I make no promises that this is going to be a regular segment. Absolutely none.
1. Finally, we face a real offense! Are we about to be exposed? I believe this team is on the path to redemption, but it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Particularly for our defense: we boast little passrush, our best DT is a rookie, our LB corps is thin and may have a massive hole at MLB, and our secondary is talented but incredibly young. Everybody could hold their own against the laughably lousy Bears offense, but the Cardinals offense is another level of trouble: their QBs are uniformly more talented, their OL is bigger and better, their rungame doesn't depend on a rookie, and little needs to be said about their WRs. This unit may be too much to handle.
2. Will we generate any pass rush? The biggest deficiency in the Chiefs' solid defensive effort against the woeful offense of the Bears was a complete lack of pressure on the QBs. Demoting Boone and placing McBride on the strong side will definitely help matters, but it will not fix them. Our pass rush is in serious condition, folks. Hali will do what he does, but this far in his career he's proven to be an every-down DE that's good at a lot of things, but not great at any. He is no sack specialist. McBride has not generated much excitement (from anyone other than Adam Best). And if Johnston emerges as a DE in this league, it won't be this year. He needs time. If you want to keep your eye out on a sleeper, there's been some buzz around the quick Jason Parker, so keep your eyes on #92.
3. Will the right side of the line get their act together? The only obvious sack that the Croyle-led offense gave up against the Bears' blitz-free, vanilla defense was McIntosh simply getting beat around the corner. The only stuff of LJ occurred when Adrian Jones allowed a DT to slide through completely untouched to slam into Two-Sev six yards behind the line of scrimmage. This right side is leaky, and for their one game so far, they've struggled.
4. Can our corners handle the best WR tandem in the NFL? Boldin and Fitzgerald are Pro Bowlers, with a pair of good QBs to get the ball out. They will likely only suit up for a couple series before retiring for the evening. But the time they are on the field will tell us a lot about the character of our young guys. It seems inevitable to me that someone is going to get utterly embarrassed. That's not the issue for me. I'm more concerned with how our young guys would react. It helps to have a short memory at corner, and we're going to see exactly how tough, how focused, and how intense our corners can be. (For the record, Flowers has a great record of rising to the occasion.)
5. Will Herb continue to play well? The most pleasant surprise of the Chicago game last week was the emergence of Herb Taylor at LT, filling in for the still-injured Brandon Albert. It was pointed out to me tonight that Mike Lombardi agrees. The possibilities behind this are serious. We may actually have legit starting talent in Herb Taylor. What if we have starting talent in Barry Richardson? Dare I dream of the day that the Chiefs actually fastened down the right side of their line with a pair of 6th rounders?
6. Will Darling finally emerge? Among the many reports emanating from River Falls, and the performance we witnessed against the Bears, Devard "DVD" Darling has not generated much excitement from anybody that I can tell outside of Warpaint. Here at AP, we've all lost a degree of faith in him as we continue to be underwhelmed. The good news, really to all of this, is that it's just one preseason game into the league. But DVD's route-running looked sluggish and I never spied a moment, rewatching the game, where he had shaken off his coverage.
7. How many minds will Sippio have blown by the final whistle? After Gretz's enthusiastic defense of reserve WR Bobby Sippio, how can you not pull for this guy? The battle for the 5th receiving spot is still completely up for grabs. (Bowe, Franklin, Darling, and probably Webb are locks.) Price has looked fast and great at running routes. Jabari Arthur and Kevin McMahan got on the board last week. Hell, the Chiefs might elect to fill the 5th spot with either BJ Sams or currently-injured rookie Kevin Robinson, who are returners but teams virtually never keep five receivers + a returning specialist. Can Sippio fend them all off? My brain says Price... my heart says differently.
8. Can Savage or Battle make enough happen to sneak onto the roster? After studying my crystal ball, I suspect that the Chiefs are going to be working the hell out of Savage for the remainder of preseason. He will probably garner more carries than any other RB, as the Chiefs either wonder if he's worth moving the earth to try and fit him in our crowded backfield, or to dangle him as preseason trade bait. Jackie Battle has run strong, but that's why I suspect we've got no room for him. We've already got a guy who can run that strong, maybe you've heard of him. I see Battle and I think practice squad.
9. Which kicker will make the most of his chances? Second verse, same as the first. Neither kicker has been able to reach the endzone on kickoffs, which hasn't been pleasant. Barth has had his game opportunity so far, and nailed a decent 37-yarder. Here's hoping for more chances come this evening. I'm sure the Chiefs have Feeley (and worse yet... Morten Andereson) on speed dial.
10. Who can make a name for himself returning kicks? Nobody has really shown a Justin Phinisee-like presense returning kicks this preseason, which has got to make Kevin Robinson happy. Sams doesn't even appear to want the job. C'mon BJ! Throw caution to the wind! (Phinisee, who looked phenomenal in the 2007 preseason returning kicks for the Chiefs, is a free agent. I'm just saying...)