32 teams have played in a combined 65 preseason games in the National Football League this season, yet as Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton put it Thursday, one fact remains true.
"The great thing about the opening game is you really never know about your team until this team takes that field and plays," he explained to the media before practice.
As the Chiefs prepare to open up at Arrowhead Stadium this coming Sunday, there still is much that is unknown. The starters have yet to play a full game together. Alex Smith has never partnered with this offensive line. Rookies like linebacker Dee Ford and offensive lineman Zach Fulton haven't even seen one second of regular-season football.
But with all that true, something to be noticed is that around the Chiefs, one recurring theme in particular is omnipresent.
"We want to be an all-out, aggressive team," Sutton said. "I'm not talking about number of people rushing the quarterback. I'm just saying the way we play the game. We want to play like that and we want to play with a passion that you can feel on film."
Doug Pederson wants the same from his offense.
"I want them to come out and be aggressive," the Chiefs offensive coordinator said. "I want them to play hard, be fast, be an aggressive physical group and limit some of the mistakes."
In 2013, the Chiefs opened the regular season with a perfect 9-0 record. This year, within the first five games, the Chiefs will visit Denver, Miami and San Francisco, while also matching up with the Patriots on September 29 at home.
When asked about the schedule, veteran linebacker Tamba Hali acknowledged that this makes starting strong all that more important.
"The first game is going to set the tone on what we want to get done throughout the regular season," he said. "We did something last year that people didn't expect.
"Now, the schedule is in a position where we want to be able to do what we did last year and prove to the world that this is the team the coaches put together and we're ready to go further than people can imagine."
Hali must be paying close attention to Sutton, who has stressed passion to his players as the team eyes Sunday afternoon.
"That's the way the game is supposed to be played," he said. "To me, that's playing like a Chief."
- CB Marcus Cooper (ankle), C Eric Kush (shoulder) and RB De'Anthony Thomas (hamstring) did not practice; no decisions have yet been on whether they will play Sunday.