Chiefs Cap Preseason With 17-9 Loss To Rams

If the Chiefs' starting quarterback job for the season opener in Baltimore was up for grabs Thursday night against the Rams, Brodie Croyle snagged it. He didn't reach up and yank it down with confidence, but he possesses it nonetheless, if Matt Cassel is unable to go.

By no means did Croyle have an unbelievable showing, completing less than a third of his passes for just 85 yards, an average of 5.3 yards per completion. However, he led the Chiefs on three scoring drives and played relatively mistake-free football. There were several occasions when Croyle missed his intended receiver, but he missed to where the ball wasn't available for a defender. He also popped up after taking numerous hits, showing signs of toughness and durability.

Croyle didn't have to make highlight after highlight to beat out Tyler Thigpen. All he had to was avoid stupid mistakes and protect the football, because Thigpen would inevitably do so by throwing a pick-six on just his fourth pass attempt of the night, and another interception just two possessions later. Thigpen also sorely missed a wide open Sean Ryan on what should have been an easy completion.

If there truly were teams interested in acquiring Thigpen via trade, they might be able to just sit tight until Saturday to see if he's released, or they might have to wait until Cassel is healthy. Either way, it'd be shocking if a team was willing to give up so much as a seventh-round pick for Thigpen. Not just because of Saturday, but because he's always had a tendency to throw the ball into the opponent's mitts.

While quarterback play was lackluster, one positional group played rather well Thursday. Reserve safeties Jon McGraw and DaJuan Morgan showed up. McGraw made two colossal, reception-preventing hits on one possession, and Morgan made an extremely athletic, diving interception. This brings one of the closest position battles to the forefront.

The Chiefs currently have six safeties on the roster - Morgan, McGraw, Jarrad Page, Bernard Pollard, Mike Brown and Ricky Price. Despite being injured and seemingly in Todd Haley's doghouse this week, Page will start Week 1, as will Pollard. Beyond that, there are no guarantees.

Brown brings valuable, winning experience to a group that has none otherwise. McGraw is a workhorse with superior special teams abilities. Morgan has youth and is flashing signs of promise. Price has little chance to make the team. Remove Price, and you're still left with five safeties, which is probably one more than Haley would prefer keep. This might be the tightest race on the team.

Another tight position battle resides at running back. Larry Johnson has the top spot sewn up, and showed so tonight with some impressive north-south running, including a 40-yard burst that would have resulted in a touchdown had he not stepped out of bounds. Jamaal Charles has the second spot nailed down.

Jackie Battle, Dantrell Savage and Javarris Williams are competing for the other roster spots. Savage made the most headway Thursday night with a thrilling 70-yard scamper that was reminiscent of one Olathe native - Darren Sproles. Williams and Battle also received carries with the first- or second-team offensive unit. Kolby Smith could also be in the mix come Week 4 when he's eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list.

Two other players who may have extended their time with the Chiefs Thursday are Wallace Gilberry and Jovan Belcher. Gilberry may be KC's only serviceable backup defensive end, and Belcher was impressive on special teams. They also split a sack in the fourth quarter. Top Stories