Casey Printers Gets A Taste Of The NFL

Mankato, Minnesota - On Friday night, backup quarterback Casey Printers finally lined up against an NFL team. Granted it was a glorified scrimmage against the Minnesota Viking, but he still received a small taste of what it might be like next Saturday in Houston.

Quarterbacks are a unique NFL breed. They can look plain awful on one pass and brilliant on their next attempt. For Printers, his dilemma is slightly different. He has the reputation of being a running quarterback first and a passer second.

"I only escape the pocket when I have to, contrary to what people say." said Printers. "It's a matter of getting a feel for it. Defenses won't just allow you to run. But I'm out here learning."

And he's right, but the Chiefs know they have a fleet-footed quarterback with a cannon on his right shoulder. He's still a bit raw, but all he's asked for in Kansas City is a chance to compete. He got that on Friday.

"I had a lot of fun out there," said Printers. "It was my first crack at it. Obviously I have a lot of things to work on."

Printers' best asset might be his ability to move out of the pocket when he feels the heat. The last quarterback in Kansas City that could effectively do that was Rich Gannon.

That change of pace style is certainly a positive for the Chiefs. And if Printers can continue the maturation process, he could unseat Damon Huard as the number two quarterback. At the moment, the Chiefs have two veterans and a pair of rookies, so it might be necessary to carry all fall four of them on the 53-man roster.

Before training camp started, Head Coach Herman Edwards indicated that Printers would compete for the number two job.

Printers knows that, but it's not his main concern. He knows he needs more game action.

"It's about making plays when I get opportunities," said Printers. "I'm going to get better. The game is coming to me and I'm not trying to force the ball down the field."

In seven-on-seven drills against Minnesota, Printers did an excellent job of reading the defense and checking off his receivers. He was unfazed by Minnesota's blitzes. Granted, they were not at full speed, but he read them and was able to get the ball to the hot receiver. On other occasions he didn't look as sharp, but this was a chance to get his feet wet. And that's all you want at this stage in his development.

Printers success at this level might boil down to one thing. In the CFL, the game was wide open and loose, but in the NFL it's more controlled. The overwhelming difference is the pace of play. The game is much faster in the NFL, and Printers is still adapting.

"That's something that every young player struggles with when they first get into the NFL," he said. "But unlike any other position, the quarterback spot is always under the microscope.

"I just have to keep telling myself that I'm going to get better. You're never good enough."

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