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Chiefs Mailbag 12/18: Will Justin Houston break Derrick Thomas' season sack record?

Answering questions from Chiefs Kingdom

You asked, I answer:

Brad from Cairo, Nebraska: Will Justin Houston break Derrick Thomas' single-season sack record?

Right now, Justin Houston has 17 sacks on the season, which ties him with the Baltimore Ravens' Elvis Dumervil for most in the NFL.

The Chiefs franchise record for most sacks in a single season is 20 set by former Chiefs great Derrick Thomas back in 1990.

It will take 3.5 sacks in the final two games for Houston to break the record.

The Steelers have allowed 32 sacks this season and in the two games combined they've played against the Ravens, Dumervil picked up three sacks.

If Houston can get at least one this weekend, I think he can pick up at least two against the Chargers in Arrowhead, where 11 of his 17 sacks have happened, to break the record.

Houston had one sack against the Chargers earlier this season.


Bret from Sioux Center, Iowa: What's your opinion on the Steelers defense? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What can our offense do to beat them?

The Steelers are young along the defensive line and they have veterans in the defensive backfield. With defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau calling the plays, you know they're going to be aggressive with their zone blitzes.

The Steelers have allowed 6.18 yards per play this season, which ranks 31st in the NFL. Over the past two games, the Chiefs passing offense has had 11 plays of 20-plus yards, and hopefully they can continue that success against the Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday.

Also, the Steelers have allowed 50 rushes of 10-plus yards this season, which ranks 28th in the NFL.

The Chiefs will need to pick up chunk yards, either with Jamaal Charles in the run game against an aggressive up-the-field type of defensive front or through the passing game with Alex Smith, who is coming off the second best game of his Chiefs career in terms of passing yards (297).

I like the Chiefs offensive skill players' chances with the ball in their hands in space against the Steelers, but it's a matter of getting them into those positions, which is what Andy Reid and Alex Smith are working towards.

Daniel from Kansas City: A) What do you think of the team's chances of winning? B) How do you plan on winning and what are you doing to get ready?

A. What do you think of the team's chances of winning?

After the Chiefs were able to get back to being themselves against the Raiders last week, I like our chances of winning this game.

Although this is a formidable Steelers offense and the Chiefs can't expect to play poorly and win the game, but that's what you want this time of the year.

As Alex Smith said, "embrace the situation."

B. How do you plan on winning and what are you doing to get ready?

I plan on winning by writing great content at and keeping fans informed from the inside of One Arrowhead Drive, and then from Heinz Field on Sunday.

I am getting ready by bringing a coat and charging my phone and computer and trying not to trip any of the players when we get off the plane.

Photos from the Chiefs Week 15 matchup against the Raiders

Brian from Papillion, Nebraska: Looking at the draft next year, where do you see the Chiefs greatest needs at? OL? Corners? WR?

The Chiefs will deal with free agency before they draft a single player, and therefore, the roster could look different before possible scenarios get thrown around.

Development of the younger players has been the mantra since John Dorsey and Andy Reid arrived in Kansas City, and just this week Reid praised Dorsey for the work he's done in bringing in young players who are now contributing.

"It's a tribute to John Dorsey," Reid said. "We are sitting here later in the year and all of a sudden you are seeing these guys, the Albert Wilsons of the team, produce. (Zach) Fulton has continued to mature. Dee Ford, you saw him get out there the last two weeks he's had a lot of snaps and yesterday he came up with a sack, and De'Anthony (Thomas)."

Therefore, the Chiefs will look at who they currently have and how they have and will continue to develop at practice, which is something fans unfortunately don't get to see, before they start to look at picking up certain players or positional groups.

Amanda from Lenexa: Which player has surprised you the most this season?

I think it's a combination between defensive lineman Jaye Howard and linebacker Josh Mauga and not because I thought they weren't going to play well.

They weren't projected starters with Mike DeVito joining Allen Bailey and Dontari Poe along the defensive line, and Joe Mays and Derrick Johnson as the two inside linebackers.

When DeVito and Johnson went down with their season-ending achilles injuries, both Howard and Mauga were asked to play larger roles than they were initially expected.

Currently, the Chiefs allow just 18.1 points per game, which ranks fourth in the NFL and is the most important statistic for a defense when it comes to winning games. It's another credit to Dorsey and his staff as Mauga was signed right before training camp and leads the team in tackles (89), while Howard was a waiver-wire pickup last season and developed into a solid starter along the defensive line.

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