Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Chiefs put Huard back in at QB; Croyle's return expected Oct. 19
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Damon Huard will be back under center on Sunday for winless Kansas City, giving the Chiefs a different starting quarterback for the fourth week in a row.
Huard, the only one of Kansas City's four quarterbacks who ever won an NFL game, will start against Denver (3-0) while Tyler Thigpen, who threw three picks in his first NFL start last week, returns to the bench.
In the meantime, regular starter Brodie Croyle, who separated his shoulder in the season opener at New England on Sept. 7, began light throwing Wednesday and expects to return on Oct. 19 against Tennessee.
By then, the 0-3 Chiefs could be 0-5 if they don't find some continuity at quarterback and get some consistency in a rookie-laden roster that's struggled in losses to the Patriots, Raiders and Falcons. Last week's 38-14 loss to Atlanta was Kansas City's 12th in a row going back to last October.
Coach Herm Edwards pointed to Huard's experience and Thigpen's interceptions last week in Atlanta as reasons for making a change.
"When you look at us right now, we need a guy who can protect the football, not turn the football over," Edwards said. "We've done that too much the last three games, 30 points we've given up so far on turnovers."
Huard, a 12-year veteran, came off the bench for Croyle at New England and then started the next week against Oakland. Thigpen, a seventh-round pick in 2007 from Coastal Carolina, came off the bench after Huard was slightly injured against the Raiders, then made the start at Atlanta.
"Damon's pretty good and comfortable with protecting the football," said Edwards. "He's been in this position before."
In giving Thigpen the start last week, Edwards indicated he wanted to take a good look at the 24-year-old whose only NFL experience to that point was throwing six passes in a game last year. But evidently, the hunger for victory outweighed the desire to give Thigpen another opportunity to feature what everyone knew would be raw skills.
"When you go back and look at how we played, not making first downs, really turning the ball over on offense. ... You can't do that a whole lot. You get in trouble," Edwards said. "I think Damon understands that. He knows when to make the throw."
Altogether in roughly a game and a half, Thigpen has clicked on 28 of 69 throws for 279 yards and two touchdowns and four interceptions. Benching him, Edwards said, does not necessarily signal the end of his career.
"He was given a great opportunity. We found out a lot about him, and I think he found out a lot about himself, what it's like to start in this league. It's difficult. He's a rookie in my opinion, didn't have a lot of playing time. But you have to build on the young players and the good things that they do, and he did some good things. He needs to grow and get better."
Guard Brian Waters, one of the few veterans on the NFL's youngest team, said nobody is sweating the quarterback chaos.
"It really doesn't change anything," said Waters. "The plays are the same. Really, it's upon those guys to just come in and do what they've been taught. We've had all these [quarterbacks] at some point or another behind us, whether it be in [spring practice] or training camp or whatever.
"Believe me, right now we're getting used to it."
But wouldn't it be nice to just have one quarterback and stick with him?
"It would be, but it's not the situation we're dealing with. We can't live in those dream worlds."