Justin Houston recorded two tackles and a quarterback pressure in his 2016 debut on Sunday against Tampa Bay, but perhaps the most interesting thing about his performance was the fact he played 55 of 77 possible defensive snaps, more than any other Chiefs outside linebacker.
“We were just going to let him play until he said that he needed a break,” said defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, who noted the Chiefs did the same with Eric Berry a year ago. “Sometimes they might error on the fact that they don’t want to come off the field, so we have to watch that a little bit, but he’s a pro and he understands what we’re doing and how important it is and also the fact that there’s still a lot of football to be played.”
Sutton said he expects Houston, who is making his way back from offseason knee surgery, to recover his full 22-sack form with more playing time.
“I think the number-one thing is your reaction time becomes faster and quicker the more you’re out there and the more you experience it,” Sutton said. “It’s just the ability to hit those things and accelerate and do all those things that he probably wants to do and maybe can’t do them quite as fast as you normally do. That’s going to happen to any player that hasn’t practiced, that had to sit, he’s going from completely shut down to full play. That’s a big jump.
“I thought overall he did a good job … and I think you’re going to see Justin get better and better.”