OK, I've heard 7-9 and 6-10. I've overheard a .500 season with zero chance at 11-5. Let's keep this in mind, Kansas City hasn't failed miserably yet. It's preseason. Sometimes preseason matters but most of the time it doesn't.
Still, the Chiefs last two performances haven't been encouraging.
"It's not always as bad as it seems on gameday when things don't go well," said Romeo Crennel Monday at the Chiefs practice facility. "I'm not saying that everything is hunky-dory or anything like that, but there were some good things that occurred. I still think this team is a good football team, has good talent and we're not as good as we're going to be at this point, but we're still going to work to improve and get better because we've got the regular season right around the corner, getting ready to start."
I'm disappointed; I'd be lying if I didn't say so. With one preseason game left I expected more attitude. Preseason wins are nice, but confidence is what I look for. Confidence is missing, especially on defense.
That concerns me.
"Defensively, even though we didn't look great, we held them to field goals on three different occasions, on back-to-back occasions, " said Crennel on how the Seattle game looked to him. "When you hold teams to field goals, you have a chance in the game. It wasn't until we started giving up touchdowns that you started feeling worse…I feel like this team can be a good team, and I want this team to show that."
I don't expect the offense to be caught up, but the defense knows Crennel.
The defense is my safety net until the offense gains momentum. What I'm having a hard time with is my fail-safe having holes. After three seasons under Romeo Crennel the defense shouldn't have looked as lost as they did against Seattle. They shouldn't have let a rookie quarterback school them.
Against Seattle the defense fell apart.
There are things Kansas City can't control like Brandon Flowers. The Chiefs don't have a replacement for Flowers. That's a hurt with no remedy. Second-year corner Jalil Brown struggled against Seattle and is hurt. I like Brown, but he's not ready. Stanford Routt was let go because of money, but Routt also couldn't handle being number one in Oakland. Against the Atlanta Falcons I'm not sure Routt can deal with a Roddy White or Julio Jones. Jacques Reeves isn't ready.
The only patch for Flowers is him returning, but with Flowers running at the Chiefs last practice there's hope for the first game.
There's pressure and a big part is injuries. I’d hate to think of Kansas City being without as many as four defensive starters opening day. Anthony Toribio left Seattle with a hurt ankle and still isn't putting pressure on his foot.
Suddenly second-year player Jerrell Powe and rookie Dontari Poe will be looked at to start. Part of me looks forward to that test against the Packers. There are factors slowing down the defense, I get that, but overall it's still not the same spunky bunch who poured Gatorade on Crennel.
Derrick Johnson made some bold expectations towards the end of camp. Johnson didn't want to sound cocky but he was talking like the Chiefs were very confident on defense. I believed him the first game against the Arizona Cardinals, but haven't seen any proof since.
Fans are excited because they see potential for balance with the offense and defense, something Chiefs fans haven't experienced in years.
It won't happen if the defense can't stop anybody, especially up the gut. Kansas City can't afford a shootout with Atlanta. Kansas City's offense just isn't at the same place as Atlanta's. Kansas City has to rely on defense, control the ball and limit turnovers.
If the defense does what it's doing now against the Atlanta Falcons I don't see KC keeping up. That's what scares me and that's what needs fixed the quickest. Not so much the offense as the defense.
Defense is a hot mess without Hali, Flowers and Lewis. Without them and possibly Anthony Toribio it won't be easy. The Chiefs are missing parts, but how they fight despite it is something different.
I need defiance against Green Bay. I'd like a team who believes in themselves again. It's too soon to predict a losing season. I can't base that on preseason.
I want to think it's fixable like Crennel and the players have said. Little things they need to tweak. Let's hope it's as simple as that and not something bigger like Crennel being in over his head.
Preseason should be about creating poise more than winning and losing. The Chiefs need to find their strut before facing the Atlanta Falcons at Arrowhead. Hey, it started against the Green Bay Packers to end 2011; maybe it’ll happen to start 2012.
You never know!
Good day, Chiefs fans!