB LeGarrette Blount were charged by Ross Township Police Wednesday, Aug. 20, with marijuana possession. Bell was also charged with driving under the [ More ]

Ryan McBeanAug 20 05:53p

The Arizona Cardinals signed DT Ryan McBean (Ravens) Wednesday, Aug. 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Colt LyerlaAug 20 05:43p

The Green Bay Packers placed TE Colt Lyerla (knee) on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Pat DevlinAug 20 05:33p

Free-agent WR Kevin Elliott (Bills), LS Chad Rempel (Bears), QB Pat Devlin (Dolphins) and DT Jibreel Black (Buccaneers) all cleared waivers Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Vontaze BurfictAug 20 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict agreed to a multi-year contract extension Wednesday, Aug. 20. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.

Isaac SopoagaAug 20 05:13p

The Arizona Cardinals signed DT Isaac Sopoaga (Patriots) Wednesday, Aug. 20, per a league source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Jordan NorwoodAug 20 04:53p

Denver Broncos WR Jordan Norwood (knee) suffered a torn acute cruciate ligament in practice Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Isaiah PeadAug 20 04:33p

The St. Louis Rams waived RB Isaiah Pead (knee) with a waived/injured designation Wednesday, Aug. 20. Pead will revert back to the roster if he clears waivers.

Phillip TannerAug 20 03:43p

The Indianapolis Colts waived RB Phillip Tanner Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Dexter McDougleAug 20 03:43p

The New York Jets placed CB Dexter McDougle (knee) on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 20.

David FluellenAug 20 03:23p

The Indianapolis Colts acquired RB David Fluellen (Eagles) in exchange for PK Cody Parkey Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Desmond BryantAug 20 02:53p

Cleveland Browns DE Desmond Bryant (wrist) recently underwent wrist surgery. Head coach Mike Pettine said he is not sure if Bryant will be available to play Week 1.

S. SylvesterAug 20 02:43p

The Buffalo Bills have placed LB Stevenson Sylvester (undisclosed) on the Reserve/Injured list.

Michael CrabtreeAug 20 02:33p

San Francisco 49ers WR Michael Crabtree said he did not feel like himself when he returned from offseason Achilles' tendon surgery last season. 'I was fast enough to be [ More ]

Fendi OnobunAug 20 02:23p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have waived/injured TE Fendi Onobun (knee).

Eric KettaniAug 20 02:23p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed free-agent FB Eric Kettani (Chiefs). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Sebastian VollmerAug 20 01:13p

New England Patriots OT Sebastian Vollmer (undisclosed) was not on the field during practice Wednesday, Aug. 20. Vollmer has missed the last three practices because of an undisclosed reason.

Peyton HillisAug 20 01:03p

New York Giants CB Prince Amukamara (groin), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring), RB Peyton Hillis (ankle, foot), OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and OT James Brewer (back) are not participating in practice Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Cody WallaceAug 20 12:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Shaquille Richardson (knee), LB Jordan Zumwalt (hamstring), TE Eric Waters (concussion), C Cody Wallace (finger) and LS Greg Warren (knee) will not play in the third preseason game.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group