"It's no one's fault," Edwards said at his Tuesday press conference. "It's just the cards that have been dealt."
I couldn't disagree with Edwards more. There's definitely someone to blame. In fact, there are multiple parties. Let's examine the situation that led to Croyle's injury at the beginning of the second quarter Sunday.
• On first and 10, the Chiefs threw a quick pass to Dwayne Bowe for a loss of one yard.
• On second and 11, right tackle Herb Taylor committed a false start.
• On second and 16, the Chiefs threw a screen pass for a loss of two yards.
• On third and 18, Croyle was hit by Albert Haynesworth, who beat rookie left tackle Branden Albert, and Jacob Ford, who ducked around Taylor right as Croyle released the ball.
If you want to, you can blame Taylor. His false start put the Chiefs in a bad situation and his inability to protect his quarterback through the whistle certainly didn't help. But Taylor and Croyle are merely the victims of poor decisions from Herm Edwards. So we'll blame him, instead, even though apparently he doesn't want to accept that blame.
Start with the conservative call on first down. Is anyone shocked that the Chiefs weren't aggressive on an early down? Yes, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey made the play call. But it's Edwards who has the longtime conservative reputation, and it's Edwards who would much rather hand the ball off or throw a short pass on first down than risk attacking downfield. The Titans, having a great defense, predictably stuffed Bowe for a loss of one.
Now it's second down, and the Chiefs have been put into a passing situation. Taylor waggles backwards and draws a flag. Again, we could blame Taylor, but it was Edwards who inserted him in a football game midway through the first half. I'm not sure what Herm's fascination with rotating offensive linemen is (he did it last season with John Welbourn and Rudy Niswanger), but it strikes me as incredibly counterproductive, especially for an offensive tackle.
Linemen need consistent snaps to adjust to pass rushers. When you stick a young tackle into a game you're losing by 10 points, cold, and ask him to block a defensive end who has his ears pinned back and has had his motor running for over a quarter, you're just asking for trouble. Especially when that tackle – Taylor – is logging his first minutes of the season at right tackle.
Why should we be surprised that Taylor committed a false start and then failed to finish a block on third-and-long, allowing his quarterback to get smashed in not one direction, but two? He was thrust into an unfamiliar situation at an unfamiliar position. It was horrible strategy on the part of Herm Edwards.
Is Croyle injured today if just one defender hits him instead of two? Maybe, maybe not. But either way, there's no excuse for the way the situation at right tackle has been handled.
It's been obvious since training camp that veteran Damion McIntosh wasn't going to get the job done. In River Falls, "Sackintosh" was getting toasted by defensive ends who aren't even on KC's roster anymore. As soon as the Chiefs hit their bye week and Branden Albert began practicing at left tackle again, Taylor should have been prepared to start at right tackle.
Sticking with an injury-prone, under-performing veteran during a lost season makes zero sense, anyway. And yet, it was Edwards who blindly put his faith in McIntosh locking down the right side despite a mountain of evidence that said it was time for a switch. Now, it's quite possible Croyle has suffered for it, so yes, Herm, there's definitely someone to blame.
But why should we be surprised? Quarterback injuries follow Herm Edwards around like a sad puppy dog. He's left a trail of busted quarterbacks in the wake of his NFL career path. It happens with such frequency that it can't simply be coincidence.
Chad Pennington, Jay Fiedler, Vinny Testaverde, Trent Green, Brodie Croyle and now even Damon Huard have fallen under Herm's watch. That's six quarterbacks down for the count in only seven seasons and change.
Even more startling is the severity of the injuries. These guys aren't just getting nicked up, most of the time we're talking about ailments that place them on the injured list for months when they aren't going on injured reserve for the entire year. A fracture here, a rotator cuff there, a concussion here, an ACL there, and you wonder why any quarterback would want to play for Edwards.
How does this relate to next season? Should the Chiefs stand pat with their coaching staff, it would be foolish to draft a quarterback in the first round. Herm Edwards flat out doesn't deserve a franchise quarterback, because he hasn't proven he can effectively take care of one.
Clark Hunt may not be football man, but I know he's a business man. He understands a first-round quarterback next April represents a significant investment, the largest one his franchise might make to date.
But what good will it do if you can't protect your investment?
Does Herm Deserve Another Quarterback?
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