Columnists start chiming in that he could make it.
Wow! What a notion.
Prepare yourselves for this, Chiefs nation. The better Croyle plays, the more we'll hear from analysts about how they suspected Croyle would play well "all along," when we all know the grim reality.
In the meantime, enjoy an optimistic piece of puff.
New offense, new start for determined QB Croyle
Aug. 13, 2008
By Clark Judge
CBSSports.com Senior Writer
RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- Don't ask me why, but I think Brodie Croyle can make it as quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.
I'm not talking about the next Len Dawson, but I am talking about someone who can help get this doormat turned around. He's tough. He's smart. He's accurate. He's confident. And he can rifle the football.
But that's not what I like most about Brodie Croyle. He has been through the pressure cooker before and conquered it while at Alabama. Now, he's not only determined to persevere again, he might finally have found an offense that allows him to succeed.
Let's start first with Alabama. Croyle was heavily recruited by the school where his father was a star defensive end and his sister a homecoming queen. In fact, he was so heavily recruited that when he made his official visit there the athletic director lined up some distinguished alums to meet him.
"There was Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler and Lee Roy Jordan," said Croyle. "I grew up there, so I knew exactly who it was when I walked in. I just sat there for an hour and listened to them."
Croyle stayed at Alabama and, like his father, starred there. It wasn't easy. He suffered through coaching changes but wound up setting a passel of school records nevertheless, including most career passing yards, completions and touchdowns.
"There's a lot of pressure that comes with playing at Alabama," he said. "You can either make your career and live there happily ever after, or, if you go in and struggle, you better find another state to live in. That's how it was there, and that's how it is in the NFL -- especially in Kansas City. But I accept it, and I wouldn't expect it to be any different."
I like that. So do the Chiefs' coaches. They admire Croyle's resolve to make it in the NFL -- just as he made it at Alabama -- and they're convinced it won't let him fail.
"He got his chance last year," said coach Herman Edwards, "but, really, it was tough. He was put in a hard situation and he put his chin out there, got hit and never tried to put it on someone else. That told me a lot."
Edwards believes in Croyle so much he didn't have the team draft a quarterback, and he didn't have management go looking for a veteran backup to serve as a safety net. He wants Croyle to play and play now -- believing the more experience he gains the better he ... and the Chiefs ... become.
"He's going to make mistakes," said tight end Tony Gonzalez. "He's young, and the growing pains will be there. But the quicker he gets through that the better off we'll be.
"It's no secret that a lot of our season's success is riding on that position, and he's got to come out and perform. But he's tough and accurate, and he's always calm and cool. I don't know if he doesn't feel the pressure or he doesn't show it, but he's just going to go out there and do his thing."
Of course, he will. That's what happened at Alabama, and the results speak for themselves.
"It's just like anything else," said Croyle. "You have to learn. And the only way to learn is to get out there and do it. You can learn as much as you want in practice, but, until you get out there, every play is going to give you something different."
What is different about Brodie Croyle and this year's Chiefs is their offense. There is a new coordinator in Chan Gailey and a new approach to football. Gone are the voluminous playbooks, the constant motion and the myriad formations. Now it's football the old-fashioned way, with the Chiefs relying more on their running game and less on their quarterback.
That's OK by Croyle, especially because Gailey allows him the freedom to check out of plays with audibles. A year ago that wouldn't have happened. In fact, it couldn't.
"Wait a minute," I said to him. "If you saw something you don't like -- say, an eight-man front and only seven blockers -- you'd call a timeout, right?"
"No," Croyle said. "You would have to run the play."
Worse, there was no quarterback sneak in the playbook. You heard me. Zilch. Now there will be.
"I started feeling really good about this offense about the second day of OTAs," said Croyle, "because it's a lot of the same things I ran in college. It's a different terminology, but my coach (at Alabama, Mike Shula) coached under Chan at Miami. So it's a lot of the same things.
"(At OTAs) is when I started believing that we're going to be pretty good. Then when training camp got here, by the fourth or fifth day it was like (he snaps his fingers) there it is! The running game started popping open, and (Dwayne) Bowe and I started getting the feel for each other again.
"No offense to the other (coordinators and their approaches), but that was more a '1-2-3-4-5, this guy; 1-2-3-4-5, that guy.' And with this (offense) it's more like you're reading a concept as opposed to going 1-2-3-4.
"It's more like: Just go out there and play football. You're a football player; you have football instincts; we're a young team. So just go out there and play."
Croyle will do that. And, just a hunch, but I think he plays well enough to get this team back on track. Not this season, but in the seasons to come.
As Edwards said, what's going on this year is all about "doing something for the long haul." Look for Croyle to do most of the hauling.
"Nobody has expectations for us," he said. "You look anywhere, and everybody's like, 'Aw, they'll be lucky to win four games this year.' That's not a bad spot to be in."