Ready Or Not, Croyle Is the Man

In the aftermath of one of the poorest preseason offensive performances in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs, Head Coach Herm Edwards can't panic. He can't waiver from his initial thinking this offseason about young quarterback Brodie Croyle.

I know the young gunslinger from Alabama hasn't performed to anyone's expectations in the three exhibition games this month. But this is the price you pay for putting your trust and faith into a talented, but inexperienced quarterback.

Noboody was harder on Croyle than himself after Thursday night's 30-7 loss. He's learning on the job, and one of the toughest things for any young player to face is adversity. It hit him hard in the face this week.

After the game he was upset, hurt and felt he let down his teammates. He even admitted that he took a step backwards in his development.

I say he grew up some.

Croyle took the brunt of the entire blame for his performance when most of the offensive unit around him didn't do what they were supposed to do. Poor pass blocking, dropped passes and incorrectly run routes all did their share of damage.

Today, as Edwards and his coaching staff talk behind closed doors, they'll look at every aspect of Croyle's performance. There were a lot of negatives, but there were also some positives and that's the only thing that they need to concentrate on at the moment as they hit the practice field.

They have to stay the course as a coaching staff. Winning is everything in the NFL, but you have to develop young players and this organization has never been able to draft and develop a young quarterback into a superstar.

Croyle has talent. He is the best quarterback on this football team.

With a little more than two weeks before the season opener in Houston, there's still time to right the ship so it can set sail on a steady course. But not if the captain changes directions in the middle of the ocean.

Edwards needs to come out and declare Croyle the starter today, even if deep down he knows he's not ready. He has to look at the future and not the present.

He has to trust the fact that his defense will hold opponents to less than 20 points a game once they unveil the hard-charging style defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has planned for opposing offenses this season.

Edwards has to know that left tackle Damion McIntosh will be back soon and that Larry Johnson will help Croyle more than anyone. He has to trust that his veteran line will get the job done once all the guns are in place to shoot bullets.

He has to hope that once offensive coordinator Mike Solari opens up the offense, veteran receivers Tony Gonzalez and Eddie Kennison will give Croyle more options. And if Dwayne Bowe can mature over the next month, this offense can grow and get better as the season unfolds.

Sitting Croyle now would be a mistake, one that could have lasting effects not only this season, but next. Edwards has to stick with his young quarterback. He must be his biggest supporter.

Winning football games is secondary right now. I'm not throwing in the towel on the 2007 season, because I believe what guard Brian Waters said after the loss - this team has playoff potential.

The AFC West is up for grabs. I'm not sold on any of the teams in this division at the moment. This isn't the time to panic at One Arrowhead Drive, because in week 10 there won't be a clear-cut leader to win this division.

And this isn't the time to hand the job to Damon Huard. The veteran isn't even healthy, and honestly he's struggled running this offense. Croyle is the only choice.

It's a choice Edwards alone has to make. It's the only move to make if he's indeed going to build this team into a winner. Youth has to prevail on this roster because that group of youngsters will determine KC's division and playoff hopes for now and in the future.

It all starts with Brodie Croyle. Top Stories