With a full, ugly, unwatchable game under his belt, the Chiefs front office has enough tape on Thigpen to know that he is nothing but a practice squad project. Under Thigpen, the Chiefs went an entire first quarter without a first down. Almost halfway through the second quarter, Thigpen had only completed two of his 13 pass attempts for 12 yards and two interceptions. That’s right, he had as many interceptions as completions midway through the second quarter!
There’s no need to pile on the young man. As I’ve stated before, it’s not his fault he’s on this roster, but Thigpen’s performance against Atlanta was undeniable proof that the Chiefs need to make a transaction. We haven’t seen Ingle Martin yet, but there is no reason to believe he can lead this team to a victory, and Damon Huard’s career is probably down to its final 13 weeks.
Talking about the Chiefs’ quarterback situation throughout the entire season would be comparable to running your nerves through a cheese grater, so I’ll transition to something a little less monotonous, Larry Johnson. After last week’s loss to the Raiders, Johnson talked about the writing being on the wall concerning his time in Kansas City and how it may be nearing an end. He was referring to the reduced role he played against Oakland, carrying the ball only 12 times.
This week, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey wised up and gave Johnson the ball more, resulting in 121 rushing yards, an average of five yards per carry, and a touchdown. It wasn’t just the increase in carries that helped Johnson, but rather the type of carry. Finally, he got the ball on some plays designed to go outside the tackles. When Johnson gets the ball in open space, he’s one of the best runners in the league, and he proved that today, busting loose several times on the perimeter.
Johnson finally got into rhythm this week, and it seemed like it’d been a millennium since he last raised his hands in the shape of a diamond, signaling a touchdown, but does than mean he’s back in the Chiefs plans for the future? I’m not sold on that, as the Chiefs have a talented running back corps, with rookie speedster Jamaal Charles and second-year back Kolby Smith. Let’s also not forget about training camp MVP Dantrell Savage.
With such an emphasis on youth, and a bevy of talent at his position, Johnson may become trade fodder next offseason. As fans witnessed Sunday, the Chiefs still have a lot of positions of need, and every extra draft pick they can acquire will help fill those needs.
The more success Johnson has, the more valuable he’ll be in the trade market. Of course, the more success he has, the more valuable he is to the Chiefs winning efforts as well. I’m not going to make a bold prediction about when Johnson will leave the Chiefs, but it’s something for fans to think about other than mind-numbingly bad quarterback play.