Depth makes Chiefs pass rush special

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When Gary Kubiak was a reserve quarterback for the Denver Broncos, he prepared to play against a Kansas City Chiefs pass rush that included Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith.

Some years later, Kubiak as coach of the Houston Texans is preparing a team to play against a Chiefs pass rush that also features premier edge pass rushers, but other key components as well.

“It’s impressive,’’ said Kubiak, who brings the Texans to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. “When you get 10 [sacks] in one game, it’s kind of hard to say, ‘We’ve got to block that guy.’ That’s what’s so impressive. Andy (Reid) has got such a quality team thing going on right now. That’s what good teams do. Production comes from everywhere, not one or two places. You could just see the energy they’re (playing with).’’

The Chiefs, taking advantage of a tattered opposing offensive line, sacked Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor 10 times in last week’s victory. Seven different players had at least a half-sack.

The edge pass rushers, Justin Houston (9.5 sacks) and Tamba Hali (7.5), are among the league leaders. But even taking them out of the equation, the Chiefs have 14 sacks from eight players, so they come at opposing quarterbacks from a lot of different places and angles. Nose tackle Dontari Poe has 4.5 sacks and is generating consistent push up the middle.

When the Chiefs set the club record of 60 sacks in 1990, 29.5 came from Thomas and Smith. Those Chiefs had nine other players with at least one sack.

“They’re special because they’re so balanced as a defense,’’ Kubiak said. “Both edge (pass rushers) and the nose guard (are) just playing huge for them. They’re very aggressive in their approach. You get yourself in tough third-down situations and you’re going to have a tough time holding up, not only with the things they do defensively but with the noise putting an added burden on you as a football team.’’