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Old 08-28-2007, 06:36 AM  
dirk digler dirk digler is offline
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POSNANSKI: Edwards has to go with Huard to save team

There should be no doubt that Chiefs coach Herm Edwards wanted Brodie Croyle to win the starting quarterback job this preseason. The Chiefs spent one uncomfortable offseason dangling longtime starter Trent Green. Why? One reason.

Herm Edwards had seen the future, and its name was Croyle.

It wasn’t just that Edwards had fallen in love with Croyle’s arm, his enthusiasm, his energy, his charisma. No, Edwards wants to jolt the Chiefs out of their stupor. For 12 seasons now, the Chiefs have not won a playoff game, even though at different times over that span they’ve had the league’s best offense, they’ve had the league’s best defense and they’ve had the league’s best special teams. So what was missing?

Edwards says two things:

1. Balance.

2. A quarterback to call their own.

Edwards, as you no doubt know, has harped constantly about balance ever since he arrived in town. He is always telling his players that the offense needs to help the defense (longer drives, more first downs, play the field-position game) and the defense needs to help the offense (force more turnovers, play big on third downs, create field position). He thinks that in the past, Chiefs offenses and defenses were too much about themselves and their stats and not enough about winning championships.

The second part, the quarterback, is touchier. It is possible (not likely, but possible) to win with someone else’s discarded quarterback. Baltimore and Tampa Bay won Super Bowls with Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson, respectively. Oakland went to the Super Bowl with Rich Gannon. But those teams tend to collapse quickly. Your consistent winners, generally speaking, are teams with their own quarterbacks. Indianapolis has Peyton Manning. New England has Tom Brady. Philadelphia has Donovan McNabb. Edwards wants the Chiefs to be one of those teams.

So, yes, Edwards is ready for the Chiefs to make that quarterback jump. He’s more than ready. One of the consistent themes of the Carl Peterson era has been to go into the season with a veteran quarterback bought, borrowed or stolen from other teams. That strategy took the Chiefs so far. But it never took them all the way.

So you better believe Edwards wanted Croyle to win the job. He wasn’t alone. Lots of Chiefs fans wanted Croyle to win the job. Heck, I wanted Croyle to win the job. Why not? He represented something new, something potentially exciting. Damon Huard, the likeable and sturdy veteran quarterback, seemed like more of the same.

Here’s the trouble, though: Croyle did not win the job. And this past weekend, Herm Edwards did exactly what he had to do. He named Huard the starter. I know there are people out there who were upset by his move, people who thought Edwards wimped out and went with the safe and uninspired choice. I disagree. I think naming Huard now wasn’t just the right choice, it was the only choice.

The most important thing about coaching or managing a team — something that matters more than strategy, philosophy and inspiration — is keeping your players’ respect. When you lose their respect, you lose everything. You can be the most brilliant X’s and O’s coach who ever lived, you can know exactly how to prepare a team, you can be Knute Rockne, Vince Lombardi and George Patton all rolled up into one at halftime. But if you lose the players, you lose the fight, end of story.

Here’s one sure way to lose players: Give someone a job he doesn’t deserve. I am convinced that former Royals general manager Allard Baird lost the team the day he inexplicably brought up a non-prospect named Eduardo Villacis to pitch against the New York Yankees in 2004. Villacis got rocked, of course, and every player on the team had unshakable doubts about Allard Baird and the direction of the Royals from that day on.

Same thing here. Croyle has been brutal in the preseason games. Yes, he has had a moment or two — the guy has talent — but all in all, he has looked confused and raw. This hasn’t been entirely his fault. He has been getting crushed. If the Chiefs’ offensive line doesn’t shore up, this will be a disastrous season no matter who is playing quarterback. But that does not take away from the simple fact that Croyle, so far anyway, has looked overmatched.

And there’s only so much a coach can do. This isn’t fantasy football, where you can start whoever you want anytime you have a hunch. No, here, the choice has been made already. You cannot start Brodie Croyle. The quarterback is, by far, the most important position on the football team. You send a few dozen messages to your players, none of them good, if you start Croyle now. You are telling them you play favorites — he clearly has not won the job. You are telling them that this is a rebuilding season (i.e. “a season to develop a quarterback”). You are telling them that all that talk about how “the best players play,” was just that: Talk.

No, Edwards has no choice at all. He wanted Croyle to win the job, he really did, but at some point there’s only so much a coach can do. The kid didn’t win it. He wasn’t ready. For now, Edwards’ choice is to go with Huard, who played so well last year when given the chance. With him, the Chiefs can try to win games the old-fashioned way: Run the ball, play defense, punt well, don’t turn the thing over. That gives something for everybody on the team to rally around.

Edwards still believes in Croyle. He should. The kid does have talent. Croyle still looks like a good bet to be the Chiefs’ quarterback of the future. It’s just that the future isn’t here yet.
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:41 AM   #2
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:49 AM   #3
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Here’s one sure way to lose players: Give someone a job he doesn’t deserve.

Justin Medlock?
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:52 AM   #4
DaKCMan AP DaKCMan AP is offline
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Spot on.
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:53 AM   #5
DaKCMan AP DaKCMan AP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TEX
Here’s one sure way to lose players: Give someone a job he doesn’t deserve.

Justin Medlock?
Who deserves the job? The guy who missed a 30yd fg in the playoffs? The guy who shanked extra points? The guy who missed both his kicks in the last preseason game? (Hint: the guy who accomplished all of these amazing feats has the initials LT and he's not a RB or a LB).
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:53 AM   #6
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JoPo nails it.
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:56 AM   #7
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Croyle still looks like a good bet to be the Chiefs’ quarterback of the future. It’s just that the future isn’t here yet.

Possible. But I've said many times that IMO Croyle's the type of QB that in 3 years people will still be saying the same thing. He has the tools, but...

Regardless, Herm needs to pull his head out - let Dick Curl manage the clock (something that he's known for) and hire a REAL QB COACH to work with Croyle.
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:58 AM   #8
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:00 AM   #9
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JoPo's conclusion is correct. Croyle's job to lose and he did. truely isn't quite there yet.

Huard get's his chance to really shine.... Let's hope he does. 12 years in the league, ball is in his court.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:00 AM   #10
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Nice work JoPo
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:03 AM   #11
dirk digler dirk digler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TEX
[b]

Regardless, Herm needs to pull his head out - let Dick Curl manage the clock (something that he's known for) and hire a REAL QB COACH to work with Croyle.
I totally agree Tex.

This was a fantastic column by JoPo.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:05 AM   #12
TEX TEX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaKCMan AP
Who deserves the job? The guy who missed a 30yd fg in the playoffs? The guy who shanked extra points? The guy who missed both his kicks in the last preseason game? (Hint: the guy who accomplished all of these amazing feats has the initials LT and he's not a RB or a LB).
Um...it's called COMPETITION! There is NONE at that position. There is everywhere else. Pretty simple concept. And since you're speaking of Tynes, I'll play along - please look up what he did a few preseasons ago when the Chiefs kept Morton Anderson. They cut his a$$ for kicking exactly like Medlock is now! (Actually he kicked slightly better). I'm not saying they should have kept Tynes, I agree that he was too inconsistent. I'm saying they probably could have gotten Medlock without drafting him and invited him and other kickers (competition) to camp. As it stands, Herm's giving him the job and he doesn't deserve it.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:08 AM   #13
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Who is this Joe Posnanski guy? He ought to write more stuff. Maybe he can get a gig with WPI or something.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by dirk digler
I totally agree Tex.

This was a fantastic column by JoPo.
Sure was. The deal is everyone can say the same thing and some were. But when those that weren't see it spelled out like this - they realize that it was the best thing at this time.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:09 AM   #15
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Yeah JoPo was spot on. He gave Croyle every chance and then some. He just didn't get it done. Does this mean we won't get to see Kelli as much anymore on Hard Knocks? She needs to be there with those knockers to cheer him up.
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