Tyler Bray Needs to Play

Photo: Kirby Lee USA Today Sports

The regular season finale at San Diego offers very little incentive for the Chiefs. However, that doesn't mean Head Coach, Andy Reid, shouldn't take a look ahead to 2014. If that's on the agenda, then third string quarterback, Tyler Bray, should get a look Sunday to find out how much progress he's made since the pre-season.

When his team makes a season ending curtain call in San Diego this weekend, Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid, is going to rest most of his starters.

The game plan likely will feature a series or two for some of his healthy offensive starters. The same goes for the defensive side of the ball. But beyond that the back-ups will get plenty of action against the Chargers.

When Quarterback, Alex Smith, leaves the field (that's if he gets on the field to begin with), back-up Chase Daniel will get his shot to see what happens offensively for this team, if Smith goes down with an injury in the playoffs.

There's little doubt in my view that after some relief appearances for the Chiefs this season, Daniel isn't the long term back-up answer. It's clear, even though he does have a decent arm; he's never going to lead KC's offense now or in the future in any meaningful games.

However, the Chiefs third string quarterback, Tyler Bray, could very likely become Smith's successor and primary back-up next season. Thus if that's the case (and rumblings I hear within the organization suggest that to be the case in 2014), then why not give him the majority of the snaps against San Diego.

The last time we saw Bray on the field was the Chiefs final preseason game. Against the Green Bay Packers at Arrowhead, Bray connected on 14 of 25 passes with an offensive line that was patchwork at best. In getting the win for KC that Thursday evening, he threw a trio of touchdowns in leading the Chiefs to a 30-8 rout.

Granted Bray wasn't exactly playing against the Packers starting defensive unit but offensively he was throwing to the ball to the majority of players who aren't even in the NFL today.

In it's rich franchise history, the Kansas City Chiefs have never developed a young quarterback and watched him blossom into a prize winning champion. While the majority of NFL teams have been able to do just that (some of them numerous times), for some reason KC is winless in that all important category.

Sure they've tried over the last five plus decades to find their quarterback of the future, but they've never even come close. In Bray, they might just have that opportunity.

Going forward one can't deny the Chiefs success this season should not be overshadowed by their recent string of puzzling losses in November and December. Once they moved to 9-0 on the season, their playoff position was locked down and winning the division became a noble attempt but one that wasn't going to be attained by a team that simply went 2-14 a year ago.

Still Reid and General Manager, John Dorsey, have built this team to win now and in the future. But no position is more important for Kansas City to become a perennial champion than the player who leads the offense.

Smith has exceeded every expectation this season for Kansas City. He's guided the team into the post season and proven he was worth the pair of second round draft picks it cost his new franchise to obtain him last March.

Yet despite that success, he's one play away from becoming a spectator on the sidelines. With the rash of injuries that have fallen upon NFL quarterbacks this season, Smith has been one of the few that's managed to say upright and injury free.

That's why it's important Reid give Bray some significant snaps on Sunday against the Chargers. With his size, arm strength and brains, he has the potential to become for the Chiefs what Aaron Rogers, became for the Green Bay Packers when he replaced veteran, Brett Favre, years ago.

It's clear Smith's best football will be played in the next two or three seasons. By then Bray, should be ready to assume that lofty position and guide the Chiefs for the next decade.

If my sense is accurate (one that is shared within the organization), then it would be wise to play Bray Sunday, cut Daniel in the off-season and look towards drafting another young quarterback in the mid to late rounds next April.

By doing those trio of moves, the Chiefs will have significantly improved the quarterback position and can begin, under Reid, to develop a pipeline of young signal callers that could benefit the Chiefs in a multitude of ways now and in the future.

Should Any Reid give the ball to Tyler Bray on Sundayt?

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