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booger
10-20-2006, 02:19 AM
It’s been a learning experience for Chiefs’ rookies
Edwards is giving first-year players a chance to play — and living with mistakes while they grow.
By ELIZABETH MERRILL
The Kansas City Star

Someday, they’ll laugh about it. When Brodie Croyle and Jarrad Page are wily NFL veterans, they’ll think back to Pittsburgh in 2006, chalk it up as a learning experience, and smile.

Coach Herm Edwards was already doing that by early in the week. You have to with rookies.

He comforted Croyle, his young quarterback from Alabama, by saying this:

“You’re in a unique situation. You threw your first pass, and you threw a touchdown. You just threw it to the wrong jersey.”

As for Page — who was humbled when backup flanker Nate Washington met him at the 15-yard line, bounced off Page and trotted into the end zone — Edwards gave him a pep talk on the plane ride back.

Edwards said this about the play:

“He’s got to just understand that it’s part of the process of being a pro football player. It’s happened to everyone in their career. What you can’t do is repeat it. You’ve got to let it go, throw it away, and say, ‘I’ve learned from it.’ ”

Edwards is trying to carefully straddle the line between winning now and preparing for the future. Through five games, he’s already played eight rookies, three of whom weren’t even drafted. It goes against the old regime’s philosophy of sticking with trusted, proven veterans.

In 2005, Dick Vermeil’s final season, he played a total of six rookies over 16 games. Two of those rookies — Khari Long and Will Svitek — were in for just one game. When Edwards came to Kansas City in January, he said the Chiefs had to get younger. He recently cut veteran defensive lineman Lional Dalton and inserted Stephen Williams, an undrafted rookie from Northwest Missouri State.

Edwards inserted first-round draft pick Tamba Hali in the lineup and put Page in the three-man safety rotation.

“They’re going to make mistakes,” Edwards said. “That’s part of the growing process. And you live with their mistakes.”

The rookies weren’t the only ones making mistakes last weekend. Edwards said the defense missed more tackles than the previous four games combined.

Page’s blunder is easily correctible. “He didn’t wrap up,” Edwards said. “He knew he didn’t bring his arms.”

But the rookies have had their moments. Bernard Pollard came up with a blocked punt in the Arizona game two weeks ago that helped the Chiefs rally for 23-20 win. Page has grasped the defense quickly and is battling veteran Sammy Knight for playing time.

Hali leads the team in sacks (2 1/2 ) and forced fumbles (four). He’s also the team’s second-leading tackler, behind second-year linebacker Derrick Johnson.

The biggest adjustment for a rookie, Hali said, is blocking out all the distractions. In the dizzying six months since he was drafted, Hali has had HBO Sports cameras in his face and fans telling him he’s the savior for the defense. Sometimes, when Hali goes home, he wants to curl up in front of the TV and forget about football. But he has film to watch and scouting reports to read.

“If you don’t do that,” Hali said, “I don’t know how well you’ll be prepared to play on Sunday. That’s the toughest thing, being a pro on your own. Not getting carried away, not getting big-headed, not feeling like … you’re the man.”

One worry Edwards has with his rookies is that, soon, they’ll start feeling the grind of their first NFL season. With four preseason games, plus five games in the books, they’ve already played nearly an entire college schedule.

Some of the rookies nearly gulp when they realize they still have 11 games left.

“At that point,” Edwards said, “they’re going to basketball games and they’re in the student union and all that kind of stuff. All of the sudden, they kind of hit the wall.”

Edwards often sits and talks football with Page and Pollard on the plane ride home, and he knew by the time the team landed that Page was ready to move on. He says his rookie safeties, in a lot of ways, are fearless. He can tell by the way they play. And how easily they forget.

Pollard was drafted five rounds ahead of Page, and it was expected that he’d be playing more on defense. But Edwards said strong safety is one of the most complex positions, and Pollard’s still trying to find his way. So are the Chiefs.

“When you make a mistake, it’s very glaring in the secondary,” Edwards said. “If he’s a lineman or a linebacker, there’s always somebody back behind you to help you out. If you make a bad decision in the secondary, it’s a touchdown. That’s the hard part.

“They’re fine. They’re going to be good players for us. We drafted them because of that. We said we were going to play young players, and that’s what we’re doing.”


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http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/15801772.htm

NJ Chief Fan
10-20-2006, 02:44 AM
heres to the future of our defense :toast:

ck_IN
10-20-2006, 07:59 AM
Such a refreshing change from Dickie.

Wile_E_Coyote
10-20-2006, 08:55 AM
After the surprise Roaf retirement & Green's injury(who most if not all would have said the season is over) the future is what this season is about now

donkhater
10-20-2006, 09:06 AM
I know most people like seeing the rookies playing (as do I) but I can't help but think that if this franchise ever decided that they were, in fact, going to develop their own QB, the fans wouldn't stay behind that player. If Croyle started with the idea of getting him experience and molding him into the Chiefs QB of the future, the fan base just wouldn't have the patience for it. It is going to take a SOLID 2 years for Croyle to come up to speed with the offense (and bulk up), either playing or sitting behind Trent.

People want KC to develop their own QB, but I don't think many of those same fans realize what a long process it usually is.

jspchief
10-20-2006, 09:33 AM
I know most people like seeing the rookies playing (as do I) but I can't help but think that if this franchise ever decided that they were, in fact, going to develop their own QB, the fans wouldn't stay behind that player. If Croyle started with the idea of getting him experience and molding him into the Chiefs QB of the future, the fan base just wouldn't have the patience for it. It is going to take a SOLID 2 years for Croyle to come up to speed with the offense (and bulk up), either playing or sitting behind Trent.

People want KC to develop their own QB, but I don't think many of those same fans realize what a long process it usually is.I think that depends on the circumstances. If the guy has had a few years to sit on the bench and learn behind the starter (like the Philip Rivers situation), I think fans will have higher expectations. If Green chooses to not return, and Herm decides it's time to get started on the future by throwing Croyle into the fire, I think the fans will be a bit more understanding.

It's not like Chiefs fans have some reason to have high standards for QB. Other than Green and Montana, we haven't had a good QB in 20+ years.

As for the article, I love that Herm is spending time with our rookie safeties. He's probably already invested more of his personal time in developing youth than Vermeil did his entire tenure with KC. Maybe Herm's weaknesses will be offset by his ability to coach and teach...which might make him the ideal coach for a team that's in the early stages of a youth revolution.

KChiefs1
10-20-2006, 10:29 AM
Vermeil probably wouldn't have ever talked to these guys much less remember their names.

TEX
10-20-2006, 11:34 AM
Nothing about why Edwards himself still makes rookie mistakes. especially when it comes to clock management? :hmmm:

Mr. Laz
10-20-2006, 12:10 PM
I know most people like seeing the rookies playing (as do I) but I can't help but think that if this franchise ever decided that they were, in fact, going to develop their own QB, the fans wouldn't stay behind that player. If Croyle started with the idea of getting him experience and molding him into the Chiefs QB of the future, the fan base just wouldn't have the patience for it. It is going to take a SOLID 2 years for Croyle to come up to speed with the offense (and bulk up), either playing or sitting behind Trent.

People want KC to develop their own QB, but I don't think many of those same fans realize what a long process it usually is.
oh bull .....

all these chiefs fans that you have so little faith have been sticking around for no playoff win for 12 freakin years.


yea, we are all just bandwagon fans :rolleyes:




except for that fact that our wagon broke down years ago :cuss:

Brock
10-20-2006, 12:16 PM
People want KC to develop their own QB, but I don't think many of those same fans realize what a long process it usually is.

It doesn't appear to be a long process anymore. I can think of very few starting QBs in the league that weren't starting within their first couple of years, and doing pretty well in fact.