Wanted: Quarterbacks for Ailing KC Franchise

KANSAS CITY,MO - AUGUST 31: Quarterback Damon Huard #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks to pass during the game against the New Orleans Saints on August 31, 2006 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Tim Umphrey/Getty Images)
By  | 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Out of work quarterbacks, stay by your phone. Kansas City may call.

With Brodie Croyle out for the season and Damon Huard wearing a bandage on his throwing hand, the Chiefs are down to a third-teamer who ranks 34th among 34 NFL quarterbacks and a fourth-teamer who hasn't played all season.

Tyler Thigpen, who closed out Sunday's 34-10 blowout loss to Tennessee, will start at the New York Jets on Sunday if Huard's injured right thumb does not heal.

Behind Thigpen is Ingle Martin, who hasn't been activated all season.

"We might bring some [quarterbacks] in," coach Herm Edwards said. "We're still putting together the list."

Continuing quarterback woes that have haunted Kansas City (1-5) all season came to a boil on Sunday in the young Chiefs' third blowout loss. Croyle, making his first start since hurting his shoulder in the season opener, hobbled to the sideline in the first half with an MCL injury in the left knee.

He's out for the season and the Chiefs are almost certain to give up on the injury-prone Alabama player and make finding a young quarterback prospect a top priority in the offseason.

But the more immediate challenge is finding someone this week, and for the next 10 games to help stave off what's shaping up as possibly the sorriest season in team history.

Huard, a career backup, hurt his right thumb on his throwing hand when he slammed it against a helmet or shoulder pad. He may not be ready on Sunday.

"We're kind of looking at that right now," Edwards said.

Thigpen made his first career start at Atlanta this season, a 38-14 loss. He's 34th among 34 quarterbacks with a passer rating of 44.3. He's also the only one of the 34 averaging fewer than 100 yards passing per game and the only one with an average gain per completion of less than 4.5 yards.

He did lead two late scoring drives against the unbeaten Titans that enabled the Chiefs to avoid getting shut out in back-to-back games for the first time in franchise history.

Martin, who would presumably be the No. 2 quarterback if Thigpen starts, has not been on the field since the Chiefs signed him off the Titans' practice squad on Sept. 10.

A fifth-round draft pick of Green Bay in 2006 out of Furman, Martin said he would hope to get some practice time this week.

"I feel that I'm starting to grasp [the offense]," Martin said. "I feel comfortable with it. The whole bottom line is getting reps at it. There's a difference in knowing it in your head and actually getting out there and performing."

Edwards said that may happen.

"We'd have to get him ready if we go into this thing with only two quarterbacks, if Damon can't go," Edwards said. "He'd have to be ready as the No. 2."

Thigpen said he's more prepared to start now than when he went 14-for-36 for 128 yards and one touchdown and three interceptions against Atlanta on Sept. 21.

"I kind of distracted myself in a way that week, just kind of overwhelmed myself being a starter. But this week if I have to start, I'll definitely be more prepared."

He'll also have running back Larry Johnson. The two-time Pro Bowler was benched for disciplinary reasons against Tennessee, but Edwards said he would be on the practice field.

Edwards agreed he's never had a more challenging season in eight years as a head coach.

"This ranks up there with them," Edwards said. "In my whole career, I've never had two losing seasons [back to back]. I'm not saying we're going to have a losing season but we're struggling right now to get some consistency."