Chiefs Have to Be Cautious with Quarterbacks

Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard knew it as soon as he let it go. Within a split second of the football leaving his fingers, Huard knew his pass was going to result in a touchdown. He wished he could have changed the flight of the ball but it landed into the waiting arms of cornerback Eric Green.

Watching the game most of us have had that feeling that it was not Huard's night. After the game we learned he suffered a head contusion. But at that moment, he was helpless and that errant pass knotted the score at 10-10 and that seemed to knock the wind out of the Chiefs sail in the second half.

On the play that resulted in a 27-year touchdown return for the Cardinals, Huard know he should not have thrown the ball. Even though out of the corner of his eye he probably knew that he shouldn't throw the ball; it was too late. Once the progression is over half completed, your brain just can't stop your arm. It's like when you're driving and you pull out into an intersection, then you see the car speeding toward you. It's a sickening feeling.

That's the feeling Huard had as he threw a pass in the third quarter intended for Chiefs wide receiver Jeris McIntyre.

Tonight's game was an important one for Huard, who played second string quarterback in place of the injured Todd Collins. Huard relieved Trent Green in the second quarter and it was clear he didn't have his ‘A' game. It was a great opportunity to show the Chiefs he can be counted on to be the number two guy in the event something would happen to Green during the regular season.

At the end of the third quarter, Huard was 1-11 for 11 yards and an interception for a touchdown. He was also sacked once, and had a quarterback rating of 1.7. By comparison, Todd Collins quarterback rating in last years four preseason games combined was 128.2. That's 128.2….to 1.7. There will be no back-up quarterback controversy; the job will be Collins' when he returns from injury. How long Collins remains sidelined with a fractured hand remains a mystery but its' possible he won't be back until the home opener against the New York Jets.

Huard wanted us to be talking about how he should be the #2 guy, instead we are wondering what in the world will happen if Green really gets hurt? Huard actually had a decent game last week in the opener versus the Vikings, but after he threw his second interception of the night in the fourth quarter, finishing 1 for 12 with 2 picks, and was a primary cause for the Chiefs turning a 10-0 lead into a 24-10 deficit, the attention quickly turned to third string quarterback James Killian.

What had been a fun game for Chiefs fans, by the start of the fourth quarter had become an uneasy sort of atmosphere as the game dragged on. James Killian had come into the game and completed a 58 yard pass play and threw a touchdown, both to wide receiver John Booth. Fans became a bit optimistic again, but then Killian threw a horrible interception right into the arms of Cardinals safety Ernest Shazer. The truth is, at times, Killian looked pretty lost in spite of the long gainer and the touchdown. How could Killian not see that big guy with the wrong-colored jersey on who made the interception?

"Well I saw him, and I didn't, if that makes any sense. I just thought I could fit it (the football) in there and he just showed right up. At that point, I just had to keep him out of the end zone", Killian said from the locker room after the game.

Actually, Killian has done as much as you can hope from a seventh round QB from Tulsa. He has flashed and shown some potential. The former Hurricane threw some great passes (especially in training camp), then he makes the big mistake that costs you the momentum and probably the game, about what the coaches expected. But he is a rookie and everyone knows that including Killian.

Still he has shown enough to make the coaches at least hope that he can be counted on one day. Certainly he is worth a practice squad spot. But there just isn't any way Killian can be counted on to play in a regular season game not this year anyway. So until Collins gets healthy, for better or worse, Huard is all the Chiefs have behind Trent Green.

Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil said after the game that there were no plans to look at the waiver wire for quarterbacks as Collins is expected to be back in the next couple of weeks.

But unless tonight's performance is an abomination, there is no depth behind Green until Collins returns, and that's a pretty uneasy feeling for Chiefs coaches. Vermeil spoke about Huard after the game, "I know he's better than that. A quarterback never looks as good if he doesn't have a great supporting cast around him. He has already proved he is better than that."

Still numbers don't lie and that 1.7 passer rating sticks out. For the Chiefs lets hope that rating is a blimp and Huard can return to the form that caused optimism after his performance against the Minnesota Vikings in the teams first exhibition game.

The Chiefs have been spoiled by Todd Collins. He's been the perfect security blanket for this offense and his absence was very evident tonight. Still Vermeil was not worried when a reporter asked him about Huard being ‘one play away' from being the teams starting quarterback.

"That really doesn't bother me right now. We don't have any place to go anyway," Vermeil said.

That pretty much says it all. Get well soon Todd Collins this team needs you back on the sidelines.

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