Chiefs: What happens with Tamba Hali?
Kansas City Chiefs Justin Houston’s long awaited return the field is getting ever closer. With the success of linebacker Dee Ford, where does that leave veteran Tamba Hali?
The Kansas City Chiefs have been without their best pass rusher, Justin Houston, for the entire 2016 season. Even without his pressure on opposing quarterbacks the Chiefs find themselves, at 6-2 for the season and in second place in the AFC West.
Despite the lack of Houston on the field, the team has found third year player Dee Ford come on strong in Houston’s absence. Ford has had multiple sacks in three of the last four games, including three and a half sacks against the Colts. Ford was thought of as a draft bust, but he was compared to Denver pass rusher Von Miller when coming out of college. Well know it seems that he is living up to the hype.
Ford has been disruptive for teams, and a nightmare for tackles. Ford uses his great speed off the snap to bull rush the tackles and close the pocket on quarterbacks. Ford’s 9 sacks so far in 2016 lead the Chiefs by a long shot, and is third in the NFL behind the aforementioned Miller. With all the success that Ford has seen over the 2016, and the return on Justin Houston, where does all this leave the veteran Tamba Hali?
Hali has been a staple of the Kansas City Chiefs defense for over a decade. The 11th year player has unfortunately seen his production slip over the last three seasons with the team. But despite the lack of production Hali is a big part of this team. There is not a game in which Tamba is on the sideline cheering on his defense and the offense on any given play. He currently sits behind the great Derrick Thomas on the all-time sacks leader with the Chiefs with 87.5 passing the great Neil Smith.
Age and injuries have begun to pile up on Hali, and he is not the once great pass rusher he used to be. With the return of Justin Houston, maybe this very weekend, it is sad to say that Hali’s playing time might be greatly reduced. The possibilities of Houston and Ford is exactly what general manager John Dorsey foresaw when he drafted the Auburn player.
However, in reality Hali will be more of a situational and rotation player for Houston and Ford. Houston has been practicing but it will take some time for the Pro-Bowl player to get back into the full swing of the game, so Hali will still see his share of snaps.
Tamba Hali is a great player for the Kansas City Chiefs, but it looks like this might be his last year if the injures and production slips even more. The veteran signed a deal through 2018, but with the production of Ford he might find himself a cap causality, since the team has free agents like Dontari Poe and Eric Berry they need to sign. If this is it for Hali, he can hold his head high, he has been one of the best for a long time.
What do you think, Addicts? Is this the end of the Houston Hali era and the start of the Houston Ford? Let us know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.