Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Haley: Cassel (knee) a question mark
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs shuffled in a new pair of hands Tuesday in coach Todd Haley's continuing quest to locate an acceptable set of wide receivers. Still unclear is who would be throwing the ball.
Haley said it was too early to know if quarterback Matt Cassel will miss a second straight start this weekend because of an injury to his left knee. But he is hopeful of making a decision earlier than Sunday, when the decision was made just hours before the season-opener at Baltimore.
If Cassel remains out, Brodie Croyle would make a second start, this one against Oakland, after earning generally high marks in the 38-24 loss to the Ravens.
"Matt is doing everything he can to be ready," Haley said. "I would hope I would know a little sooner this week, although right now I can't give a definitive answer. But the player's doing everything he can to be ready, which generally helps speed the healing process."
In the meantime, receiver Bobby Wade, a six-year NFL veteran with stops in Chicago, Tennessee and Minnesota, was signed. The Chiefs waived Turk McBride, who had been playing linebacker after being a starter most of last year at defensive end.
Croyle hit 16 of 24 passes in place of Cassel for 177 yards and two TDs. But the quality of the wide receiver corps is something Haley has fussed over all year. He's made it clear the Chiefs may be reworking the bottom of the lineup constantly.
"We're looking and digging all the time," he said. "If there's somebody out there we think makes us better, we're going to do what's necessary to get that done."
Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs' best receiver, was demoted to third team during training camp in what appeared to be an effort to motivate better work habits.
"I'm looking for guys that do it the way we want it done," Haley said. "Talent is the great separator. There may be some guys who are doing everything the way we want it done, but maybe they're just not good enough. Then there's some guys who potentially can be really good, but they're not doing it the way we want it done. ...
"I want physical receivers just like I want physical players at every other position and guys that help block in the run game and are football players, not just pass-catchers."
Wade, who is 5-foot-10, made 44 starts with Chicago from 2003-05 and played for Tennessee from 2005-06 and Minnesota from 2007-08. Altogether, he's caught 208 passes for 2,491 yards and seven touchdowns. He's also been used for punt and kickoff returns, another specialty that's been unsettled for the Chiefs.
Cassel, who was injured in the third preseason game, practiced last week but appeared to be limping slightly. After reviewing film of the Baltimore game, Haley said Croyle did well.
"I think Brodie played the type of game he had to play to give us a chance to win," he said.