1. Running Game is Set - Larry Johnson can be one of the best backs in the NFL. Jamaal Charles displays Leon Washington-like potential and could become a real gamebreaker on game day. Kolby Smith could provide a more than adequate third down back. Javarris Williams ran like hell in Division 1-AA. It'd be nice in these pre-season games to come away with the feeling that all this pressure isn't necessary.
Think about this. If the running game isn't absolutely set, almost all of the following must happen: Brad Cottam must step up at the tight end position; someone must emerge at the receiver position out of the stuck-in-potential crowd of Terrance Copper, Devard Darling, Jeff Webb, Mark Bradley; veterans like Amani Toomer and Bobby Engram must deliver an unexpectedly productive veteran performance.
Some of these might still come true either way but what if LJ, Charles, Smith and Williams step up in a major way. If the running game is set, the Chiefs could really be a force this season. Think about the success the Vikings have had with a trash can at the quarterback position and a comparable receiving corps. (Of course, it helps to have a killer defense, but the point still stands. Adrian Peterson simply is the offense.)
More hopes after the jump...
2. Old Faces Thrive In New Places - The dream would be to find Tamba Hali finally delivering the pass rush force and Glenn Dorsey blossoming into the force on the d-line we believed he would eventually be when we drafted him. The latter is much more plausible than the former, but both guys have the potential to do just that.
If Dorsey steps up his game and becomes that Sapp-like force on the line, he will elevate the game of everybody around him. Players like that change the entire face of the game with their ability to handle multiple offensive linemen and free up his team mates to make plays on the ball. We don't even need multiple players to step up, but just key guys like Dorsey to realize their potential.
3. Scott Pioli Still Holds His Draft Magic - More than possibly anything else, it'd be wonderful to find Alex Magee and Tyson Jackson are both solid-to-above average starters on the defensive line in their first season in the NFL. It'd be equally as impressive if Ryan Succop can become a great NFL kicker. It'd be fantastic if Donald Washington could capitalize on his athleticism and become a force in the defensive backfield. It'd be a dream if Colin Brown's work in camp at both guard and tackle provided much-needed flexibility and relief on the right side.
4. Matt Cassel's The Real Deal - Preseason won't tell us this at all. We'll really only begin to uncover this when he stares down the Baltimore defense in Week One and makes something happen against perhaps the most intimidating front seven in all of football. But signs of life could be found in the chemistry Cassel begins to develop with Bowe, Cottam, Engram and Toomer. It can be found in the way he carries the huddle and the confidence that could come with a few preseason wins. And really, after last season's performance, there's little reason for this not to come true.
5. No Injuries - This is the bottom line. The ultimate hope is the Chiefs line up exactly the players they want as their 22 starters on opening day, not having to deal with a profound and unfortunate injury to a key performer in the preseason.