October 10, 2007
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Damon Huard's injured shoulder held up fine in practice Wednesday and he will be Kansas City's starting quarterback Sunday against Cincinnati.
Huard was hurt in the fourth quarter of last week's game against Jacksonville and there had been reports he would be benched this week in favor of second-year man Brodie Croyle.
"Right now, unless he has a setback, he's going to play," said coach Herm Edwards, who on Monday and Tuesday said he could not be sure of Huard's status. "And that's good for us."
While there apparently will not be a change at quarterback, there will be some young players who get playing time when the Chiefs (2-3) and their feeble offense host the Bengals, Edwards said.
Asked to identify the new players, Edwards would only mention fullback Boomer Grigsby.
"Watch the game and you'll see," he said. "There are four or five guys who need to go play. It's time. We need to start playing them. So that's what's going to happen."
Huard, 34, looked to be throwing with a free and easy motion during the early part of practice that reporters are allowed to attend. Edwards said he had some good passes and "some not so good."
"But even when he's OK, there are some good and some not so good," the coach said with a grin. "I don't know where he's at after practice. Tomorrow if his arm's sore, then I'll know more. But right now, he felt OK in practice."
Croyle, 24, has been designated as Kansas City's quarterback of the future and looked good in brief mop-up duty. His 13-yard touchdown pass on the final play from scrimmage in Sunday's 17-7 loss to Jacksonville enabled the Chiefs to avoid their first home shutout in 13 years.
"I haven't been told anything," Croyle said before Edwards met with reporters. "I'm sure you guys will know something before I do."
Huard, who speaks with the media only on Thursdays, did say in passing that his shoulder felt much better. He seemed unable to raise his arm after the game Sunday, and the rapid recovery was apparently not what Edwards expected.
"I was surprised," Edwards said. "Obviously, after the game, you look at the guy and you think, `Wow.' But he's OK. We didn't cut back on him throwing certain routes. He threw everything we wanted him to throw."
At least some of the changes Edwards has in mind could presumably be on an offense that is averaging only 65 yards rushing and 12.6 points. Wide receiver Bobby Sippio may be one who gets his first start.
Grigsby, a fan favorite even though he has played only on special teams, will be used as a blocking back to help get Larry Johnson going. A two-time Pro Bowler who rushed for more than 3,400 yards the past two seasons, Johnson ranks 22nd this week in the NFL and is averaging a paltry 3.3 yards per carry. He has suffered from poor blocking by an offensive line that is being physically dominated on many plays.
"On Sunday (Grigsby) will make his grand appearance," Edwards said. "We need to get him in the game. We need to get him more involved than in just special teams. We need to let him do some things out of the backfield."
Grigsby will rotate with Kris Wilson, who has been used mostly as a receiver instead of a blocker. His development at fullback was hampered by a pulled abdominal muscle that kept him out of two preseason games.
"It was just a sissy injury," Grigsby said. "I hope I can go in there and get the job done. But at the same time, once (Johnson) gets rolling, he's going to get rolling. It's not going to be because I'm playing fullback that all of a sudden Larry Johnson is what he used to be."