The Chiefs still don't know if Brodie Croyle can be their quarterback of the future or if he can even be the quarterback of this season for that matter. While the Chiefs are committed to their youth movement, it is still unclear if Croyle will be part of the mix. However, the team is committed to giving the third-year player the first crack at the job.
Croyle, who finished last season as the starter, lost the starting job to Damon Huard during camp last season. But he earned praise during the recent minicamps. Both Bowe and coach Herman Edwards said Croyle was full of confidence and showed a good grasp of the offense.
Some observers believe Tyler Thigpen will push Croyle. The quarterback job will be Croyle's if he performs well, but it is surely the biggest unknown heading into training camp and it will be one of the most closely watched stories in the AFC West in the preseason.
-Bill Williamson, ESPN.com
The notion that the starting quarterback job isn't securely, solely, and undoubtedly Brodie Croyle's is nonsense. It's almost laughable. Barring a freak injury or a 10-to-1 interception-to-touchdown ratio in the preseason, Croyle will be the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs come Week 1. The job isn't his to win, it's just his.
Now that we've established that Croyle will be the Chiefs opening day starting quarterback this year, let's dispel any rumors or crush any thought of Tyler Thigpen putting any kind of pressure on Brodie Croyle. Ever since Adam Schefter reported that the Chiefs believe Thigpen could challenge for and possibly win the starting job, other reporters have been piggybacking off the report, making assumptions about how impressive Thigpen has been.
As someone who has seen the quarterback "battle" in person, there is no comparison between Croyle and Thigpen. Brodie Croyle is the best quarterback on this team, period. The issues with Croyle thus far in his career have been his durability and decision making. The durability question still lingers, and will his entire career, but his decision making has been just fine during OTAs and minicamp. Not only has he shown more physical talent than Thigpen, but he's also exemplified superior decision making abilities.
I'm not here to tear down or minimize any strides Thigpen has made towards becoming an NFL caliber signal caller, but at this point in his career, Croyle is simply better. People are concerned about Croyle's lack of experience, but experience under center in an NFL game is something Thigpen has almost none of.
If Croyle has a terrible year and it becomes apparent he's not an NFL starter, then maybe Thigpen gets a shot in the latter part of the season, but it's doubtful. Croyle has the arm to be a special player - it's just whether or not he has everything else that's yet to be proven.
The Chiefs are building a team for the future. If they can match the young talent on offense and defense with a good quarterback, they will accomplish something few franchises have and set themselves up for years of winning. By letting Croyle play through the good and the bad, the Chiefs are giving themselves a chance to do something special. That is why he will be the starter, not only at the beginning of the season, but throughout.
Many commended the Chiefs for their selection of Branden Albert with the first-round pick they received in the Jared Allen deal. This isn't meant to condemn that selection one bit, since Albert will fit in somewhere on this line and should help out immediately, but it is amazing that Kansas City didn't bring in more young O-line talent besides Albert in this past draft.
Instead, the Chiefs made luxury selections to back up their present offensive stars. The thing to remember is those offensive stars can't realize their potential if the big boys up front are not doing their jobs, and asking an inexperienced quarterback to develop into a legitimate starter without adequate blocking is foolish. This is an offensive line that is going to really struggle to do its job in 2008. There just isn't much talent here, and at this point, the aging Brian Waters is the only lineman who can be considered an above-average football player at this level.
If Albert can make it at left tackle, Damion McIntosh should be adequate at right tackle. He doesn't belong on the left side, where he played last year. Optimistically, that adds up to three acceptable starters, but obviously, more are needed.
In this article, Williamson ranks all the offensive lines in the NFL, and puts the Chiefs at # 32, dead last. While I believe KC's offensive line will be better this year, Wiliamson's assessment may not be far from the truth.
Branden Albert will be a good player in this league, be it at tackle or guard. I think he will be an exceptional tackle, and make an immediate impact on this team, but I can see where the doubters are coming from. Making the move from guard to tackle is a big leap, and the jump from the ACC to the AFC West is even bigger.
Adrian Jones is making the move from tackle to guard. He's played some guard during his career, but spent more time as a tackle. Damion McIntosh is moving from the left side to the right, and has admitted having trouble with the transition. Rudy Niswanger played every position along the line at LSU, but was an undrafted free agent, and played more guard last year than center.
Brian Waters is the only lineman who is playing the same position he did a year ago, and is the only proven commodity up front. But he's proof that a position change can be for the better. He broke into the league as a tight end before becoming an elite guard. The Chiefs are hoping the rest of the line will follow his lead, but it may take some time.
The line is in the process of improving, but will probably still be the weakest link on the offense. Will they be the worst line in football? That's yet to be determined.
Cliff Notes: A quarterback, an offensive line
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