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Line: Packers -4, Over/Under: 42.5
Yahoo Inside Slant:
The Kansas City Chiefs head into the final week of the preseason in a state of flux that has head coach Andy Reid and his coaching staff scrambling to find some stability.
There's nothing unique in the Chiefs' situation heading into September, but it's not at all the scenario that Reid expected to begin his second year in Kansas City. But injuries, suspensions and poor performances have left the Chiefs with more question marks before the regular-season opener than they carried going into training camp a month ago.
The offensive line, secondary, wide receiver, middle linebacker, kicker are all spots where decisions remain to be made to start the season. All of those question marks were visible in the Chiefs' 30-12 loss to Minnesota.
An already shaky group of blockers was rocked last week by the four-game suspension handed down to starting right tackle Donald Stephenson. His absence reverberated through the entire offensive line, as Reid moved starting left guard Jeff Allen to right tackle. Replacing Allen at left guard has been the duo of Jeff Linkenbach and Ricky Henry.
Those changes combined with a pair of youngsters that have struggled - left tackle Eric Fisher and right guard Zach Fulton - and the lack of preseason point production from the No. 1 offense is understandable.
"We had 42 plays in the first half as opposed to 24 for (Minnesota) and didn't take advantage of having the ball in the red zone," Reid said of his No. 1 offense that in 16 possessions has not scored a touchdown. "We've got to fix that."
Against the Vikings, the offense was without running back Jamaal Charles (foot) and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (quad). Reid already knows he'll be without Bowe for the opener against Tennessee since his receiver will be serving a one-game NFL suspension. Just who will step into the starting lineup with Donnie Avery remains to be decided, but it may be Frankie Hammond, a first-year receiver out of the University of Florida.
In the secondary, it's easier to name the defensive back that will play the slot coverage spot in the nickel and dime defenses than it is to name the starters at cornerback. The slot man will be Chris Owens, who spent last year with the Browns and Dolphins. Marcus Cooper, Sean Smith and Ron Parker are sharing the left and right corner spots with the No. 1 defense and all three are having trouble adjusting to the NFL's officiating emphasis on downfield contact between defensive backs and receivers. Plus, strong safety Eric Berry has been a non-factor in August as he deals with a heel injury.
A torn tendon in a wrist has shelved middle linebacker Joe Mays and he may not make it back this season. That's left second-year man Nico Johnson, along with outside linebacker-turned middle linebacker Frank Zombo playing next to Pro Bowler Derrick Johnson. Through two games, Mays had been doing a good job against the run and contributed a pair of sacks.
The competition at kicker remains intense as incumbent Ryan Succop tries to fight off rookie Cairo Santos. It would not be a surprise to see general manager John Dorsey deal one of them before the start of the regular season.
Notable Quotable: "I'm confident in my ability to play right tackle. It's not foreign to me since I played there in college, but it is an adjustment. I'm going to do everything in my ability to prepare and if I'm needed at right tackle during the season, that's what I'll do," --- Jeff Allen