INDIANAPOLIS – For a guy who has played in the trenches for going on 10 years in the NFL, and is over the age of 30, a question about his desire to keep on playing football is more than fair.
Justin Houston hears it, and like he usually does, quickly silences such a thought.
“I definitely want to continue to play football,” the 31-year-old pass rusher, who is entering a contract year, says.
Considering Houston is coming off a double-digit sack season (for the first time since 2014) and having played in all 16 games (also for the first time since 2014), it makes plenty of sense why he sees another contract in his future.
“I’ve definitely shown I still have plenty in the tank, and I’m ready to show it again,” the second-year Colt says. “There’s still a lot left in me. I’m definitely going to show it this year. I’m ready to get started.”
A change of scenery last offseason, plus a position switch—for the first time in Houston’s career—led to him getting back to the reliability that he had earlier in his time with Kansas City.
It’s that dependability which has impressed his new position coach from afar.
“Looking at where he’s been and how he’s done it at the different positions he’s done it from, the key has been just his consistency,” new defensive line coach Brian Baker says of Houston. “He understands who he is as a football player. He understands who he is as a pass rusher. You see him even in walkthroughs at the tempo we do them going through those same mechanics of what makes him really good.
“He understands he doesn’t have to do a thousand different things, but if you do a couple things really, really well, then you can be productive. I just see that from him every day. The thing that I think has made him special over the years is just the consistency of his technique.”
Houston is the headliner of one of the more intriguing positions groups on the team.
Many are curious of what the future holds for former defensive end second-round picks Kemoko Turay, Ben Banogu and versatile option Tyquan Lewis.
How they develop here in 2020 could impact how important of a free agent Houston is to bring back next offseason.
The addition of DeForest Buckner is music to the ears of Houston, knowing that some more favorable matchups should be coming his way this fall.
“I feel like when you have a guy like that up the middle, the guard can’t slide out and help as much as he usually does,” Houston explains. “They definitely have to take care of him before they take care of me, and that will give me more of a one-on-one opportunity.”
And how does Houston feel about those 1-on-1 matchups?
“I definitely believe in myself,” a smirking Houston says.
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