KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It became evident Monday, when outside linebacker Justin Houston wandered through the locker room with his dislocated elbow tightly wrapped, that it was a good idea for the Kansas City Chiefs to prepare for life without him.
Or at least to prepare for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos without him. There's no way to paint that as good news for the Chiefs, not with Houston among the league leaders in sacks with 11 and having a strong all-around season.
The Chiefs might have been able to survive against the Broncos without Houston if they had a healthy Tamba Hali at the other outside linebacker spot. But Hali has a sprained ankle and while his chances of playing against Denver are better than Houston's, it's no sure thing. Even if Hali plays, he is likely to be at something less than 100 percent.
The Chiefs tried to prepare for this eventuality during the offseason when they signed veteran Frank Zombo from Green Bay as a free agent. Zombo showed some strong pass-rush skills during the preseason. He's not Houston, but he would play in that spot on Sunday if Houston isn't available.
The Chiefs also claimed Dezman Moses off waivers from Green Bay to start the regular season. Moses filled in admirably as a rookie last season for the Packers, replacing the injured Clay Matthews. He also was forced into the lineup last week against the San Diego Chargers after the injuries to Hali and Houston, but wasn't particularly effective.
Not a great time for the Chiefs to be patching huge holes, not with the highest-scoring team in the league coming to Kansas City. But those preparations have already begun.