Yesterday, Todd Haley named Brodie Croyle the starter for the Chiefs final preseason game against the St. Louis Rams. With the status of Matt Cassel still unknown, Croyle could stake claim to the job until the starter returns.
If Croyle opens the season for the Chiefs in Baltimore, the moment would mark a dramatic turnaround in his fortunes. He sustained a series of injuries since taking over as the starting quarterback two years ago, and it was reasonable to assume when a season-ending knee injury knocked him out of the lineup last October, his days as a Chief were about to end.
Since then, he even lost his biggest champion when former coach Herm Edwards was fired. But Croyle worked diligently to rehabilitate his surgically repaired knee and impressed the coaches to the point where he’s in the running.
“That’s what you work for,” Croyle said. “You don’t work just to make a paycheck or hope you make a team. If you’re going to rehab from something like that, you have something in mind.”
Croyle’s passing has been sharper than that of Thigpen during training camp and the preseason. In three games, the two players attempted a similar number of passes (Thigpen 29, Croyle 28).
Croyle’s statistics are superior in most categories. He has a better completion percentage and almost twice as many yards. But Thigpen guided a touchdown drive in the second half of a game against Houston; Croyle hasn’t taken the Chiefs to the end zone.
The game will be the first for the Chiefs with Haley calling the offensive plays. He replaced Chan Gailey as the coordinator this week.
“It’s obviously different,” Croyle said. “The pace is different. How the plays are called, kind of the tempo, just kind of getting used to what he thinks. We’re still a long way off on knowing exactly what he’s thinking on different calls. The more you get used to somebody, you can start anticipating what they’re going to call even before. It’s definitely different. But there are no excuses. You just go out there and run it. He wants to get up there and get moving, have lots of offensive plays. It makes sense. The more plays you have, the better chance you have of scoring.”
I don’t question Croyle’s ability to make the plays. I question his ability to survive behind an offensive line that has shown an inability to protect the Chiefs quarterbacks so far this preseason. Mix that with Croyle’s injury history and you have to wonder how long he will last tomorrow night.
One of the many quarterbacks to get playing time with the Chiefs last season, Damon Huard, is once again looking for work.
Nate Davis did exactly what the 49ers wanted him to do and that’s force them to release veteran Damon Huard. Now the team has two promising players backing starter Shaun Hill. Of course, many feel Alex Smith won’t amount to a pile of sweat-stained football laces, but here’s a quarterback who was decent in his second season and who could get back on the development track under the right coach and the right system. With the 49ers, he has both.
And all that means Huard is out of a job. I’m sort of surprised that San Francisco is going with three largely unproven commodities at quarterback. Yes, Hill is 29. But last season was the first time in his career he ever appeared in more than three games. If Huard still wants to play, I have to imagine there’s a team in the league that could use a veteran like him on the roster.
None of the five roster moves the Chiefs made yesterday to get down to the league’s mandatory roster limit of 75 were very surprising. The Rams, also operating under a new regime, made a much bigger splash with their cuts.
The star-crossed draft Class of 2006 took a couple of big hits Tuesday at Rams Park. For openers, tight end Joe Klopfenstein — a second-round pick in ’06 — was among four players released as the Rams got down to Tuesday’s mandatory roster limit of 75 players.
No real surprise there, given his lack of playing time this preseason, coupled with his inability to make much happen when he did play. But later Tuesday came the surprise, the trade of cornerback Tye Hill to Atlanta for a seventh-round pick in the 2010 draft. Hill was the Rams’ first-round pick in ’06, the 15th overall player selected that year.
For more than one Rams player, Hill’s departure went beyond surprise.
“Hearing news like that always shocks you,” Jonathan Wade said. “It was like, huh?”
Every coach is going to make his statement with a roster move that takes his team by surprise. Haley has yet to make his, but we all know it’s coming. Steve Spagnuolo felt the need to make his statement early on.