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Colts’ Justin Houston won’t let return to Kansas City affect preparation

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts pass-rusher Justin Houston would like to be returning to Kansas City with a better stat line.

But that won’t be the case for Houston when the Colts take on the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). Houston, who spent the first eight years of his NFL career with the Chiefs and was the Colts’ most significant offseason free-agent signing, has one sack and three quarterback hits in 173 snaps while also serving as mentor for some of the Colts’ young pass-rushers this season.

“I’m trying not to think about [returning],” Houston said Thursday. “Don’t want it to get in the way of what I have to do. Going to play a game and not worry about my past.”

Houston had 78.5 sacks, including 22 in 2014, in 102 career games with Kansas City. The Chiefs opted not to re-sign Houston last offseason when they went from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The Colts run a 4-3 defense under coordinator Matt Eberflus.

Chiefs quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes told Kansas City reporters earlier this week he hopes his former teammate won’t be “hitting me too much.”

The individual sacks haven’t been there for Houston so far this season, but his presence was felt early on. His lone sack came in Week 1 during a stretch where the Colts had eight sacks as a defense. But the quarterback pressure hasn’t been there the past two weeks, as they had one sack against Atlanta and Oakland.

Mahomes, who leads the NFL’s highest-scoring offense at 33.8 points a game, has been sacked three times while throwing for 1,510 yards this season.

“Well, obviously we need better. We need better,” Eberflus said. “We get four sacks in the first two games, each of those games. So we just need to be better. Those guys know that. They need to win their one-on-one matchups.”

Houston, who turned 30 in January, will be the first to say he’s not an outspoken person. He lets his “actions speak for itself,” he said.

“I talk sometimes, more so when the guys ask me questions, but I just like to show them,” Houston said. “And not just talk about it, be about it.”

The Colts have some young pass-rushers in Kemoko Turay, Ben Banogu and Al-Quadin Muhammad, and the three defensive ends routinely ask Houston questions on how to excel at the position. Their lockers are located the same general area as Houston’s locker.

“For a guy who is pretty quiet, he gives advice everyday,” Turay said. “One of the best things he’s said to me is that I have to learn to be a pass-rusher on both sides, the left and the right. Keep studying. Study the opponent. Put it on film that you play both sides and then you’re giving O-linemen more to study instead of just one thing to study. You’re playing chess with them. Pass rush is a chess game. We’re a young group on defense, but having guys like Justin and Jabaal [Sheard] with us is going to help us today and down the road.”

via ESPN

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