Normally this would be the spot for my weekly "A View From The Stands" piece, but I'm going to break from the norm for a public service announcement: the Kansas City Chiefs will right the ship.
After looking so good against the Arizona Cardinals in their first preseason game, the Chiefs were battered by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday. It seemed like before the National Anthem was finished, Kansas City was down 14 points following a hideous defensive series and a turnover by Jonathan Baldwin. Before anyone knew what happened, the Chiefs lost 31-17.
Even worse, starting free safety Kendrick Lewis hurt the same shoulder he had surgery on. Then of course the news on Monday that Tamba Hali is suspended for Week 1 and Brandon Flowers is now in a walking boot. Suffice to say, it hasn't been a dream week in the heartland.
However, all is not lost as some have made it out to be.
It's certainly an unfortunate situation with Hali, but it's one game. Any team can mask some deficiencies or the loss of a star for 60 minutes and with the Chiefs' talent, they'll be able to do so. The Atlanta Falcons are a very solid football team, but Kansas City has a deeper roster and at home should still win.
Romeo Crennel is a legendary defensive mind who will come up with unique schemes and blitz packages to hit Matt Ryan. It will be tougher, but it will still happen against a suspect offensive line.
The bigger concern right now is Flowers' foot. It's already known Hali will be back after serving his suspension, but when will Flowers see the field? He's more needed in many ways than Hali against a pass-happy team like the Falcons, because no scheme covers up a cornerback issue. Jalil Brown has looked very improved, but he's not Flowers.
If the Chiefs have designs of being a playoff team and making a deep run, they most certainly need a healthy #24 in the secondary.
Speaking of the secondary, the injury to Lewis hurts but isn't crippling. General manager Scott Pioli was prudent in the offseason and signed Abram Elam, who will step in and play a very good safety.
Elam isn't the same type of player Lewis is, but he's steady enough to keep the train rolling. In that same vein, we're not even sure what Lewis did or how long he'll be out, so no reason to panic there.
As for the loss to the Rams, that was a classic case of one team feeling very overconfident while the other was out to prove something. Nothing against St. Louis, but Kansas City came out flat.
To the Rams credit, they took advantage but certainly the Chiefs are a much better team than the one we saw. Kansas City's defense won't be letting teams have too many four play, 80 yard drives this season.
In 2011, the Chiefs were ravaged by injuries to Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki and Matt Cassel. All of them are healthy now. Don't forget about the additions of Eric Winston, Kevin Boss, Dontari Poe and an offensive coordinator who so far looks like a keeper in Brian Daboll.
Last year this team went 7-9, without any of those aforementioned guys against a tougher schedule and with a coaching change.
The 2012 version will be just fine.