The Kansas City Chiefs have a lot of very good football players, but two of them are unquestionably elite. We discussed the Buffalo Bills' need to contain one of them - running back Jamaal Charles - yesterday. Today, it's rush linebacker Tamba Hali's turn.
Hali, a sixth-year pro out of Penn State, has emerged as one of the NFL's best pass-rushing outside linebackers, and is coming off of a 15-sack season a year ago. In his last two games against Buffalo, he's recorded a combined seven tackles and 2.5 sacks. Clearly, this is a man that the Bills will need to pay attention to if they plan to let Ryan Fitzpatrick pick apart Kansas City's defense.
Beyond Hali, however, the Chiefs are trying to develop some secondary rushing options. I asked Joel Thorman of ArrowheadPride.com who we should be keeping an eye out for on Sunday.
"Keep an eye on Wallace Gilberry, who was second on the team in sacks last year," said Thorman. "He'll play in the nickel and is a little bit undersized as a real 3-4 defensive end, but has the ability to rush the passer."
Gilberry was a big factor for the Chiefs in last season's overtime win over the Bills. In that game, he recorded five tackles and a sack on Fitzpatrick, forcing a fumble on the quarterback takedown.
Thorman also says that Bills fans should be wary of rookie third-round pick Justin Houston, a speed rusher hailing from Georgia.
"He's quickly shown in the pre-season that he has a burst to him, and could be a nice complement opposite Hali in passing situations," Thorman says.