Nick Athan: I don't think there will be a lot of carryover. In fact, the young team can see first-hand over the last two weeks that the rebuilding job is starting to take shape.
The Chiefs clearly should have won their last two games against the New York Jets and the Bucs, but they didn't and they have to learn how to win games. That's the biggest obstacle facing this team. If they can learn to win again and then do it the following week, this young team could be compared to the Chargers, who did just that when Marty Schottenheimer rebuilt that franchise from scratch.
QB Tyler Thigpen
NA: Thigpen could have a big day against the Bolts' secondary. If the team employs the spread offense, and if Mark Bradley can become the second wide receiver this team has coveted, Thigpen has more than enough weapons to spread the field. The other factor is that last year's top choice, WR Dwayne Bowe, hasn't fallen into the sophomore jinx and Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez is once again having a solid year.
ML: How does the Chiefs' running game change when Larry Johnson is out of the lineup? Do you believe L.J. is part of the long-term rebuilding plan?
NA: The team lost running back Kolby Smith to a season-ending injury last week against Tampa Bay. That means third-round pick Jamaal Charles, who I've dubbed the "Texas Comet" for his blazing speed, gets the starter's job. He has a gear that I've never seen before in the NFL. He's not 100 percent, so undrafted free agent Dantrelle Savage will back him up.
In regards to Larry Johnson, who was suspended on Sunday, I can't see him playing for the Chiefs again in 2008. He has a lot to deal with off the field and I don't think he can balance the two at this point in his life. Long-term, I think the two sides will end up in divorce.
CB Brandon Flowers
NA: To me, he's a notch below QB Matt Ryan as the NFL's rookie of the year. He has everything it takes to be a great cornerback. I can't see why the Chargers passed on him, other than most NFL teams were scared off by his performance in last year's Orange Bowl against Kansas.
You can ask future Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre how he felt when he was chasing Flowers down the field after he picked off one of his passes against the Jets two weeks ago. The kid is a future star. Everyone in KC is glad the Chargers whiffed on drafting him.
ML: Update us on ex-Charger Donnie Edwards. How is the 13-year vet holding up?
NA: He's finding this year to be an unlucky proposition in regards to maintaining his fountain of youth. He's dealt with one injury after another since the middle of the 2007 season. He lost his starting job to free agent pick-up DeMorrio Williams.
Edwards has been in the middle of the action when he's played, but he's nowhere near the player he was in his early days in Kansas City or in his prime in San Diego. It appears the Chargers made a good move letting him go when they did.
ML: We heard Tony Gonzalez mention Kansas City's three-year rebuilding plan during his trade ordeal. Do you see Coach Edwards at the helm by the time the Chiefs turn things around?
NA: I'd say it's 50-50 at this point. Nobody knows what team owner Clark Hunt will do at the end of the season. He enters the 2009 offseason with Edwards and President Carl Peterson in the final years of their respective contracts. Thus, Edwards clearly has to show improvement over the team's 4-12 season a year ago. If not, then the jury will be out and speculation, which is already on the rise, will grow to a fever pitch within the fan base.