The Kansas City Chiefs were looking for some improvement after a disappointing 2001 season, but things haven't exactly gotten off to a great start. In fact, had it not been for Dwayne Rudd's now-infamous helmet gaffe, the Chiefs would be 0-3 heading into Sunday's game against the Dolphins.

As it is, the Chiefs' 1-2 record already has put them in a tough spot in the tough AFC West, where Denver, San Diego and Oakland are all undefeated.

Kansas City's problem early in the season has been glaring, with the Chiefs ranking dead last in the NFL in total defense and passing defense.

The Chiefs employ a gambling style on defense, but so far this season the gambling has backfired badly. Kansas City has allowed a whopping eight scoring plays of 30 yards or more already this season, including a 79-yard touchdown pass and a 63-yard run in the same game against Jacksonville.

Coach Dick Vermeil indicated this week that the Chiefs have given up 51 percent of their yards on a mere 15 plays.

The Chiefs like to blitz a lot and play a lot of man-to-man coverage, so this might be the game where Jay Fiedler airs it out a little bit.

"New England and Cleveland both got big plays on them," said wide receiver Chris Chambers. "Depending on how they are going to come out on us, we should be able to."

The Chiefs defense is lacking in terms of personnel, particularly after the training camp injury sustained by safety Jerome Woods.

Defensive end Eric Hicks is the leading sacker for the Chiefs, with two in the first three games, but Kansas City does not have a great pass rush.

The team's leading tackle is linebacker Mike Maslowski, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent. That sums up the state of the Chiefs defense. In one word, it's weak.

One last stat to back up that point: Opposing quarterback have a combined rating of 117.5 against the Chiefs. Ouch!

The Chiefs, however, have some talent on offense, starting with star running back Priest Holmes and tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Holmes not only is second in the NFL in rushing, he also leads the Chiefs with 16 catches. Wide receiver Eddie Kennison has been the Chiefs' main deep threat early, but Gonzalez is the biggest weapon the Chiefs have in the passing game.

The offensive line is physical and among the best in the league.

The weak link on the offense just might be quarterback Trent Green. He's completing over 60 percent of his passes and has talent, but he also has a knack for throwing the interception.

He has been picked off at least once every game for a total of five in three games.

Still, the Chiefs have enough weapons to put up big numbers, as evidenced by the fact they're averaging 31 points a game.

On special teams, the player to watch is Dante Hall, who is averaging 28.3 yards on kickoff returns. Ageless kicker Morten Andersen is 6-for-6 on field goal attempts so far this season, although he hasn't tried a kick longer than 39 yards.

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