The Panthers and Chiefs come into tomorrow's game winless as both sit at 0-1 on the young 2004 season. Carolina plays tomorrow in what many consider one of the loudest venues in Sports, Arrowhead Stadium.
"When you're striving to be an upper-echelon team, every week is a desperation game. If you win it, it doesn't mean you're going to the playoffs and if you lose it, it doesn't mean you're not," said head coach Dick Vermeil.
"I've said many times, we look at every game as a target. It doesn't matter, it's our second target. We've got to hit the target. Last week we missed. We've got to hit the darn thing. If you miss too many targets you don't get too many chances to play when the season's over."
One of the things that made the Chiefs so successful last season was moving the ball down field through the air. Last week they struggled as Kansas City quarterback Trent Green only managed 174 yards and wide receiver Eddie Kennison was the recipient of 101 of those yards. But the downfall on the offense was untimely penalties and their inability to convert third down opportunities.
"The first thing we ought to do is not commit errors on third down and put us in third-and-long. I think we had five penalties or something on third down. That just can't happen." Head coach Dick Vermeil said "Those kinds of things and I think we've got to do in the game what we do in practice. We've got to get into our offense. We were out of sync and we didn't get into a lot of the things that we do."
Another one of the areas of improvement will have to be on the defensive side of the ball. Gunther Cunningham's group can not let Carolina running back DeShaun Foster run wild, like Quentin Griffin did Sunday night. Stephen Davis will be out for the two to five weeks after Friday's surgery to repair loose cartilage in his knee. Now Davis is a different style of runner than Foster and has the ability to break long runs and fumble the football.
"He has a little more of a bounce around guy. Start inside and bounce outside. He gives you some problems and he's a fine runner" Vermeil said.
Now if you believe in numbers like Vermeil enjoys quoting at press conferences, he stands only 2-4 against the Panthers in his coaching tenure. However back in 1999 he defeated Carolina twice on his way to the Rams 2000 Super Bowl victory over the Tennessee Titans. Let's hope that's a good omen for the Chiefs if they can defeat the Panthers on Sunday. It's clear this game is important for the Chiefs as they want to get the taste out of their mouths from the sour loss in Denver a week ago.
The Chiefs and Panthers meeting on Sunday will only be the third between Kansas City and Carolina. Since joining the NFL in 1995 along with Jacksonville, the Chiefs have one both meetings. In 1997 the Chiefs won in Carolina 35-14 and in 2000 they defeated the Panthers at home 15-14 at Arrowhead.
But as everyone knows the Chiefs have won 13 consecutive games at Arrowhead. The last loss for the Chiefs at home occurred back in October of 2003 against Denver.
Linebacker Kawika Mitchell will return to action on Sunday but he will be a back-up to Monty Beisel who appears to have nailed down the starting middle linebacker spot. Beisel grew praise from Dick Vermeil earlier this week and the injury to Mitchell might have been a blessing as Beisel has quickly developed into the type of player on defense that the Chiefs need.