Chiefs training camp is under a week away, which means there's still a whole weekend to cram some more preview content in. When camp gets under way in St. Joseph next week, here are the 5 biggest questions facing the team as they begin the 2021 campaign:
1 How will the Frank Clark situation play out?
Will Clark be at camp next week? It's usually not great when one of the largest narrative storylines of training camp is about a player who isn't there, and that may soon be the case for the Chiefs and Frank Clark, who's dealing with some significant legal issues stemming from two separate offseason arrests. Though there's currently no official reason why he couldn't report -- his arraignment was recently delayed until October, and NFL teams typically let the legal process play out before taking any significant action -- it'll be interesting to see whether the league suspends him.
2 Without Clark, where will the pass-rushing come from?
As for Clark's status, the Chiefs may have tipped their hand a bit this week by bringing veteran DE Alex Okafor back on a one-year deal. Without Clark, there's not much depth behind Chris Jones --the addition of Jarran Reed should help, but there's still not a lot of proven edge rushing on the roster. Maybe 4th-round pick Joshua Kaindoh immediately contributes, and maybe Taco Charlton bounces back. Maybe something clicks for Tim Ward. Regardless, that's a lot of maybes that the Chiefs are relying on.
3 The offensive line is better, right?
The absolute last thing that Chiefs fans need is to have last year's offensive line issues relitigated, so let's just say it wasn't good and that's that. It's hard to see how a unit that added Joe Thuney, Orlando Brown Jr., Lucas Niang, Creed Humphrey, Kyle Long, and Trey Smith won't improve, but offensive line chemistry is a tricky act to nail down immediately. What I'm saying is, get ready to log a lot of offensive line snaps this August.
4 Do the Chiefs have a reliable WR2?
Sammy Watkins is in Baltimore now, and JuJu Smith-Schuster decided to go back to Pittsburgh(??). That leaves Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson as two guys that'll be asked to pick up the slack. Getting to play with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill makes that ask a bit easier, but neither have proven to be that type of guy yet. N'keal Harry, Josh Gordon, and Golden Tate are all names getting thrown around on Chiefs Twitter, so take that for whatever that's worth. Pat Mahomes makes everyone's life easier, but the depth of receivers around him doesn't look great right now.
5 Are the Chiefs still clearly the class of the AFC?
The Browns are really good. The Browns! And then there's the Bills, who probably won't need a whole lot of motivation after last season's AFC Championship game. The Titans, Chargers, and Ravens are all deeply talented teams too. All this and we haven't even talked about the possibility of Aaron Rodgers going to Denver yet. The AFC is stacked, and while the Chiefs match up as well as anyone, it's hard to say they're as far ahead as they used to be.