More than perhaps any other year, the 2020 season will be a work in progress.
With the offseason program turned virtual before training camp and the preseason scrapped, Week 1 is the first time teams will go up against an opponent. It's the initial chance clubs have to see who they might be this season and where they stack up against competition.
For the Houston Texans, Thursday night's 34-20 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs was a wakeup call.
"There are a lot of things to fix," coach Bill O'Brien said after the loss, via the team's official transcript. "It is one game and we have to improve very quickly, but it is just one game. We have to get back here. Players will be off here this weekend, but we have to get back to work very soon and fix these things."
Without preseason, defenses could be expected to struggle with tackling. And while Houston kept Patrick Mahomes in check for stretches early, the deluge opened in the second and third quarters with K.C. scoring on four straight possessions to blow the game open.
The Houston offense also struggled to find traction. After the early script was exhausted, O'Brien's offense, with first-time play-caller Tim Kelly calling the shots, seemed lost and unable to move the ball, and lacked any explosive plays until garbage time. The offensive line got beaten up -- perhaps due to not facing live rushing for months -- allowing Deshaun Watson to get sacked four times and pressured innumerable others.
"We had trouble with Frank Clark," O'Brien noted. "We had trouble with some of their games up front. We have to fix that very quickly here. I thought Deshaun played well. He played hard. He played tough. He kept fighting, and he got us back in the game there at the end. It was too late."
Houston's two garbage-time TDs made the score appear closer than the game felt for most of the second half.
Facing the defending champs on the road to open the year was a difficult proposition for any team, let alone one trying to figure out its way after trading a star receiver in the offseason.
O'Brien must now get things fixed in a hurry. In 10 days, his team faces 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.