Kansas City, coming off a 13-3 campaign that produced only another first-game playoff loss to Indianapolis, opens the season at Denver, plays host to NFC champ Carolina and then plays at Baltimore in Week Four.
"We've got to be as good as we can be earlier," Vermeil said. "Three out of the first four games are playoff teams. Our goal is to start fast in the first quarter (of the season). We've got to defy the odds to go 3-1 at that.
"We could be a better team and not win as many games," Vermeil added. "We will be a better team but I don't know how many games we'll win."
Seven games against '03 playoff contenders highlight the Chiefs schedule. Kansas City's only break is in catching four of those games -- Carolina, Indy and New England, in addition to the Broncos rematch -- at home. In addition to the two road games against playoff entries in the season's first quarter, they'll also play Tennessee in Nashville in December just a week before playing host to Denver.
Moreover, the Baltimore and Tennessee road games will be Monday night affairs, as will the Patriots game at Arrowhead.
NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES:
WR/KR Dante Hall has had a busy offseason.
"I would set aside a vacation week for myself, then I would get a call -- 'Hey, come do this appearance,' " he explained. "Some were too good to pass up.
"One time I just wanted to stay home, but Gatorade called with two first-class tickets and a $20,000 offer for an hour and a half of work. I couldn't pass that up. After that I was like, OK, I'm done. Then I get a call to go over to the Laureus Sports Awards in Portugal, everything paid for. So, I took my Mom."
And the surprises kept coming. After filming his now-running X-factor commercial for Gatorade in Hawaii and being the only NFL representative honored at the international Laureus Awards, Hall learned he was being inducted into the Scottish Claymores' Hall of Fame.
"After one year in the league, isn't that crazy?" asked an astonished Hall, who led NFL Europe in kick-return yards but was only the sixth-ranked receiver in his sole European campaign in 2001.
This week, Hall gets his last off-field romp before training camp opens July 28 in River Falls, Wis. He's been nominated for an ESPY Award for the play of the year -- his electrifying 93-yard punt return against Denver. After that awards show, he promised, his mind will be completely on football.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"Someone wanted me to do a one-on-one instructional tape on how to play wide receiver. But I go to thinking, 'I'm not even a full-time receiver yet; how can I tell someone how to be a receiver when I'm still trying to become one myself?' I mean, the money was good, but I have my integrity!" -- KR/WR Dante Hall, on one of the few endorsement opportunities he turned down in the offseason.
TRAININC CAMP POSITION ANALYSIS:
Starter - Trent Green.
Backups - Todd Collins, Damon Huard.
Starters - HB Priest Holmes, FB Tony Richardson.
Reserves - RB Derrick Blaylock, RB Larry Johnson, FB Omar Easy.
Starter - Tony Gonzalez.
Reserves - Jason Dunn, Billy Baber, Kris Wilson (rookie).
Starters - FL Eddie Kennison, SE Johnnie Morton.
Backups - Dante Hall, Marc Boerigter, Chris Horn, LaShaun Ward, Sammie Parker (rookie).
Starters - LT Willie Roaf. LG Brian Waters, C Casey Wiegmann, RG Will Shields, RT John Welbourn.
Reserves - G-C Chris Bober, C-G Don Willis, G Darnell Alford, T Brett Williams, G Jordan Black.
Starters - LE Eric Hicks, LT John Browning, NT Ryan Sims, RE Vonnie Holliday.
Reserves - DT Lional Dalton, DT Junior Siavii, DE R-Kal Truluck, DE Gary Stills, DE Jimmy Wilkerson; DT Eddie Freeman, DT Eric Downing, DT Montique Sharpe, DE Jared Allen (rookie).
Starters - LOB Scott Fujita, MLB Mike Maslowski, ROB Shawn Barber.
Reserves - MLB Kawika Mitchell, MLB Monty Beisel, OB Fred Jones, OB Quinton Caver, OB Keyaron Fox (rookie).
Starters LCB Eric Warfield, SS Greg Wesley, FS Jerome Woods, RCB Dexter McCleon.
Reserves - CB William Bartee, CB Julian Battle, S Shaunard Harts, S Lyle West, CB Cliff Crosby.
Returner - Dante Hall.
Kicker - Morten Andersen, Lawrence Tynes.
Punter - Jason Baker, Rodney Williams.