Chiefs exit preseason with more questions
Can Derrick Johnson walk, let alone run?
What’s up with Brady Quinn?
Does anybody have a phone number for Donovan McNabb?
Whom do the pigskin gods hate more: Romeo Crennel or Scott Pioli?
Why is Matt Ryan licking his lips?
Nine days to go. So many questions.
Too many, in fact.
Again, the curtain has dropped on the preseason, and again, fans of the Chiefs left the first act clutching their guts and reaching for the liquor cabinet.
The Green Bay Packers handed Kansas City a 24-3 setback Thursday night at Lambeau Field, to close the books on August with a 1-3 record and offer up more questions than answers.
But here’s the biggie, the elephant that won’t leave the room: What the heck is Crennel’s defense going to look like when Atlanta comes calling on September 9?
Already down starting cornerback Brandon Flowers (heel) and safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) in the secondary and nose tackle Anthony Toribio (ankle) up front, the franchise took another kidney punch when word leaked that Johnson, who hadn’t missed a regular-season game at middle linebacker since 2009, suffered a serious ankle injury during the Packers loss.
With pass-rush specialist Tamba Hali suspended for the opener because of a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, there’s a chance the Chiefs could be without four projected starters — two of them Pro Bowlers — once Ryan and the Falcons roll into Arrowhead.
And if that doesn’t make you nervous, this might: The No. 1 backup to quarterback Matt Cassel when the season opens could very well be … Ricky Stanzi. Quinn, who’d beaten an overmatched Stanzi out for the No. 2 quarterback spot, was reportedly banged up at Lambeau Field as well.
Does anybody have a phone number for David Garrard?
Will the real Jon Baldwin please stand up?
Can Dontari Poe learn anything while being knocked on his keister?
After racing to a 17-3 halftime lead in the opening exhibition against Arizona, why were the Chiefs outscored in the first half by a count of 54-20 — an average margin of 18-7 — by their next three opponents?
Why is this team sliding farther and farther backwards the closer we get to September 9?
Other than another roster-saving performance from backup tailback “Nasty” Nate Eachus (99 rushing yards on 21 carries), a blocked punt by Patrick DiMarco — Green Bay somehow collected the carom and turned it into a first down, it was that kind of night — and more battering-ram fun from Peyton Hillis, this was a game tape to be taken out and burned.
And speaking of burned, Packers backup Graham Harrell relieved Aaron Rodgers early on and completed 13 of 15 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns. In Harrell’s previous three preseason appearances, he’d connected on just 50.8 percent of his throws and had been sacked five times. Before you get too excited, Cheeseheads, take heed — Kansas City’s defense has developed the unfortunate habit of helping quarterbacks look a few grades above their pay scale over the past three weeks, forcing one local to tweet:
“(The) Chiefs will start (the) season with an OK running game, an unproven passing attack, a defense with major holes and backups that suck.”
Or are we pushing the panic button too soon? Yes, the Kansas City wound up 1-3 in the preseason for the ninth time over the past 34 seasons. But get this: Of those other eight clubs, six wound up with winning seasons; four eventually made the playoffs. Those squads averaged 9.5 regular-season victories. For better or worse, there’s a long way to go.
So in the big picture, your guess is as good as ours. Heck, probably better. Just to be safe, though, does anybody have a number for Brett Favre?
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at email@example.com