Red Zone

Chiefs’ Tamba Hali says season opener ‘can set the tone’

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali (91)
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali (91) The Kansas City Star

The Chiefs, like all NFL teams, don’t like to look beyond the upcoming game. That’s especially true of the season opener, because the Chiefs have spent so much time and energy the past few weeks preparing for Sunday’s game against Tennessee.

But this season opener takes on even more significance because the Chiefs know what looms ahead: At Denver. At Miami. New England on a Monday night. At San Francisco. At San Diego.

Not a soft touch in the bunch.

“The bar has been set,” outside linebacker Tamba Hali said. “We have to play at a high level. These teams we are playing in the first five weeks will really determine how good this team is.

“You don’t want to look far ahead, but you want to know what’s coming. The first game is going to set the tone on what we want to get done throughout the regular season. This is the most important game on the schedule right now. But … the first five weeks …”

A year ago, the Chiefs took advantage of some fortuitous scheduling and got off to a 9-0 start en route to an 11-5 season. This year, they won’t be sneaking up on anyone.

“We did something last year that people didn’t expect,” Hali said. “Now the schedule is in a position where we want to be able to do what we did last year and prove to the world that this is the team coaches put together, and we’re ready to go further than people can imagine.”

To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send email to Follow him on Twitter: @randycovitz.