Red Zone

Chiefs look for ways to exploit talents of pass-rushing trio

The Chiefs are likely to use rookie linebacker Dee Ford (55) to spell veterans Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, which should help keep them fresh and reduce the risk of injury.
The Chiefs are likely to use rookie linebacker Dee Ford (55) to spell veterans Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, which should help keep them fresh and reduce the risk of injury. The Associated Press

It may not happen right away (and almost certainly won’t happen often), but the Chiefs hope to find a way to get sack masters Tamba Hali and Justin Houston on the field at the same time as first-round pick Dee Ford during the upcoming season.

“Anytime you have a unique skill — whether it’s cover, rush or whatever — we’re going to try to find a way to use that,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “Whether we have to create a little personnel group to do that or whatever, we’ll attempt to do that.”

Hali and Houston both had 11 sacks last season, while Ford, who was the No. 23 overall selection, had 101/2 sacks in 11 games for national runner-up Auburn.

Sutton said the Chiefs are focused on installing the base defense and sub packages, including the nickel and dime looks.

“We haven’t gotten to any of the big personnel groupings like you’re talking, but I’m sure, at some point, we’re going to have all those guys out there,” Sutton said.

The trouble with putting all three on the field at the same time is that none is adept at coverage drops, but it could be an interesting curveball in certain pass-rush situations — perhaps as a nickel package with Houston and Ford lining up as if to rush and one dropping off with a tight end.

More likely, however, Ford will be used to spell Hali and Houston, which should help keep them fresh and reduce the risk of injury.

“I’m sure down the road, we’re going to try to figure out a way to get all those guys on the field,” Sutton said. “They’re all good players. Obviously, it would give us the ability to rotate, which is really valuable because it gives everybody a chance to re-gas up a little bit and get ready to go. I think it will be really a positive thing for us.”

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/todpalmer.

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