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What's Next For Chiefs QBs?

Posted May 10, 2011

The depth behind Matt Cassel won't be determined for quite some time

With three quarterbacks under contract for 2011, the Chiefs situation under center is beginning to come into focus. The final touches to the cast, however, remain uncertain.

A developmental quarterback is in place with fifth-round draft pick Ricky Stanzi and the Chiefs have an unquestioned starter in Matt Cassel.  While the two players appear cemented into the Chiefs quarterbacking plans for next season, determining the third member of the group isn’t as clear.

Much of the uncertainty surrounds the future of Brodie Croyle.

Croyle is currently without a contract for 2011 and the Chiefs plans to re-sign the veteran remain in question. The uncertainty created by the NFL labor situation doesn’t aid the matter any and Tyler Palko’s push for a roster slot also plays a factor.

Regardless of Croyle’s free agent designation when the league year resumes, the Chiefs are likely to follow one of four scenarios when rounding out the club’s quarterback cast for 2011.

Scenario #1: Chiefs re-sign Croyle

If the Chiefs re-sign Croyle, furious competition ensues for the rights to be Cassel’s primary backup. It’s a position that Croyle has held with little challenge since 2009, but Palko got a sniff of the number two job late last season.

Croyle’s return would give the Chiefs an experienced reserve that already understands the playbook and can give effective show-team looks in practice. The longer the off-season drags without organized team activities (OTAs), the more valuable reserves like Croyle become.

Scenario #2: Croyle goes and the Chiefs add another new face

Regardless of what his free agency status may become, there are a number of ways that Croyle and the Chiefs could part ways. If that happens, the Chiefs might opt to bring in an experienced veteran to compete for the primary backup job.

There should be a number of options, from Billy Volek to Chad Pennington, if the Chiefs want to pursue that route. Check out NFL.com’s unofficial list of potential 2011 free agents HERE.

Outside of injury, adding an undrafted rookie doesn’t appear likely at the moment.

Scenario #3: Croyle goes and the Chiefs keep status quo

In this scenario, Palko and Stanzi would battle for the job directly behind Cassel. Without a fourth quarterback to split snaps, each backup would get plenty of time on coaches’ film.

Initially, a move such as this would show confidence in Palko’s development and Stanzi’s learning curve.

There’s also a bail-out option to this scenario. A condensed list of free agents would still be available if either player disappointed during the preseason.

Scenario #4: Chiefs keep two quarterbacks

Any of the previous scenarios could play out with the Chiefs ultimately deciding to keep just two quarterbacks. Head Coach Todd Haley chose this route for much of 2010 before Palko received a promotion from the practice squad on December 8th.

For this scenario to occur, outside of injury, it would likely require Stanzi putting together an impressive preseason.

Speaking of Developing Quarterbacks…

The Chiefs selection of Stanzi had been a long time coming and, as we reviewed last week, could signal an overall change in the Chiefs draft philosophy.

After selecting just two quarterbacks from 1998-2010, GM Scott Pioli likes the idea of drafting a quarterback each year. Doing so just might help the Chiefs break a nasty streak.  

Incredibly, the Chiefs have never drafted a quarterback who has thrown more career touchdowns than interceptions. Here’s the entire list.

All-Time Quarterbacks Drafted By Chiefs

Year Player Round College GP TDs INTs
1968 Mike Livingston 2nd SMU 91 56 83
1979 Steve Fuller 1st Clemson 90 28 41
1983 Todd Blackledge 1st Penn State 46 29 38
1981 Bob Gagliano 12th Utah State 32 17 27
2006 Brodie Croyle 3rd Alabama 18 8 9
1995 Steve Stenstrom 4th Stanford 17 4 12
1994 Steve Matthews 7th Memphis 3 0 0
1972 Dean Carlson 7th Iowa State 1 0 1
1992 Matt Blundin 2nd Virginia 3 0 2
1989 Mike Elkins 2nd Wake Forest 1 0 1
1974 David Jaynes 3rd Kansas 2 0 1
1997 Pat Barnes 4th California 1 0 0
1987 Doug Hudson 7th Nicholls State 1 0 0
2005 James Kilian 7th Tulsa 0 0 0
1988 Danny McManus 11th Florida State 0 0 0
1978 Pete Woods 4th Missouri 0 0 0
1977 Mark Vitali 10th Purdue 0 0 0
1976 Joe Bruner 13th NE Louisiana 0 0 0
1971 Chuck Hixson 13th SMU 0 0 0

*AFL Draft excluded

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