First let me say that Im not trying to say we shouldn't be in the market for a QB, i absolutely think we should because as any good capitalist knows, competition is the ally of any consumer looking for a better product (the product being the Chiefs). Im just not so sure we should be hitting the panic button on Croyle just yet as many seem to be doing.
Maybe Im way off.
I posted some of this earlier, and because my computer is prone to frequent crashes as of late, I had saved a work in progress as switched between writing the post and accumulating relevant statistics. I posted it up as a note and it's been sitting on my dashboard for a day or two and after reading again while I was supposed to be comparing/contrasting John Donne's "Canonization" and "Valediction" I thought it warranted reposting.
Essentially the point I was trying to make, was that after everyone was calling for all these different quarterbacks to come in and make everything right with our beloved Chiefs, including one of the two big Browns QBs, Anderson or Quinn, that Croyle was statistically comparable to Anderson during the time periods in each of their respective careers, and that I dont think we should yet abandon hope on Croyle's talent.* Now, abandoning hope on Croyle's ability to stay healthy is completely understandable, even if his offensive line looks like it was recently recruited from a substandard city rec league (BA excepted). However, I think if Croyle can come back and stay healthy, he will put up respectable performances, both statistically and just from watching him, if not wins and losses. In fact I believe that if he can stay healthy he will be at essentially the same point at the end of the year that the Browns were at with Anderson: not sure whether or not he's the man of the future, but not confident enough to stop developing his replacement. IF he can stay healthy, I think that KC goes from needing to acquire a relatively proven QB via trade or FA to being able to relax, just a bit, to considering the option of drafting a QB on day 1.
There are a few reasons I believe Croyle will become something respectable in the NFL, and I think that this is still a very relevant conversation because many people (ArrowheadAddict) are even campaigning for.... Michael Vick to don a Chiefs uni. Before we burden ourselves with a mega-cancer, overhyped, subpar talent wise media circus, its important to take an accurate reading of our current situation.
The reasons I believe Croyle still has tremendous potential, with a probability leaning further towards NFL success than damnation as a Ken Dorsey-esque career back-up:
1) Endorsements from experienced players and other professionals. Sure, I dont think players as classy as Tony Gonzalez or Trent Green would come out and say that the kid has no potential or that they dont trust them, but they don't have to say anything positive either. There's a big difference between the indifferent and therefore forboding, "Well he's our QB and we're out there to win" and the positive and assumedly encouraging quotes that are slightly more common. In ESPN the magazine just earlier this month, Tony Gonzalez gives what seems to be an optimistic endorsement of Croyle's newfound ability to read through defenses, make progressions and audible at the line.
2) He's shown it. I dont believe Croyle played near as terribly as many would like to say he did against the Patriots in the opening week. If youre going to fault a kid for playing mistake free football (one of the few on offense that day) than you need to give up on the Chiefs. Going 11/19 with your recievers often failing you, youre doing fine. No, he didn't go deep but that actually encourages me. Assuming he didn't stay mid-range and below due to some sort of leash being placed on him by the coaches, it may serve as a indicator that Croyle is learning from his past mistakes. While he did have minor successes on the deep passes last year (Jax, Ind, NYJ), he also had a lot of negative experiences, and if Croyle sees that and cuts back in order to limit turnovers, thats cool for the time being. I think at this point he's simply finding a comfort zone. Last year, we often saw him too confident, perhaps a little too comfortable with simply putting the ball up and hoping things work out. Now it seems with this small sample that he's not very comfortable with the deep ball. As he becomes more experienced, if his health permits, he'll start to zero in on that comfort zone and we'll see less of those deep balls getting picked and more being snagged by D Bowe and others deep downfield. In fact, its important to remember that in college the deep ball was in fact Croyle's strong point, with a cannon for an arm and the touch to let a receiver make a play. Of course, this isn't college anymore but that has to count for something.
3) The pressure certainly wont get to him. I dont think that this is very high on anyone's list of concerns, but its important. Playing in KC with a rabid fanbase can affect a lot of people, and playing in places like the Black Hole can also become daunting experiences for many young QBs (and he's still a fairly young QB). But as we all know, Croyle's been through the pressure cooker before, and I'd be more than willing to say that places like Bryant-Denny, Baton Rouge and Kneyland Stadium are as imposing as anything the NFL has to offer with few exceptions. Plus, when he has a bad day, he still gets to go home to Kelli, a beautiful and by all accounts classy and intelligent babe. I mean, how bad can it be? I know that'd cheer me up (minor lulz)....
4) Finally I'll leave you some hard statistics that I raised in the comparison between Anderson and Croyle. I cant remember everything I said and if it seems to be a little superfluous, remember that it was taken out of its original context. It should still be an interesting read and I hope it is for you.
Anderson had a few advantages, he was expected to throw downfield as well as the fact that he was throwing downfield to Braylon Edwards, young Kellen Winslow, and Joe Jurevicious which is better than throwing downfield to DBowe, an aging but still talented Gonzalez and ...Sammie Parker, and honestly its not usually Gonzo down field, its Webb or now Darling. Oh and dont forget that Anderson got time to throw downfield becuase his oline didnt totally blow anus.
Im not saying Croyle last year was comparable to Anderson last year. Im saying Croyle in 06 is comparable to Anderson in 05, just with a much much crappier surrounding staff. To reiterate, Im saying theyre comparable to eachother in each of their careers at the point where they were coming in late in the season to replace the starter as a 2nd year qb.
In 2005 Anderson averaged 6.8 yards per pass, with a 5/8 td/int ratio and a 69.9 QB rating. Those stats also include when he came in against KC in the second half. As a starter in 3 games, Anderson carried a 58.8 QB rating. In 2006 Croyle averaged 5.5 yards per pass with a 6/6 td/int ratio and also toting a 69.9 QB rating. Anderson went 0-3 as a starter in this stretch and croyle as we all know went 0-6. Anderson saw significant playing time in an overtime win against a post-concussion Trent Green led Kansas City of all teams.
Since Anderson's stats only reflect three starts, lets look at Croyle's first three starts in KC. After three starts against Indianapolis, Oakland, and Denver, Croyle had a 2/2 td/int ration and a 71.4 QB rating.
Furthermore I'd like to reiterated that Anderson's (lol like theyre his) wins came despite Anderson, not thanks to. In 2006, the Browns had the 12th hardest strength of schedule in the league. The Cheifs had the 6th hardest. And look at who the Browns beat. The Browns, with a team that boasted 6 pro bowl selections to KC's 2, went 1-3 against playoff teams and lost 3 more games to teams that finished with losing records. KC, with 2 probowlers won as many games vs playoff teams as the Browns did, topping San Diego early in the season while the defense.
Im not convinced that Croyle is the answer, but I think that if we're going to spend a bunch of time and money on a new QB, it better be a significant step up, which I do not in any way believe Anderson is.