Croyle looked unsure in the pocket throughout the entire first half Saturday, holding onto the ball much longer than he should have, resulting in two sacks, a forced fumble, and nearly two safeties.
In past, Croyle has been classified as a "gunslinger" and has always shown the confidence in his arm to make the tough throw, thread the needle, and put the ball in a tight spot. He didn't do that Saturday in Miami.
Instead, Croyle looked like he's adopted Damon Huard's philosophy of holding onto the football like a winning lottery ticket. Watching on television, it's hard to tell if there are open receivers downfield, but surely there were a few during KC's early drives.
Assuming there were at least one or two open receivers for Croyle to throw to, one can only come to the conclusion that he was scared to death of making a mistake. Sure, no one wants to see Croyle throw an interception, but watching him struggle to unglue the ball from his hands was nauseating.
Finally, toward the end of the half, Croyle started to let the pigskin fly, and the Chiefs started to move the ball down the field. But the effort was too late, resulting in an interception as the clock wound down to end the first half. In the second half, Croyle came out playing like the quarterback Chiefs fans saw against the Bears and the Cardinals, resulting in a 12-play, 64-yard drive.
While Croyle was busy having an abominable first half, the Dolphins newly acquired quarterback, Chad Pennington, was looking like the Pennington of old. The interesting storyline here is obvious - Pennington was almost a Chief.
Head Coach Herm Edwards coached Pennington in New York, and when he became available, Kansas City showed interest in acquiring him, but couldn't match the 11 million dollars and starting job offered by Miami.
The way Pennington played Saturday night, completing passes in the face of pressure, it almost seemed like he may have been worth the money and the title. Does that mean the Chief made a mistake in not going after him?
No. While Saturday's performance was not good for Croyle, it doesn't mean he can't be a good player in this league. We'll still have to wait and see what he does when the games are real. Croyle's most recent performance might not have been reassuring to Chiefs fans, but he's still the best option the Chiefs have at quarterback, and it's not even close.
Meanwhile, at least one young player looks fantastic, and that's cornerback Brandon Flowers, who was making tackles and plays all over the field Saturday night. He's easily been KC's most impressive rookie thus far. We haven't seen Branden Albert in the preseason while Glenn Dorsey has been just another player in the rotation.
Flowers covered well against one of the league's better receiving tandems last week and showed his tackling abilities Saturday. On one particular play, he lined up as the nickel back and made a solo tackle on Ricky Williams right at the line of scrimmage. Flowers is legit, and fellow rookie cornerback Brandon Carr snagged an interception.
Linebacker Derrick Johnson was also fantastic in Miami, flying all over the field making plays, which is exactly what Chiefs fans have been waiting for him to do. This season will be his fourth as a pro, and he looks poised to have his best campaign yet.
Cliff Notes: Chiefs vs Dolphins
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