Croyle Has It

It wasn't the best debut for a first-time starting quarterback, but anyone who watched Sunday's game against the Colts had to be impressed with Brodie Croyle. Facing one of the better defenses in the NFL, Croyle showed a savvy and leadership quality that had to please his head coach and his teammates.

With the Colts leading 10-3 late in the third quarter, KC's new starting quarterback put together an 11-play, 77-yard drive that culminated with a 19-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, silencing the Indianapolis crowd.

Croyle's drive came at a key time in the game and was the only real opportunity he had to show off his skills. It's unfortunate that offensive coordinator Mike Solari babied him the rest of the game. The Chiefs never threatened to score again.

The other moment that stood out came during the Colts' final drive. While Croyle waited for his chance on the sideline, he huddled up his teammates in order to formulate a gameplan for a potential clutch drive.

Clearly, Croyle has the stuff to win, and did an admirable job Sunday, connecting on 19 of 27 passes for 169 yards. What really makes him the best choice to lead this team now is his ability to spread the ball around.

He hit eight different receivers Sunday and put the ball where only they could catch it. That's important, because one of the knocks on Croyle during preseason was his poor decision making, but he never came close to throwing a pass that had the potential for interception against the Colts. That impressed head coach Herm Edwards

"I thought [Croyle] made some good plays," said Edwards. "He's more comfortable now. We got into a lot of third and longs and we didn't want to turn it over. You have a young quarterback, we had a plan to run it some. As we got going we gave him more opportunities to throw it."

And when those opportunities came, clearly a different ball was zipping around the field for the Chiefs. Croyle's arm strength was noticeable Sunday, but so was his maturation within the offense, much to the delight of Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez.

"He's coming along quite well, I'm excited about him," said Gonzalez of his new quarterback. "He has to build upon this. We're behind him. I hope this is the beginning of a new era for the Chiefs."

Croyle wasn't too quick to rest in the face of the accolades, however. The Chiefs only scored 10 points, hardly an improvement from the way things have usually gone for their offense this season.

"We managed the game well but we didn't manage it well enough," said Croyle. "The ultimate goal is to win. You learn something every time you go out there, especially being my first start, but there's going to be high points and low points, three and outs. We don't want to be kicking field goals. We need to push the ball. There were times I could have pushed the ball. It's on us as an offense to score touchdowns."

That was evident in the fourth quarter before Solari went back to his old tricks. Croyle is capable of making throws down the field Damon Huard never could, so the question for the Chiefs is how much freedom they want to give their young quarterback.

That freedom may not be seen until 2008, after Croyle gets a few more games under his belt and KC's coaching staff gains confidence in him. But for now, at least the Chiefs officially have a quarterback of the future.

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