Chiefs Upgrade Quarterback Position

When Kurt Warner signed with the New York Giants, any flirtation Kansas City had with the former St. Louis Rams MVP faded when the Chiefs signed quarterback Damon Huard to a two-year contract.

With all the rumors circling the drains in NFL circles about a major shuffle in the quarterback position; the Chiefs made a curious move in adding Damon Huard to their quarterback arsenal.

Shortly after the draft, the Chiefs signed former Tennessee Volunteer standout Casey Clausen to a free agent contract. He was expected to be the Chiefs third string quarterback in 2004 but that has all changed since the Chiefs signed perennial back-up Damon Huard.

Clausen is now likely headed to the practice squad and NFL Europe unless he can prove to the Chiefs that he's worthy of the third string job.

Todd Collins has been the Chiefs back-up to Trent Green the last three seasons. He has only played sparingly with Kansas City. Huard has spent the last three years serving as Tom Brady's back up in New England and has two Super Bowl rings to show for his efforts.

Huard like Collins has limited playing time and NFL experience. The Chiefs wanted to add a veteran quarterback and targeted Huard early but chose not to sign him until Friday.

This move would appear to be sound. The Chiefs have the utmost confidence in Trent Green but they needed some insurance considering he's started every game at quarterback the last three years. Law of averages in the NFL generally dictates that at some point your starter will be injured.

Though Collins is a favorite of Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil, the signing of Huard could be nothing more than to give Collins some much needed competition for the #2 slot behind Green.

However, if Clausen is impressive as some NFL scouts belief, then that could mean Huard's stay in Kansas City could be short. Vermeil when approached by reporters about the addition of Huard played it safe in evaluating his contributions and why they signed him.

"Being the third quarterback; hopefully, he never has to be the second or the first. Not that he doesn't have the ability to do that, it's just that you have people injured if he does. We brought him here because he's got experience; he's started six games in his career and won five of them. He's done some very good things. I know they liked him in New England as their third quarterback. He's been as high as their back-up there and is a very good guy on the field and in the locker room. He'll do a good job for us."

It sounds like Clausen has an uphill battle to make the final roster.

Mini-Camp Notes

* It appears from all indications that recently acquired offensive lineman John Welbourne will be given every opportunity to start at right tackle. He has practiced extensively with the first offensive unit.

* Tony Gonzalez continues to sit out of the min-camp with a stress fracture in his foot. He's scheduled for another MRI this week to determine his status for the rest of the off-season.

* The Chiefs defense has been flying all over the field in mini-camp. New Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has his players loose and aggressive. A stickler for living and dying with the Blitz; it's a safe bet that once Cunningham finishes his evaluations this weekend, that he'll design plays and schemes to bring out the strengths of each and every defensive player on the roster.

* Don't expect the Chiefs to make a run at any other players. Outside of Huard, the Chiefs plan on bringing this group to training camp.

* Everyone at Warpaint Illustrated sends their condolences to Will Shields and his family for the loss of his mother this past week.


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