Still, good chemistry will carry a team only so far. Talent is a larger issue for the Chiefs. Vermeil will install an offense not unlike the high-octane system he used in St. Louis, even though Kansas City doesn't have the phalanx of speedy wide receivers that the Rams do. Instead, new offensive coordinator Al Saunders will feature Gonzalez and ask running back Priest Holmes, a free-agent pickup from the Ravens, to be K.C.'s version of St. Louis's multipurpose back, Marshall Faulk.
Vermeil must also come to grips with a suspect defense and the health of quarterback Trent Green, whom Kansas City acquired from St. Louis in a predraft trade. In February, Green had a fourth operation on his left knee, which he originally injured in a 1999 preseason game. He didn't participate in all the drills at the mini-camp, but he's expected to be at full strength by training camp.
Nevertheless, hope springs eternal in Vermeil, who is charging toward September with his characteristic zeal.