Some random thoughts as we near 2012 season...
I really like the make up and depth of this team however there a few concerns for me and I am sure I am not pointing out anything too new here, but here goes:
The health and availability of the defense- Tamba will only miss one game, but what a game to miss. The Falcons are one of the better teams in the league offensively and with Ryan, White, Jones, Gonzalez, Turner, etc they will be a handful. No Tamba means Justin Houston must play well and be a disruptive force. He doesn't need 2-3 sacks, although that would be nice, but he needs to make sure Matt Ryan knows #50 is going to be around him all day. Around his waist, his arm, his legs, etc. He must be noticed early and often.
Brandon Flowers may play but in reality, how effective will he be after not playing all pre-season? I am not a huge Jalil Brown fan but he has at least played the last 2 years unlike Jaques Reeves. So without Flowers (and Carr of course) a strength has turned into a question mark. Can we roll coverage to help Brown/Reeves? Sure but who? Kendrick Lewis is unlikely to play and we need Berry to be his versatile disruptive self, not bracketing a WR. I am concerned about Tamba out + Flowers out versus this offense. I worry about our defense, which I believe will be a stength at 100%, in week 1. We are going from Flowers, Carr and Hali to Routt, reeves and Houston...that could get a little dicey.
Chemistry 101- I am also concerned about the chemistry between Matt Cassel and his wide receivers. We all heard how productive Jon Baldwin was all summer then he disappeared like me when the bill comes at happy hour. Dwayne Bowe barely played and Steve Breaston was also seldom heard from. Kevin Boss must wish he was in Oakland (not really!) and Tony Moekai stayed healthy but did little else.Dexter McCluster looked great coming out of the slot but other than that, did we see anything productive from the wide receivers/tight ends? I guess Devin Wylie is quick, so quick I barely saw him this summer.
Offensive Line Depth- I can only guess that they are going to address this after week 1 when the veteran contracts aren't guaranteed. I just hope that no one gets injured before 430pm on Sunday because Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson are all we have as back ups (where have you gone Rudy Niswanger, Barry Richardson, Kyle Turley, LOL). I really like our starting five and I also like the two rookies, my concern is depth. We have 5 running backs, we start 1. We have 7 lineman, we start 5. I'm no math genius but I see something wrong there. Just sayin'.
Now, on to some things that I really DO like:
Our overall depth- Despite what I wrote above regarding the O-line, the team boasts pretty good depth. While Cam Sheffield and Andy Studebaker won't replace Tamba, they have shown flashes. If only Atlanta would tell us when they are running -insert Stude- or passing-insert Sheffield! I also believe our skill positions offer depth, but some of the guys need to either 1. be given more opportunities or 2. step up when given said opportunity. I do believe our overall depth prevents us from pushing the panic button, I just wish it wasn't Atlanta coming in week 1.
Our Running Game- Kansas City could surely lead the league in rushing and there is talent and versatility here. Speed, power, hands, depth, etc. And can't you see stat lines like this:
--Charles 18-115-1 plus 3-4 catches.
--Hillis 15-72-1 plus 2-3 catches.
--Cassel 16-23-212-2-0 ints
Special Teams- Dustin Colquitt and Ryan Succup are fairly conmsistent and in the top half of the league respectively. Javier Arenas is a steady punt returner and although he seems to lack the burst that allowed him to return a few for 6 at "Bama, he has been steady. Is he Dante Hall? No. Tamarick Vanover? No. Bobby Engram? Hell no! Our coverage units are solid too and I love having players like Jalil Brown,Terrance Copper and Corey Greenwood running down kicks.
Home field advantage returns!- I think this is the year where Arrowhead and all of you (I live in Pa., not much I can do from here) returns to its Marty-ball glory and terrorizes opponents. The Chiefs need to get some swagger back. We need Tamba with some more strip-sacks, DJ blowing up ball carriers in the backfield, Houston flying off the edge, Flowers locking down wide-outs and Berry making receivers wish they stayed the hell home! With some or all of this, the fans will make their presence felt and Arrowhead will once again be an intimidating place to play!