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

Josh ScobeeSep 1 11:43a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (hamstring), DT Sen'Derrick Marks (shoulder), PK Josh Scobee (quadriceps) and OT Zane Beadles (undisclosed) are practicing Monday, Sept. 1.

Larry DonnellSep 1 11:43a

New York Giants TE Larry Donnell is the starting tight end on the team's unofficial depth chart. TE Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson are second- and third-string, respectively.

Quintin DempsSep 1 11:23a

New York Giants SS Quintin Demps is the lead kick returner, while WR Preston Parker is the lead punt returner.

Ben TateSep 1 10:52a

Cleveland Browns RB Ben Tate is expected to stay on the field on third downs, according to head coach Mike Pettine. This is good news for his PPR [ More ]

Charles BrownSep 1 10:43a

New York Giants OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and OT James Brewer (back) returned to practice Monday, Sept. 1.

Ahmad DixonSep 1 10:22a

The Dallas Cowboys released SS Ahmad Dixon.

Lonnie PryorSep 1 09:52a

The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent FB Lonnie Pryor (Buccaneers) and OG D.J. Morrell (Rams) to the practice squad.

Tony HillsSep 1 09:32a

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent LB David Hinds (Titans), TE Jacob Maxwell (Lions), CB Lowell Rose (Chargers) and WR Tommy Streeter (Buccaneers) to the practice squad. C Sam Brenner, [ More ]

Emil IgwenaguSep 1 03:53a

In addition to the previously announced signings of TE Michael Egnew and RB George Winn, the Detroit Lions inked OG Rodney Austin, FB Emil Igwenagu, S Nate Ness, WR [ More ]

Chase FordSep 1 03:42a

Nine players were signed to the Minnesota Vikings practice squad on Sunday, Aug. 31. Players joining the squad include RB Joe Banyard, WR Kain Colter, DT Isame Faciane, TE [ More ]

D.J. SmithSep 1 03:33a

The Carolina Panthers brought 10 players onto their practice squad on Sunday, Aug. 31. Players signed were CB Carrington Byndom, LB Adarius Glanton, WR Tavarres King, SS Robert Lester, [ More ]

Trevin WadeSep 1 03:22a

The New Orleans Saints signed six players to their practice squad on Sunday, Aug. 31. Signees include WR Brandon Coleman, CB Terrence Frederick, WR Seantavius Jones, OT Tavon Rooks, [ More ]

Champ BaileySep 1 02:52a

Although the New York Jets are in need of cornerbacks, they are unlikely to pursue free-agent CB Champ Bailey, who was cut by the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, [ More ]

Dee MillinerSep 1 01:02a

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls and FS Antonio Allen could start at cornerback Week 1 because of the injury to CB Dee Milliner (ankle).

Jeromey ClarySep 1 12:23a

San Diego Chargers OG Jeromey Clary (shoulder, hip) underwent hip surgery around a week ago, and his status for the 2014 season is uncertain, according to sources. Clary has [ More ]

Ryan SuccopSep 1 12:12a

Free-agent PK Ryan Succop (Chiefs) is receiving significant interest from the Tennessee Titans and could sign with them as early as Monday, Sept. 1, according to a source.

Kenjon BarnerSep 1 12:02a

Philadelphia Eagles RB Kenjon Barner (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

Vincent BrownSep 1 12:02a

San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Brown (calf) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

DeMarcus Van DykeAug 31 11:52p

Kansas City Chiefs CB DeMarcus Van Dyke (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

Jake StoneburnerAug 31 11:32p

Green Bay Packers TE Jake Stoneburner (undisclosed) and OT Aaron Adams (knee) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after they were waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

M.D. JenningsAug 31 11:22p

Chicago Bears FS M.D. Jennings (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

Steve VallosAug 31 10:33p

The Tennessee Titans released C Steve Vallos Sunday, Aug. 31.

Damian WilliamsAug 31 10:22p

The Miami Dolphins released WR Damian Williams Sunday, Aug. 31.

Mike ThomasAug 31 10:12p

The Houston Texans released WR Mike Thomas Sunday, Aug. 31.

Duke IhenachoAug 31 09:53p

The Washington Redskins have claimed SS Duke Ihenacho off waivers from the Denver Broncos.

Brandon HarrisAug 31 09:53p

The Tennessee Titans have claimed WR T.J. Graham off waivers from the Buffalo Bills, WR Kris Durham from the Detroit Lions and CB Brandon Harris from the Houston Texans.

Garrett GilkeyAug 31 09:42p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have claimed OG Garrett Gilkey off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.

MarQueis GrayAug 31 09:32p

The Minnesota Vikings have claimed TE MarQueis Gray off waivers from the Cleveland Browns and OT Michael X. Harris from the San Diego Chargers.

Brandian RossAug 31 09:22p

The Miami Dolphins have claimed CB Brandian Ross off waivers from the Oakland Raiders.

Mickey ShulerAug 31 09:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have claimed TE Mickey Shuler off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons.

Damaris JohnsonAug 31 09:12p

The Houston Texans have claimed OT Jeff Adams off waivers from the Tennessee Titans, WR Damaris Johnson from the Philadelphia Eagles and CB Darryl Morris from the San Francisco 49ers.

LaRon ByrdAug 31 09:02p

The Cleveland Browns have claimed WR LaRon Byrd off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys, OT Caylin Hauptmann from the Seattle Seahawks and RB Glenn Winston from the San Francisco 49ers.

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