The Kansas City Chiefs' confidence in third-year quarterback Brodie Croyle is well-documented.
Making Brodie Croyle a third-round draft pick in 2006 after a celebrated but injury plagued college career showed Chiefs' fans the team was confident in his future abilities.
After throwing only twenty-four passes in over a year and a half with the Chiefs, the team again asserted it's confidence in Croyle in November 2007 when Herm Edwards made him the starting quarterback after Damon Huard was injured.
Despite losing every start he made in 2007 and despite throwing as many touchdowns as interceptions (6), the Chiefs did not sign or draft a significant challenger to the starting quarterback position.
Perhaps that is the ultimate sign of confidence - a team, which is gambling in many other areas of need with other young players, giving the keys to the offense to a still green, still unproven quarterback.
If Brodie Croyle fails to materialize as a starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, it will put the entire Chiefs strategy on hold. The team is trying to fill too many needs, too quickly to have to focus on a major position like quarterback.
If Croyle doesn't evolve into the Chiefs' franchise quarterback this year, a major part of the foundation laid here in 2008 will be have to be redone. The quarterback position is the most important and arguably the most difficult to fill in the NFL. The Chiefs had a major luxury in this year's draft precisely because they didn't have to pursue a QB on the first day. Or even the second day of the draft.
After 2008 is done, the Chiefs will have invested three full years in Brodie Croyle, only one of those with him as the starting quarterback. With the timing the Chiefs are currently on, looking towards 2009-2010 as the years to see their plans fully materialize, to have to replace Brodie Croyle with another question mark would slow down the pace considerably. Perhaps irreparably.
So goes Brodie Croyle, so goes the Kansas City Chiefs.
Was Croyle's rather lackluster 2007 season due to the terrible offensive line? The lack or Pro Bowler Larry Johnson in the lineup? Or were the 2007 Kansas City Chiefs just that terrible of a football team?
I'm going with all three of the above. And it appears, so are the Chiefs.
As much of a cornerstone as the 2008 draft will be for the future of the Kansas City Chiefs, another cornerstone was laid with the 85th pick in the 2006 draft.
The Chiefs have been hoping that Brodie Croyle is the player the team can depend upon for years to be productive.
If you thought Matt Ryan was a gamble in this year's draft, think about the gamble the Chiefs have made with Croyle. It's almost too late now to turn back and give the reins to another quarterback. If the Chiefs have to during or after this year, so be it. But they're not planning on it. In fact, they're planning against that happening.
Behind even an average offensive line with even a mildly healthy Larry Johnson, I believe Brodie Croyle has the necessary skills to start for the Kansas City Chiefs. His injury history doesn't bother me.
2008 is not only a gamble for the Chiefs but the final test for Brodie Croyle.
His will be the narrative to explain this franchise's course in the latter part of this decade. Croyle, more than any other player currently on the squad, will determine our collective fate.Is it star-crossed confidence Herm Edwards has in Brodie Croyle? Or is Croyle still on his way to becoming the Chiefs' first "home-grown" franchise quarterback since Lenny Dawson?