Justin Houston on Colts: I wanted to be in 4-3 defense


Justin Houston's relationship with Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard certainly played a role with the pass rusher landing in Indy. There was a bigger reason: a switch to a 4-3.

Houston told NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Wednesday that no longer dropping back in coverage on a chunk of his plays is his goal moving forward the rest of his career.

"I just wanted to be in a 4-3 (defense)," Houston said. "I think I didn't get enough credit for me being in a 3-4, and dropping a lot of the time, so my sack numbers weren't as high as I would like for them to be. So just being in a 4-3 and don't have to think about dropping no more is something I want to do for the rest of my career. I just want to go forward and rush the passer."

Houston compiled 78.5 sacks in eight seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, all of them playing in a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker. The pass rusher hasn't broken the double-digit sack barrier since his 22 QB takedowns in 2014. The 30-year-old previously noted he played his first three years in college at Georgia playing in a 4-3.

Switching schemes isn't always easy, but for a veteran like Houston becoming a full-time edge rusher not asked to drop back in coverage much, the transition in Indy should be fluid. The veteran showed down the stretch last season that when healthy, he can still pack a punch and collapse the pocket. In the last four regular-season games he compiled five sacks and generated two more against the Colts in a playoff win for the Chiefs.

One interesting aspect to Houston's 4-3 comments is Kansas City is currently moving to a 4-3 under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. While Houston's age and contract figure played a bigger role in the team's decision to cut him than concerns about how he would transition to a 4-3, any success he has in Indianapolis this season will add additional burn to K.C. fans who were saddened to see the long-time vet jettisoned.