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1. Uh . . . so this is bad, isn’t it?
Yep. On multiple levels. On paper, the Titans are one of the most beatable teams on the Chiefs’ schedule, so it gets only harder from here. Next week is Denver, followed by Miami, New England, San Francisco and San Diego. Four of those teams made the playoffs, and the one that didn’t — Miami — is ascending. In other words, if the Chiefs don’t make significant improvements soon, they could be staring 0-6 in the face.
2. How much of this can be attributed to injuries/suspensions?
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A healthy amount. The Chiefs missed receiver Dwayne Bowe, as it appeared the receivers had a difficult time getting open. They missed Donald Stephenson, because that forced Jeff Allen to shift to right tackle, which made Mike McGlynn — who was waived two weeks ago — the starter at left guard. He’s still getting acclimated. De’Anthony Thomas could have made an impact on offense and special teams, while Marcus Cooper is one of their best corners. And don’t even talk about the injuries to Mike DeVito and Derrick Johnson, both of whom went down Sunday. You could feel both injuries suck the life out of the stadium the moment each happened.
3. Just how devastating are the Johnson and DeVito injuries?
If either miss significant time — and Achilles’ injuries are never good — it’s a huge blow. Johnson is one of the best linebackers in the league, someone who is equally solid against the run and the pass. DeVito was a major reason for the Chiefs’ improvement against the run last season. Both guys are key parts of the defense and would be very difficult to replace.
4. How much will Bowe’s return next week help?
The offense looked completely defanged without Bowe, who missed the game while serving a one-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. His presence will help, for sure. But the Chiefs will have another listless performance if Jamaal Charles doesn’t get more touches, the offensive line doesn’t tighten up and they don’t find a way to get the ball to tight end Travis Kelce, who easily looks like one of their more intriguing offensive threats.
5. Did the Chiefs make a mistake by cutting Ryan Succop?
It sure looks like it. Succop drilled four field goals on Sunday, while his replacement, Cairo Santos, made a 35-yarder off the post and missed a 48-yarder off the post. Succop has always been a solid NFL kicker, and the distance between him and Santos wasn’t that great in training camp. In fact, it seemed as if they played to a draw. Santos has a strong leg but is a rookie, and there’s something to be said for experience. Santos could easily settle down and emerge as a solid option, but he’ll be worth keeping an eye on going forward.
26: Consecutive possessions the Chiefs’ first-team offense went without scoring a touchdown, datingto the preseason.
| Terez A. Paylor, email@example.com.