For a while it seemed the Kansas City Chiefs offense had been reborn. With a new offensive coordinator and several new weapons, the Chiefs needed to turn the corner from a miserable 2011 campaign that featured four starts from quarterback Tyler Palko and season-ending injuries to Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki. Instead, the end result against the Atlanta Falcons was a loss at home that was only slightly better than the blowout to the Bills.
Now that the Falcons game is officially in the books and the Chiefs are 0-1, some questions now must be asked about the team -- ones that fans likely never saw coming before the game. Sure everyone knew that Tamba Hali would be missed. When Brandon Flowers was announced as inactive before the game, that became a major concern as well. But there are other questions that must be answered, and here we present three that remain in our minds after the game is over.
1. Where was Jon Baldwin?
The Chiefs receiver was touted all preseason as a breakout candidate due to his big play ability at Pitt and his incredible catches on display during training camp and OTAs. Instead, Baldwin didn't catch a single pass and was a complete non-factor in the game, spending his day on the sidelines. It's the first question that has to be asked about this offense.
2. Are the Chiefs really that thin on defense?
In the NFL, the phrase "next man up" exists because you never know when a starter might go down to injury (or suspension in Tamba Hali's case). Yet the Chiefs saw a tremendous drop-off in talent after Brandon Flowers and Hali today. The end result was Matt Ryan completed nearly 75 percent of his passes. No quarterback in the NFL should be able to compete 3 of every 4 throws. The Chiefs have to find someone to fill the gap, even as both players come back. If the team is really this thin on defense, it will be a long season.
3. Is Matt Cassel even capable of making the leap?
Even when he's surrounded by a much better offensive line and brand new weapons, Matt Cassel still reminds everyone of the same quarterback we've come to know to this point. A good first half gave way to a meltdown in the third quarter. Not everything was Cassel's fault at all, but efficiency cannot be a quarterback's greatest asset. The question that still needs to be answered is whether Cassel can get better even if you surround him with Eric Winston, Kevin Boss and guys returning from injury.