Tennessee Titans second-year outside linebacker Harold Landry enters Week 10 with a team-leading six sacks.
He’s yet another pass rusher that the Kansas City Chiefs will need to deal with this season.
“He’s good,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.
There’s more to Landry than just being “good,” of course, and the Chiefs must account for him Sunday — all the more so in light of KC quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ return to the starting lineup.
The 6-foot-2, 252-pound Landry has developed into one of the league’s best young pass rushers since the Titans used a second-round pick (41st overall) to select him in the 2018 NFL Draft.
One season after recording 4 1/2 sacks in his rookie year, Landry has surpassed that total already and is second on the Titans with seven quarterback hits. Landry also isn’t confined to one spot on the defensive line, as he sometimes lines up over the right or left tackle.
“Just a quick player, really quick player,” Chiefs guard Andrew Wylie said. “He’s really good with his hands. Stuff we’ve seen all year, but he kind of embraces all that stuff.”
Chiefs tackle/guard Martinas Rankin knows Landry well — personally and professionally — from facing him in 2018 while with the Houston Texans, who share a division (AFC South) with Landry and the Titans.
“He’s a guy I played against last year at tackle,” Rankin said. “He’s got a get-off, good speed. He’s got a good group of big guys to complement him, so quarterbacks don’t always have a good chance to step up and that’s when he can make his plays off the edge.
And from what he’s seen on recent tape as the Chiefs prepare to deal with the Tennessee pass-rusher, Rankin believes Landry has developed his toolbox to get up the field faster and cause havoc in the pocket.
“The difference probably between last year and this year, I think he relied on one move because it’s a move that pretty much got him into the league,” Rankin said. “It’s a good move, a speed-rush with a good dip, but now he’s starting to add other hand moves. He’s really getting better with his hands. I think that’s what is really sticking out to me.”
Landry isn’t the first stout pass rusher the Chiefs have faced this season. Kansas City’s front five have held their own this season against the like of J.J. Watt, Von Miller, Za’Darius Smith, Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen.
Landry is just next in line.
“Each week, I feel like every team has an emerging pass rusher that everybody else in the league might not talk about,” Rankin said. “But as guys that play the game every week, we see that everybody is to be respected.”
There’s little doubt Landry leads Tennessee’s defensive charge in getting after opposing quarterbacks, but the Chiefs can’t afford to solely focus on stopping him. The Titans enter Week 10 with 25 sacks, tied for eighth-most in the league.
“They’re dirty-tough, so we’ve got to make sure we go in with the right mindset,” Reid said.
Wylie agreed with his head coach’s assessment.
“All these guys up front, for how big they are, they’re pretty quick,” Wylie said. “I mean, even against double-teams they’re looking to split. These guys, their front seven, are a good group of guys and they get after it.”