Most here know that I'm not a big Brodie Croyle fan. I think he's too brittle (considering he's been hurt at some point every year he's been a Chief), and too often the view we've seen of him has been this one
He's also a guy who at times has been mistake-prone, as evidenced by a low career completion rate and an equal number of TD's and INT's.
I don't consider him the answer at QB, and I quite frankly am glad that we have Matt Cassel as our starting QB. However, given all the debate that's been going around about him lately, I thought I'd throw an argument out there in his favor, using the best evidence we have available; his most recent action with the Chiefs
Now let me get something out of the way first. I in no way believe that because he was surrounded by terrible teams during his stints as a starter Croyle is completely off the hook for his poor record and poor play in the past. And before anyone says anything, this applies equally to Cassel last year (because, well, that's what universal standards are all about right?).
Being on a bad team doesn't totally excuse a winless record as a starter, particularly when other QBs were able to win with the same teams. But let's be honest, those teams were awful. Truly horrific. And there is at least some redemption in that fact for Brodie.
So when we look at this Sunday and think about what to expect from him, is it logical to expect similar results to what we saw when he was a starter? In a word, no. Because he's on a totally different, much more talented team than he was in the past.
So what is the best thing to examine when trying to figure out what to expect? Well, that falls under last year against Baltimore, the last time he suited up and the time he played on a team that most closely resembles the team we have today (and even then, it's not that close).
We all know the stat line for that game. 16-22, 177 yards, a couple TD's, and no picks. That's the kind of stat line that can win us games this year. I don't know about you, but that makes me want to say
"But MN, that was ONE game! After a bunch of bad games! You can't totally change your opinion on someone based on one game!!!!!!"
True, and I haven't. My opinion of Croyle has always been that he's a much-too-brittle QB with good talent who could potentially play very well provided he's surrounded by some talent. The Baltimore game did not in any way change my opinion on him, but rather reinforce it. He had more talent around him than in the past, and he performed at a higher level.
But that's not as far as we can go in looking at where Croyle may be as a QB. We can simply look at how Cassel did with the exact same team the next several weeks to try and get an idea of how well Brodie did in fact play that day.
So let's take a look at MC's stat line over the next few weeks (how does 4 grab you?).
76 of 130 (about 58%) passes completed for 711 yards (177 per game), with 7 TD's and 2 INT's.
So when one looks at the stats, it would seem that they stack up relatively evenly, with Croyle having the only real edge when it comes to completion %.
The thing that gives me a little bit of
is that Croyle was able to post similar stats to Cassel's (in fact slightly better) against what is without a doubt one of the best defenses in the NFL.
And let's be honest, that four game stretch actually represents one of MC's better statistical stretches that year (with only 2 picks to 7 TDs and a +4 completion % to what he had for the year overall).
Throw in the fact that Croyle managed to do this while having 2.7 give him a grand total of 20 yards rushing (less than Cassel received in any of his 4 games) while averaging a dismal 1.8 YPC (less than all but one of Cassel's 4 games), and I think it's safe to say that Croyle played at a level higher than Cassel did early in the year.
So to sum up, Croyle played a better game under tougher circumstances than Cassel did in the following 4 games, which were without a doubt statistically MC's best 4 consecutive games last year. Something to think about.
Now, before you label me a Croyle-lover, let me be clear. I think that Matt Cassel is a better QB. He's vastly improved since last year, and I think he's a better decision-maker, more accurate, more athletic, and a better leader than Croyle. Throw in the fact that Croyle is constantly getting hurt whenever he sees game action, and I'm (as I said) very, very glad Cassel is our QB and not Croyle. I hope Cassel recovers incredibly quickly and is back in action ASAP, because I believe he gives us our best chance at winning games.
This is merely to give you some hope that maybe, just maybe, Croyle's not as bad as his record indicates and that he can (for at least a few games) play at a pretty high level for us while Cassel heals.
That is, after all, what he did last time.