Cliff Notes: Croyle and his line

This week Pat takes on the Chicago Sun-Times and the Associated Press.

Was that really Brodie Croyle leading the Chiefs straight through the Bears' defense to open the game? Sure, the defense buckled down afterward but it had five opportunities to get off the field and Croyle and the Chiefs converted five third downs. That was more alarming than the inability of the first offense or the hybrid first offense with Grossman in the second quarter to get a touchdown.

-Brad Biggs, Chicago Sun-Times

Yes Mr. Biggs, that was indeed Brodie Croyle who marched his troops down Soldier Field and put six points on the board against the once-feared Bears defense. Herm Edwards hopes Croyle leaves many other onlookers with similar reactions this season. Not too many "experts" are expecting Croyle to succeed as an NFL starter, and some preposterously early mocks have Kansas City selecting Florida's Tim Tebow or Georgia's Matt Stafford in the next NFL draft.

The idea that draft "experts" can possibly predict which quarterback will be the most highly coveted come next year's draft is as silly as the idea that Croyle's performance on the first drive of the Bears game is what Chiefs fans can expect all season long. This time last year, experts were talking about Brian Brohm as the best pro quarterback prospect, not Matt Ryan. While Brohm was drafted, his stock dropped significantly after Louisville's lackluster season. Andre Woodson, who also received hype, was drafted in the sixth round. The lesson here is put absolutely no stock in these early mock drafts.

Next, let's discuss how Croyle looked Thursday night. The first drive was magnificent. Croyle and KC's offense shook off a penalty, a botched play, a fallen receiver, a questionable call and the Bears defense on their way to a touchdown. Let's hope there aren't as many mistakes in future Chiefs drives, because chances are, they won't be overcome.

It's long been known that Croyle has the physical attributes to become a solid NFL quarterback. He was a high school All-American, and was on NFL scouting radars for years. Thursday night, he showed why. He has great arm strength and good accuracy.

It's yet to be seen if Croyle will put all his tools together and become Kansas City's franchise quarterback this season, but no one should be shocked if he does. And if there's one city that shouldn't be shocked that the Chiefs are putting their hopes in a talented, unproven quarterback, it shouldn't be Chicago - see Rex Grossman.

At right tackle is the nine-year veteran Damion McIntosh, a 6-4, 320-pounder who seems unhappy about being switched from left tackle. The new right guard is Adrian Jones, a five-year veteran, who was claimed off waivers from the Jets in December.

Pressure is being applied at many positions from backups. But that is the line that has taken shape since spring workouts. The starters will probably get more playing time in the preseason than they normally do because coaches want to get a good look. "I think we're progressing as a unit," McIntosh said. "Remember that we started this process in March. It's nothing new right now. We're going into August, so we've been doing this for months now."

McIntosh's knee is also a worry. He hurt it in the preseason last year and has had it wrapped at times this week. He also acknowledged he was more accustomed to the left side."I'm working at it," he said. "I'm doing O.K., been working on it this whole off-season. It's a challenge that was given to me and I'm fine with it. I'm a ballplayer. They want me to do something, I'll work at it. This is my craft. This is what I'm supposed to do."

-Associated Press

This is an interesting story, and one Chiefs fans should keep their eye on. McIntosh has been oft injured since he came to Kansas City. His right knee has forced him out of practice numerous times this offseason, and it's obvious he's not 100 percent. Playing on the right side, McIntosh's first move on pass plays requires him to shift all his weight to that right knee. It's something that could become a real problem throughout the 2008 season. It makes KC'S backup right tackle the sixth starting lineman.

Right now, that player is rookie Barry Richardson. At the beginning of camp, Richardson looked a little slow and lost at tackle, but has shown marked improvement. He possesses the size offensive coordinator Chan Gailey likes and blocked well against the Vikings in River Falls and the first preseason game. Some want Richardson to beat McIntosh out for a starting job, and though he hasn't, don't be surprised if he ends up starting at some point this season.

One of the many negative aspects of last summer's visit to Chiefs camp of NFL Films and the Hard Knocks crew was that the show glorified a wide receiver of rather average talents by the name of Bobby Sippio.

I still receive regular e-mails from fans wondering why the Chiefs don't play Sippio more and why I don't write about him more. I get more questions about Sippio than about any other Chiefs player, a fact that is simply amazing considering that Dwayne Bowe, Larry Johnson, Brodie Croyle and dozens of other more interesting subjects play for this team.

So it was predictable that the hate mail would roll in today after I had the nerve to write a story in this morning's Kansas City Star detailing the contributions of some of the Chiefs' young receivers in the exhibition opener in Chicago. I wrote mainly about Maurice Price, Will Franklin and Jeff Webb. Not a mention of Sippio. I even received a call yesterday afternoon from one of my editors wondering whether I had simply forgotten about Sippio and that he caught the winning TD. I'll pass along what I told him.

Price, Franklin and Webb did their work against Chicago starters or backups who will be with the Bears when the regular season begins. These three receivers also look like they will be playing for the Chiefs when the season starts. Sippio did his work in the fourth quarter of a preseason game. That's the domain of guys who will be looking for jobs in another few weeks. It's a sign, Sippio fans, that your hero is going to have a tough time making the team. And he caught his three passes against players who will soon be ex-Bears.

That may not mean much to you, but I guarantee that it does to the Chiefs. I talk regularly with Herm Edwards, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and wide receivers coach Eric Price. None has been critical of Sippio, even off the record. But clearly they are more excited about Franklin and Price, mainly because of their speed. Sippio isn't fast. It's why he was playing in the Arena League when he joined the Chiefs. It's why he doesn't get more playing opportunities.

I can't tell you today whether or not Sippio will make the team. My guess is that he won't. But one thing is becoming clear: the wide receivers who will play for the Chiefs when the season begins will come from this group: Bowe, Devard Darling, Franklin, Price and Webb. Not Bobby Sippio. And that's something the billions of Bobby Sippio fans out there will just have to deal with.

-Adam Teicher, Kansas City Star

I cannot agree with Teicher more on this issue. Sippio can catch the ball, but that's about all he brings to the table. If the Chiefs wanted a guy who could catch the ball but not get separation, spread the field, or even get open, they could scout any number of flag football leagues. I understand that people fell in love with Sippio because he's the underdog, he's Dwayne Bowe's cousin, and they like the fact that he can catch, but he is not an NFL receiver.

The love affair between Sippio and Kansas Citians is nothing new. This city has fallen in love with a number of below average receivers - Marc Boerigter, Sean La Chappelle and John Booth to name a few. Their stories are great: The NAIA guy, the little guy, and the hometown kid, but none of them could play at the NFL level. These love affairs with mediocre to just-plain-bad players aren't limited to wide receivers. Chiefs fans fell in love with linebackers Boomer Grigsby and Rich Scanlon, too.

Though most of these Chiefs players with cult followings end up working a nine-to-five, some have actually become something. Mike Maslowski was a Division III guy who actually became a good player until his career was cut short by injuries. Jared Allen is the epitome of the everyman who made it big. Allen was a cowboy from a small school who became a big-time player.

I still encounter some people who actually believe Allen was drafted as a long snapper. How can anyone be so gullible? No long snapper has ever been drafted in the fourth round, if one has ever been drafted at all. Did you really think the Chiefs were looking for Kendall Gammon's heir apparent when they drafted Allen, who won the Buck Buchanan award for his play as a defensive end?

If there are two things I want to inject into the minds of all who read this article, it's that Allen was drafted as a defensive end and that he was a fourth-round pick. None of these other players were drafted that high, and some of them weren't even drafted. That says something. When every single team passes on a player both in the draft and after the draft in free agency, they probably don't have what it takes. That is Sippio's story.

I'm also starting to get worried about the unhealthy obsession some fans have with seventh-rounder Brian Johnston. Yes he's a big white guy from a Division 1-AA school who plays defensive end, but he is not, and will probably never be, Jared Allen. Johnston has shown nothing to indicate otherwise. In the first preseason game against Chicago, "the next Jared Allen" recorded two tackles. Don't pin ridiculous expectations on Johnston because you miss Allen. It's not fair to anyone. Top Stories