After 40 years of waiting for the modern day resurrection of Hank Stram and Len Dawson and the pursuit of yet another Super Bowl win, the Chiefs once again find themselves stymied. We are proverbially behind the eight ball. Between a rock and a hard place. You know, snow balls chance in hell kinda thing. Our season has been derailed by an appendix that just couldn't wait three months to go sour. Hey, we're the Kansas City Chiefs, we get all the breaks--not.
For the first time in four years, the Chiefs have played well enough to give their fans a shimmer of hope that we could be watching playoff football and cheering for our favorite team at the same time. Just as that dream started to materialize though, the devil grabbed that rug and sent us toppling to the floor as he jerked it out from under us. Thanks devil. I would think I was rooting for the wrong team if this playoff run was made without adversity. As it stands, you have verified for me that indeed, I am rooting for my Chiefs. Only the Chiefs seem to continually be blessed with this kind of luck (at least for the purposes of my lamentation).
I am sure that when Scott Pioli reached out and touched Matt Cassel from his office high atop Arrowhead, he figured that No. 16 was good karma. We know that Matt is as invested as a QB can get in KC. If not for a small operation, we would have at least had the opportunity to find out what life had been like in San Diego with the best we had to offer. Win or lose, we wouldn't be remorsefully wondering. The answer to that question would have been clear.
Instead, we are once again, living life on hold, waiting for our chance to compete when all conditions are 'go'. I know that many out there believe that Matt will play against the Rams this Sunday. I think the chances are very slim. Add to that the fact that when Ben Rothlesberger came back after his appendectomy in only 15 days (that would be 5 more than Matt will have behind him come Sunday) he struggled for two games before getting back on track. I would submit that no matter how tough Matt Cassel is, he will not feel right and will worry about his body for a period of time when he returns from this surgery--no matter how long that takes.
Actually, something that I haven't seen mentioned is the fact that we need Matt Cassel back at 100% for the playoffs too. If we let him rush to come back and he reinjures himself, we could be jeopardizing any chance at playoff wins down the road. I know that 'looking ahead' is considered a faux pas in the NFL, but somebody in the organization simply has to have had this thought. Haley and Pioli come to mind as well as Weis and even Crennel.
This in effect means that sans hiring a vetern, Brodie has become the Chiefs version of Charles Atlas. He has the world (playoff hopes) on his shoulders. We may as well face this fact and stop deluding ourselves about Matt's return. It's the hand we've been dealt and we're gonna have to play it.
I made a recent post in which I suggested that the San Diego game was being used as the Brodie 'get back in the saddle' game. A comment on that post reminded me that the San Diego game seemed very similar to a preseason game that we played this year. Very vanilla offense and no fancy blocking schemes up front. Just block or get knocked on your can. The Chiefs did poorly in that game as well.
Could it be that these coaches really do look at the bigger picture now and again? Going into that game the Chiefs had a two game lead in the division, Oakland had lost in the early game and we still had four games to play. Three of those four were against opponents with losing records and two of them were in KC. If there was ever a postion of strength to give a backup a game to acclimate himself to the speed of the NFL game again, this was it. Weis even made it as easy as possible. Here is a limited number of plays for you Brodie, just run the plays and get your legs back under you. If the Chiefs lost, as they surely did, then it was not the end of the world.
They would still have a one game lead, with those same 'easier' games to play and a whole week of preparation to give our backup as much time as possible to get ready. CBS rapid reports says that the Chiefs wasted no time getting back to work for the Rams.
Monday afternoon, the coaches and players were already preparing for the St. Louis Rams. For the coaches that’s standard procedure. For the players, that group work usually doesn’t happen until Wednesday. It’s an attempt to put the San Diego debacle behind them as quickly as possible.
I would say it's also two extra days work for our backup QB with the first team in preparation for the biggest game of the season. Each game is now the biggest game of the season. We know that winning in December is a must. This year is no different. Our only slight advantage is that we are one game ahead of the next closest team in our division. That could evaporate if we lose focus and allow a lesser team to overcome our efforts.
The Chiefs really are not in a class by themselves in this year's NFL concerning the need for a backup QB to step in. Nate Davis at USA today pointed this out a while back:
Since the 32 quarterbacks who lined up under center in Week 1 fielded their respective teams' season-opening snaps, 13 more signal callers have been pressed into starting duty. This weekend Jon Kitna takes over for the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo (broken collarbone) while Troy Smith will fill in for Alex Smith (separated shoulder) when the San Francisco 49ers meet the Denver Broncos in London.
Perhaps most compelling of all, Tarvaris Jackson could get his first start in two years for the Minnesota Vikings if Brett Favre (ankle) is unable to answer the bell for the first time in 315 games ... or more than 18 years.
With less than half the 2010 season complete, the NFL is on pace to see at least 32 extra starting quarterbacks who didn't occupy that role at the start of the season, underscoring the importance of depth at the position.
Everybody talks about parity in the league this year. Some of it comes from injury as well. The Chiefs have taken advantage of those injuries of other teams too. Remember the Jacksonville game? Backup QB that did ok, but couldn't get the win. It's happened a lot this year. Now it's happened to us as well.
So here we are at the crossroads of yet another KC season. Can we succeed? At this point in time, Brodie has been given everything the Chiefs have to give him to help him cross the finish line and get his very first NFL win. Now, it's up to Brodie to show that he either has what it takes or he doesn't.
I know it's not popular to lay all this on Brodie's shoulders. Many will agrue that no matter what Brodie does, it's the team play that will make the difference. I agree that team play will make a difference. So will the play of a former Alabama QB. Had we won at San Diego last week and done so convincingly with Brodie going 23 of 38 for 280 yards and 3 TDs, how many here would have been saying "I told you so" about Brodie Croyle. My opinion is that the number would not have been small. We can't have it both ways Chiefs fans. If we can win because of Brodie, we can lose because of him too.
Frankly, I think that we lost last week because of Brodie. Not because he played poorly, but because the offensive game plan had to be limited in order to get Brodie back on the field and in some sort of a groove. You can certainly disagree, but I think most fans would agree that the game plan looked like a mystery to them knowing that San Diego would be a tough out. My explanation is only one possibility, there are others.
So now, the shoe is once again on the other foot. Brodie is called on to 'manage' a win. The margin for error for the Chiefs season is growing smaller by the minute. This is a lot of pressure to put on one Brodie Croyle. I hope he goes out and puts on a masteful show. Some would say it's asking a lot of a backup in the NFL who has an 0-10 record as a starter to go out and throw up a win with as little playing time as Brodie has had recently. Yeah? Well tough. It comes with the territory. The bell is ringing and we are going to find out if Brodie can answer the call.
I just hope that Brodie knows that every Chiefs fan alive, is saying prayers and pulling for him to play like a champion. As for me, I'll say mine here.
God Bless Brodie Croyle and the Kansas City Chiefs.
It's time to show what you got Brodie. Make the collective doom sayers eat their words.