Around The Web: Backup Battle, Arrowhead Press Box, Viking Showdown

Todd Haley might still be preaching open competition at every position, but as Rick Dean reports, both Brodie Croyle and Tyler Thigpen realize they are fighting to backup Matt Cassel.BrodieCroyle3

There may not be room for both on the roster.  Kansas City just added a young No. 3 candidate in Matt Gutierrez, whose New England lineage suggests the Chiefs already have the guy who will hold a clipboard as the inactive third quarterback on Sundays.

Both men made their case as best they could Saturday night in the Chiefs’ 16-10 loss in the preseason opener at Arrowhead Stadium.

In the four series he played, Croyle completed 12 of 18 passes for 145 yards.  Just as important, he tested his rebuilt left knee on a successful 2-yard sneak on a fourth-and-1 play and survived his first sack.

“It’s always good to get that first hit out of the way, especially coming back on a knee,” said Croyle, whose history of leg and shoulder injuries at Alabama and in the NFL puts his durability, and his career, in question.  “But honestly, I didn’t even think about it, and that’s a good mental step for me.  I’ve just got to go out and do whatever I can with whatever position I’m in.  Matt’s a great quarterback.  They brought him here for a reason.  He’ll do just fine.”

TylerThigpenThigpen did what he did best a year ago as a starter for the final 11 games after Croyle and veteran Damon Huard went down.

Thigpen led KC on a 76-yard scoring drive that cut the deficit to 16-10 after he hit tight end Brad Cottam for a 1-yard score with 5:15 remaining.  The play was classic Thigpen.  He scrambled around to buy time when nothing was happening, started running toward the goal and drew three defenders out of their coverage, leaving Cottam room to get open.

“Cottam did a good job of not giving up,” he said in giving his receiver the credit.  “He was maybe the fourth option, but he kept coming back to me.  I guess they thought I was (running) for the end zone, but there was no way I was going to get through three guys.  I was able to get my head up and see Brad.  I know it didn’t look that way, and the guys will probably give me a rough time when they see it on film.  But yeah, I did see him before I threw it.”

That play very easily could have been from any of Thigpen’s games last season.  And really his whole time on the field, right down to the team falling just short at the end.  But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m partial to Thigpen winning the backup quarterback job.  Croyle looked very good Saturday, but every Chiefs fan was holding their breath when he was sacked.  Is there anyone that doubts Croyle would not have gotten up from that late hit that Thigpen took in the fourth quarter?  The one thing everyone knows is that Thigpen can take a thumping and be no worse for the wear.

Our friends over at Arrowhead Pride how have access to an area rarely seen by anyone in the blogosphere: The Arrowhead Stadium press box.  Joel from AP watched his first game from the press box Saturday night and all season long will be delivering information you can’t get by watching the game on TV or in the stands, like the nugget below.

As I settle into my seat, just to my right there are some folks from the NFL cutting up film of the game.  Just a quick glimpse of their computer screens helps explain why NFL Films is continually on the leading edge of the sports coverage industry.  This has got to be one of the best jobs out there.  Travel to different stadiums, watch football, and break it down in real time on film.  It’s even cooler when you know how incredibly well the final product turns out.

How cool is that?  Not only to get access to the press box, but to get a seat right next to the NFL Films folks.  I’m pretty sure I would spend more time watching them go to work than the Chiefs play on the field!  Just an amazing job by Joel, Chris and their staff at Arrowhead Pride.  Make sure you check out all of their amazing coverage (though I’m pretty sure if you’ve found me, you found them long ago).

Against the Texans, the Chiefs were host to a new backup quarterback for Houston when Dan Orlovsky made his debut.  This week, the Vikings come into the second preseason game of the season with a real battle for their starting QB spot.

Sage Rosenfels shined with the first team in their preseason game at Indianapolis, though coach Brad Childress is keeping the performance in perspective.  The coach is also making sure not to put Tarvaris Jackson’s struggles in too strong of a light.  Jackson starts this week when the Vikes play Kansas City.

After all the talk of open competition for the quarterback spot with the Chiefs, we get to see a legitimate fight for a starting spot this weekend with Rosenfels and Jackson.  It’s not as much drama as it would have been if Brett Favre came out of retirement (again) to play for the Vikings, but it should still make for an interesting test for the Kansas City defense with neither the starters or backups for Minnesota simply going through the motions Friday night.

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