Huard Has My Attention

I'll just come out and say it. I was wrong about quarterback Damon Huard. I could be a bit glib about it, or just take my lumps. I could also end this column right now, but that would deprive the adoring fans that love to read my poetic words as I eat crow.

For the record, I still think Brodie Croyle is the quarterback of the future for the Kansas City Chiefs. But Huard has the gig for now and he's giving the team a reason to think he can get the job done. In the NFL, you never know where your stars will come from. Sometimes it takes players, especially quarterbacks, a decade to get their opportunity. And if they make the most of that opportunity, sometimes they shock the hell out of the fans.

I've been watching Huard throw the ball for three years now. His passes have been errant, under thrown and occasionally, dead on. But what he's doing now is absolutely amazing.

On Monday Night I appeared on a local TV talk show with KSHB TV-41 Sports Director Jack Harry and ESPN and Chiefs TV Analyst Roger Twibell. We all started talking about Huard.

Roger had called several of Huard's games at the University of Washington and talked about his strong arm and mobility in the pocket. He's showing those same traits right now at the helm of KC's offense.

Huard has completed over 70 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and no interceptions. He has a quarterback rating of 107.4 and is 2-1 as a starter. That rating would be higher if Samie Parker, Eddie Kennison and Larry Johnson hadn't dropped so many passes this year.

Maybe they're just as surprised as I am that Huard is delivering the ball with such precision. He's been dissecting defenses for three games now. He's no Trent Green, but he's doing a fine job of impersonating him.

Huard is in the midst of his 10th NFL season. His career began with the Dolphins, where he started six games in his three years as a backup. From there, he moved on to New England where he mopped up a couple of times for Tom Brady on his way to collecting a Super Bowl ring. Not a bad deal, especially considering he threw only one pass during his time as a Patriot. For the record, the pass was incomplete.

In Kansas City, he hadn't taken a snap in the regular season for three years. Todd Collins had been Green's understudy before leaving for Washington.

Almost everyone thought the Chiefs had made a huge mistake in letting Collins go. Kansas City hedged their bets by drafting Croyle, but they felt it was a safe risk to try and get one more year out of Huard as the backup.

Now, that's all changed.

The Chiefs truly have a dilemma at quarterback. With God as my witness, I was certain I'd never say those words again after the Grbac-Gannon incident. Those wounds are still sore, but what do the Chiefs do if Huard waltzes into Pittsburgh next Sunday and guides the Chiefs to a third straight win?

What if Green is out another month? Do they keep Huard as the starter and bench the leader of one of the league's most prolific offenses over the last five years?

The answer is obvious, but if you're Herm Edwards, do you stay with the hot hand? I would think conventional wisdom suggests that Green will retain his starting job when and if he returns at some point this year.

There is no denying that Huard is not the same quarterback as Green, but after ten years in the NFL he's paid his dues. He's getting a chance to show his pundits, yours truly included, that his two-game winning streak might just be the beginning. He clearly has the respect of his teammates and he's one of the hottest and most proficient quarterbacks in the NFL.

Edwards will have to decide if Huard can cash in on those dues for the remainder of the season, or take away his glass cleat and give the ball back to Green.

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