Unfinished Business

So you think HBO has all the Chiefs offseason/preseason drama on Wednesdays? Think again. Here at Warpaint Illustrated, we're easily capable of manufacturing our own brand of intriguing soap-opera style entertainment. With Kansas City's exhibition season wrapped up, there are still burning questions to be settled before Week 1 kicks off a little over a week from now in Houston.

1. Who will be the third halfback?

Halfback Michael Bennett cemented his status as Larry Johnson's backup, with a solid preseason behind an offensive line that was in flux much of the time. Who's the third guy? The Chiefs will need another back to take some carries this year. Is it Kolby Smith? His 55-yard dash against the Rams Thursday night was impressive, but other than that he's looked lost out there, and hasn't held on to the football in the passing game. Is it Marcus O'Keith? He's been slightly more consistent than Smith, but hasn't wowed anyone the way he did in training camp. It's not Derrick Ross. He simply fumbles too much.

2. Will KC's young safeties make plays?

Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard, this year's young, but inexperienced safety tandem, have been hyped all offseason. In the preseason, neither made much in the way of big-time plays, whether it was hitting or intercepting passes. Pollard finally got in a halfway decent hit on a Rams quarterback in the final exhibition game. Meanwhile, Page has spent most of his preseason missing tackles. Will this young pair elevate their game once the regular season starts? Or will the Chiefs experience some major growing pains in the coming weeks? In the Cover 2 defense, solid safety play is critical to success.

3. Who will be the third wide receiver?

It appears, at least from the outside, that Dwayne Bowe is the No. 2 wide receiver. That leaves Chris Hannon, Jeff Webb, Samie Parker and a host of other spares fighting for the third spot. Count on everyone but Hannon and Webb being cut. Who takes the job between those two? Hannon has been more impressive in preseason, but the Chiefs drafted Webb for a reason. Right now it might be a tossup, and in the regular season, they could split time, anyway. Either way, KC's offense is sure to have more playmaking ability at that position. Last year Rod Gardner (two catches) and the diminutive Dante Hall contributed little as third wide receivers.

4. Is Will Svitek ready to start at left tackle?

It's sink or swim time for KC's young left tackle project. Svitek struggled in his first three preseason games, but showed some progress against the Rams. With Damion McIntosh sidelined due to a knee injury, the Chiefs need Svitek to step up for at least a couple of games early in the regular season. He'll get a break in Houston (the Texans have no dominant pass rusher), but Week 2 in Chicago will be a huge test for the converted defensive end. Damon Huard better watch his blindside.

5. Who will be the nickel cornerback?

The Chiefs have tried to install veteran Benny Sapp as an outside corner in their nickel packages, with starter Patrick Surtain moving inside to play nickel. So far, it's met with limited results in real games. Sapp was unimpressive the last two weeks against the Saints and Rams. Dimitri Patterson hasn't stepped up to claim the job, and neither has Tyron Brackenridge, who is nicked up, too. There's a lot of questions within this question. The Chiefs better get it fixed, otherwise, KC's third corner will be a target on third downs once the regular season hits and teams start watching film.

Will Priest Holmes ever see the field again? Is Larry Johnson ready for the regular season? Can Brodie Croyle avoid slipping into a deep, dark depression? And will Jason Whitlock's forbidden love affair with Carl Peterson remain unrequited? So much drama! Tune in next week for September's first episode of...As The Chiefs Turn.

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