In a game usually reserved for the back end of the depth chart for mop-up duty, the Chiefs still have a few items to clear up before the Atlanta Falcons travel to Arrowhead Stadium for their Week 1 matchup on Sept. 9.
The Friday-night deadline for NFL teams to pare their rosters down to 53 players is looming, and the Chiefs certainly do not have all of their ducks in a row yet as it relates to their depth chart.
Dwayne Bowe, the team’s top pass-catching target, still needs to acclimate himself to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s new system. In addition, nagging injuries to the secondary (Brandon Flowers’ heel and Kendrick Lewis’ shoulder) and the defensive line, and Tamba Hali’s one-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, have unquestionably jostled the smooth transition into the regular season that the Chiefs desired.
However, with most of the starting lineup set, the best way for the Chiefs to attack the preseason’s final tuneup is to just play it safe. Kansas City is extremely healthy in comparison to last year, and it would be in the team’s best interest to keep it that way.
Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki and Matt Cassel have shown that last season’s injuries are behind them. They will all undeniably play a huge part in helping Kansas City put the 2011 season in the rear-view mirror.
While general manager Scott Pioli did a tremendous job in the offseason of equipping the Chiefs with the tools to prevent another depth chart catastrophe, losing frontline players spoils any team’s chances of competing at its maximum capability—something Kansas City will need to do in order to live up to the high expectations with which the team enters the 2012 season.
Head coach Romeo Crennel will be tempted to play Bowe more or try to find out just how good Justin Houston’s Hali impersonation is for the regular-season opener. The Chiefs also may want to prove that the previous two losses to the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks are more exception than rule.
But there really isn’t anything that can be done against the Packers that will change any of that.
Pioli has set forth a process since taking over the Chiefs in 2009, and it appears this season is the year that it all might finally come together in Kansas City.
The Chiefs already have an identity set and the players to follow through with it. All eyes in the organization should be locked on the Falcons; overdoing it against the Packers proves nothing.