Drum Beats: Houston, Houston, Houston

This Sunday, ready or not, the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the Houston Texans in the season opener, and both towns are getting excited about the renewal of their NFL vows, but that's about it.

The only thing that stands out about this game is how little we know about the participants. We're familiar with the Chiefs' questions to a certain degree. We know what some of the issues are, but really, until Sunday, we don't know what to expect from this team. And no one outside of Houston's organization knows for sure what to expect from this Texans team, particularly on offense.

Offensively, the Texans are featuring a brand new quarterback and running back – Matt Schaub and Ahman Green. There's been buzz about Schaub for a couple of years now, going back to the standout work he did for the Atlanta Falcons as Michael Vick's backup, but now that he's the man, can he deliver? Schaub had a good preseason - he didn't throw a single interception in four games and moved the offense – but can he truly be successful playing behind virtually the same offensive line that got David Carr pounded into submission?

Green was one of the NFL's best backs a few seasons ago. Can he stay healthy enough to carry the load? Has he really gotten over his past fumbling problems? These are questions the team has yet to see answered going into the season.

The Chiefs have questions, too. Will we see the defensive improvement translate from the practice field to the game field? Can Damon Huard duplicate last season's success? How will the offensive line fare after a poor preseason? No one knows the answers to these questions.

Guess we'll have to watch and find out happens.


The Chiefs might get to see the player who got away this weekend - running back Samkon Gado. He was released after training camp a couple of seasons ago, and went on to star for Green Bay in reserve duty, filling in for Ahman Green. He was let go, but ultimately caught on with the Texans last year.


The player to watch this weekend (the one not named Larry Johnson, anyway) is Jimmy Wilkerson, who'll be filling in for defensive end Jared Allen. Wilkerson's got quickness on the edge and has the strength to work his way around. He lines up against Ephraim Salaam, a solid player, but definitely not a Pro Bowler. If Wilkerson can get pressure in Schaub's face, it'll probably be a successful game for the Chiefs.


"If we're going to head that way, we need to head that way. We can't chicken out, and say, ‘Oh we're getting scared now.' No, don't get scared. Understand the vision, don't let the obstacles scare you. And that's what we're trying to do."

- Herm Edwards, on staying the course with the Chiefs' young players.

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