5. Will an old friend solve KANSAS CITY'S defensive woes?
The Chiefs brought back every starter on a defense that ranked 29th last year and then rehired Gunther Cunningham, who was fired as K.C.'s coach after the 2000 season, to whip the unit into shape. Cunningham, who replaces Greg Robinson as defensive coordinator, served the Chiefs in that capacity from 1995 through '98 (the Chiefs' D ranked second in his first year) before taking over as coach for two seasons.
The Chiefs believe their problems on defense were schematic. The 58-year-old Cunningham, linebackers coach for the Tennessee Titans the past three seasons, is still one of the best defensive minds in the game and knows how to motivate players.
The defense will be better coached by Cunningham (right), but it's hard to imagine a drastic improvement. The unit still lacks an effective edge rusher, speed at linebacker and consistent play at cornerback. Cunningham will find it difficult to run his aggressive, blitzing schemes, and Kansas City will have to keep winning shootouts.
6. Can a talented back mind his manners in NEW ENGLAND?
The Super Bowl-champion Patriots dealt their second-round pick in the April draft to the Cincinnati Bengals for Corey Dillon (right), a three-time Pro Bowl running back with a history of being a malcontent. How will he fit in on a team filled largely with selfless, blue-collar types?
New England ranked 27th in rushing last season and can't continue to expect quarterback Tom Brady to carry the offense. The addition of Dillon, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first six NFL seasons, gives the Pats a powerful runner whose surprising speed and sure hands make him a perfect fit for this attack.
Dillon can be many things—immature, volatile, enigmatic—but he isn't stupid. He'll be on his best behavior because he's with a championship club that has a front office he respects, which wasn't the case in Cincinnati. And he has to know this: The Pats won two Super Bowls without a marquee back. So if he does become a headache, the team will find a way to win without him.