Chiefs Report

Trent Green will be the first to admit it. The Chiefs quarterback had gotten spoiled by having one of the NFL's premium offensive lines, with supplemental blocking from fullback Tony Richardson, playing virtually intact for three consecutive years from 2002 through '04.

But the first hint of a leak developed in 2005. Left tackle Willie Roaf missed six games with a hamstring, and Kansas City went 3-3 while battling protection problems during his absence. Had Roaf been able to play in just one more game, perhaps the Chiefs would not have missed the playoffs with an otherwise solid 10-6 record.

The fissures continued to spread in the offseason. Right tackle John Welbourn, after serving a four-game suspension for steroid use in '05, announced he would not return.

Then on the opening day of camp, the dam burst.

Just three days after Kansas City celebrated the signing of accomplished cornerback Ty Law -- the player generally held to be the missing piece for a rebuilding defense under new defensive-minded head coach Herm Edwards -- Roaf, who had missed most of the offseason sessions, revealed that a recurring hamstring problem would keep him from playing again.

The loss of the 36-year-old 11-time Pro Bowl tackle, coupled with the reluctant free agency departure of Richardson to Minnesota, meant the Chiefs suddenly were patching holes everywhere.

Kyle Turley, attempting a comeback after two years of back-related inactivity, suddenly was being asked to fill Roaf's spot despite weighing only 275 pounds. Kevin Sampson, a projected starter in '05 until a foot injury and early-season illness ruined his second pro season, was at right tackle. Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters missed nearly all of training camp with a foot injury, and on the week he came back, 11-time Pro Bowl guard Will Shields went down with a high ankle sprain.

Shields is expected to be back for the season opener against Cincinnati -- probably, that is. But the changes up-and-down the line have dimmed the optimism of people who once talked confidently about a possible 2,000-yard rushing season for phenom running back Larry Johnson, who ran for 1,750 in only nine starts last year. The confidence of an offense that led the league in total yards for two straight years also was under assault.

"There are a lot of new faces," Green said as camp broke. "Tony Richardson isn't here, Priest Holmes isn't here, Willie Roaf isn't here, John Welbourn's not here. There is some adjustment going on trying to get some continuity in the offensive line.

"When you have three new bodies in there that weren't there a year ago, there are going to be some rough patches."

Well, Edwards talked about making a transition. Looks like he got it.

Edwards' vision is of a Chiefs offense that controls the clock behind accurate short passes from Green and a steady dose of Johnson's power running.

That's his recipe for winning the road games the Chiefs, even with their high-powered offense, struggled to win in five seasons under Dick Vermeil.

It's also his way of taking pressure off a defense that was consistently among the league wallflowers in the last four years.

"I don't want this team feeling that we have to score 24 points to win," Edwards said. "If it happens, that's great. If you score in the 30s, that's wonderful. But we're going to have to learn to win some games 10-7."

COACHING: Herm Edwards, 6th year overall, 1st with Chiefs (41-44 record).

REMEMBERING: 2005 record: 10-6 (2nd in AFC West); missed a wild-card game in the playoffs by one game.

PREDICTING: 2006 regular season record 9-7 (2nd in AFC West); fail to make playoffs. Top Stories