The Kansas City Chiefs will be without one of their ferocious pass rushers for at least the beginning of the 2016 season.
The Chiefs have placed outside linebacker Justin Houston on the physically unable to perform list, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. This means the sixth-year pro will miss at least the first six weeks of the regular season.
The move doesn’t exactly come as a shocker. Houston underwent surgery to repair his left ACL in February and the timetable for his recovery was anywhere from six to 12 months. It would have been a very pleasant surprise if Houston was healthy by now.
That doesn’t make things any easier for Kansas City’s defense. Houston recorded 7.5 sacks last season after an insane 22-sack campaign in 2014.
The Chiefs also learned that starting inside linebacker Josh Mauga would miss the entire season with a torn labrum, according to The Kansas City Star’s Terez A. Paylor.
That means a unit that ranked fourth in the NFL in sacks and eighth in rush defense will be without two prominent front-seven players for at least the first six weeks of the regular season. Houston’s absence will open up an opportunity for 2014 first-round pick Dee Ford to make an impact. The Chiefs could slot in Ramik Wilson, D.J. Alexander or Tyrell Adams into Mauga’s spot.