Oct 13, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (left) celebrates with outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) after a sack against the Oakland Raiders in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 24-7. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Five NFL Pass Rushes To Fear in 2014


Nothing can wreck devastation on an NFL offense more than a pass rush.  Which ones could be the very best in 2014?

Von Miller and Demarcus Ware – Denver Broncos

On paper this new duo looks devastating.  Von Miller in his prime and the ever-effective veteran Demarcus Ware joining forces.  Granted, there are a lot of questions to sort through.  Can Miller stay healthy and out of trouble?  Is Ware getting a little too old?  Valid points.  At the same time, both have never been able to play across from a player of each others’ caliber before.  Combine that with the likelihood of see a lot of leads courtesy of Peyton Manning and these two could wreck havoc for the Denver Broncos.

J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney – Houston Texans

The potential of this pairing is downright ludicrous.  J.J. Watt by himself is probably the best pass rusher in the entire NFL.  Now throw in Jadeveon Clowney, arguably the most freakishly athletic specimen to come out of college in a decade and the Houston Texans have the makings of a true unstoppable pass rush.  Obviously Clowney has some issues to work through, namely his health and questions of his motor.  Still, with Watt there to guide him there is no reason to think he can’t adapt quickly.  If they even reach a third of their potential together, quarterbacks everywhere will cower in fear.

Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers – Green Bay Packers

It’s really hard to bet against two players who have 12 Pro Bowls between them.  Indeed there is no question the pairing of Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers has a chance to take offenses by storm.  However, it’s important to note some things have to go in their favor.  Matthews must get over recent health issues.  He has missed ten games over the past three seasons with a variety of ailments.  Peppers must prove he can play at his customary level despite being 34-years old and coming off an underwhelming final season in Chicago.  It’s a lot to ask for, but the Packers have a history of making it work.

Robert Quinn and Chris Long – St. Louis Rams

It was one of the best NFL groups in 2013 and should be again this season.  Robert Quinn has evolved into one of the best pure quarterback killers in the game, posting 19 sacks last year alone.  His wingman Chris Long proved an able supported with 8.5 of his own.  Each is still under the age of 30 and have help coming in the guise of rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald, viewed as the best interior pass rusher coming out of college.   His presence could create even more opportunities for Quinn and Long, which might be misconstrued as unfair.

Tamba Hali and Justin Houston – Kansas City Chiefs

There were more than two players who made the defense of the Kansas City Chiefs so effective in 2013, but the core of that success came from the disruptive ability of outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.  Together they posted 22 sacks last season, and that was with Houston missing five games and Hali missing one.  How much better could they be if they can complete a full campaign together?  That is what the Chiefs want to find out and the rest of the NFL doesn’t.

Tags: Denver Broncos Featured Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Kansas City Chiefs NFL Popular St. Louis Rams

  • Jay

    Khalil Mack and Sio Moore just watch

    • Erik Lambert

      I will. High expectations.

  • Marshall summerlin

    cam wake and Olivier Vernon as well as Dion Jordan just watch him all this year

    • Erik Lambert

      They were my sixth.

      • Marshall summerlin

        that’s cool Eric I did not see that thanks…..that has been in about the right spot then

  • JasonB

    The entire Panther front seven. They’re gonna have QBs pooping a little every snap.

    • Erik Lambert

      Provided their secondary can cover anybody.

      • Don Andrew Halvorson

        Worst WR, worst O line, worst secondary. Hard to believe them as a playoff team last season.

    • JasonB

      I love how everyone wrote them off last year and they earned a first round bi in the playoffs. I bet we suprize you doubters again. I’m not saying things don’t look bad on paper but we looked bad on paper in those areas last year too. And our secondary and WR corps look to be in better shape this year than last year. Only time will tell. GPKP!!!!

  • Jacob

    Manning showed the league how to beat the Chiefs last year. Attack the weak secondary quickly. The secondary is even weaker this year, so I won’t be surprised to see the Chiefs defense getting lit up all year.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    • Reggie Flenory

      Throw in dee ford and better dline play manning wont have the time to sitt back there ljke last yr also we put ZERO pressure on him last yr every above aver qb killed our secondary this yr not so much but we will see

    • Josh Landers

      Actually with Lewis leaving, I think our secondary has been upgraded. Abdullah I think will be a welcome change at fs along with commings. Flowers is gone but Chris Owens was rated as one of the better slot cbs last year and cooper is going through his first kc training camp in his second year. I only hope Gaines can push smith out sooner rather than later. Probably won’t be this year but maybe next. To me, o-line is our biggest concern.

      • Jacob

        High risk, high reward going with Abdullah or even Commings as the single high, not to mention starting Parker and Cooper as the starting CBs. Hell, Sean Smith probably wouldn’t perform much better than Parker. Dorsey is gambling a lot on the young guys. If Cooper can learn from last year and not make as many mistakes, and if Gaines can usurp the 2nd CB spot (by earning it, of course), the Chiefs secondary may be okay, but these are all unknowns right now. I don’t have much faith, and I will wait until I’m proven wrong to change my mind.

      • Kisersosay

        The back end of the defense has certainly gotten a lot faster. Speed kills…..I am just not sure yet who will get killed….them or us…..It will be interesting…

  • Reggie Flenory

    Dee ford added to this chiefs group is gonna be scary expect to see a lotta nickle pagages this yr from bob suttons defense so all three will be on the field ford,houston,hali

    • Lukeskywalker88

      Ford has a lot to learn. Right now he’s just very quick. That doesn’t win in the NFL; he’s more of a project. He might not be very productive until 2015 or 2016.

      • Josh Landers

        If reports from camp can be believed, he’s further ahead than you might think. And as far as that goes, there are very few (if any) rookies that are not projects.

        • Reggie Flenory

          Very tru just watch what this man does this yr

        • scott steven

          right especially a First round pick. They don’t pay millions for a project they get playing time their rookie season

      • Reggie Flenory

        Respectfully dis agree hes getting 1st team reps right now because of the justin houstin hold out has been since rookie mini camp and onfe houston get back the chiefs will primarly run a nickle package which will allow all three to be on the field at the same time when that happens off. Coordinators wont be able to double all of them so he will get alot of one on one match ups i see him getting at least 5-7 sacks this yr

  • tim tripp

    Add Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap to that list

    • Erik Lambert

      I’m waiting to see about that knee with Geno.

  • Chad Jensen

    If the top of this list is Ware/Miller, I fully support this message.

  • Jesus Is Superman!

    The Rams front four look nasty!

    • Reggie Flenory

      Cant even front rams front 7 gonna be scary

  • Chiroubles

    It’s “wreak”, not “wreck”. Wreck is something you do to a car….

    • Erik Lambert

      I know, chiroubles. I chose the word deliberately because offensive lines are going to feel “wrecked” when it’s all said and done.

  • David A Maupin

    No Allen with Houston? I think they might surprise people.

    Also I would put San Francisco in there too provided they have all their guys on the field opposed to being hurt or suspended.

    • Erik Lambert

      Allen and Houston are interesting but there are a lot of variables with them I wasn’t comfortable with. Allen being in a new system and 32-years old. Houston never notching double digit sacks. On paper it looks good, but not enough for top five. San Francisco has its ways but they suffer from consistency problems, especially regarding Aldon Smith.

  • anon76returns

    Pass rushing duos are fun, but I’m more interested in the total pass rushing package, which is what I took the article headline to imply. KC of course has Poe + the DEs to add into the mix, Hou has the other DE & OLB plus their NT, etc. At that point I believe Seattle and Buffalo (as well as AZ & Car) would be do for some mentions, as they had the highest rate of pressures on QB last season.
    As a Bronco fan I’m also excited. If Ware and Miller come through healthy and play to potential they are the best duo (IMO), but even 2 rushers can be schemed against and stopped. I’m eager to see what Knighton, Williams, and Wolfe/Jackson can do to add interior pressure, especially when they’ll be receiving fairly little attention from the O-line in terms of double teams.

    • Erik Lambert

      Typically a pass rush does center around two key players. In New Orleans it was Cameron Jordan and Junior Gallette. In New England it was Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. Some teams do have a third contributor worth mentioning as I did with St. Louis but more often than not it’s the primary duo that will drive the ship.

    • Kisersosay

      Ware is the wild card in this duo. If he can bounce back into form and not repeat last year’s dismal performance then watch out. Problem is what happens when one or both are out….oh never mind ….you have Payton F’ing Manning….no worries….