Well, this is a bummer. As if the injuries to Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers and safety Kendrick Lewis weren’t enough, the team is now faced with going into the NFL opener without outside linebacker Tamba Hali due to Hali’s violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. You never want to lose a guy like Hali, who has been such an asset to the team’s defense, but thanks to recent events, the Chiefs now face a very tricky proposition: going up against a team in the Atlanta Falcons that has a thing for passing the football without an elite pass-rusher available to put pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan.
The parallels that are starting to emerge, when you start to compare this season’s situation to last season’s, are very interesting. Last season a sizable chunk of Kansas City’s firepower was taken away due to injury. It isn’t clear when Flowers or Lewis will return, and now, while Hali’s current predicament has nothing to do with injury, the Chiefs are, once again, finding themselves more behind the 8 ball than they, and the fans, would have liked. Now, the team faces an uphill battle, starting with a game that could threaten to kill any early overall momentum before it really even gets going.
This is a good opportunity, though, for the Chiefs to overcome some adversity here and step up with their backups. I just wish Hali’s replacement didn’t have to come down to Andy Studebaker or Cameron Sheffield. Neither one, in my opinion, have the playmaking abilities Hali possesses. Now, that being said, either one could step up on game day and prove me wrong (and I hope they do). But unless that pass rush is there, more pressure will be put on that secondary to make some plays come opening week. And unfortunately, I believe it’ll be very difficult for the Chiefs secondary to step up considering what they have lost (assuming both Flowers and Lewis will still be sidelined), yet I’m holding out hope they’ll be able to force Matty Ice into some uncomfortable situations.
Two questions for the readers: First, which player could the Chiefs least afford to do without? Secondly, is it worth it for the Chiefs to go after recently-released Shawne Merriman? Sound off, and as always, keep comments respectful. I’m looking forward to hearing from you all on this one.