KC Quarterbacks precious and few


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Jan 22, 2006
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KC quarterbacks precious and few
Chiefs add Smoker to roster after Huard sprains foot in practice.
The Kansas City Star
RIVER FALLS, Wis. | - Nobody told rookie quarterback Casey Printers to pack an ice bag this weekend when the Chiefs visit his home in Houston. Printers just looked around in practice Wednesday and saw two guys in yellow jerseys. And he was counting himself.

“I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Trent’s probably going to take about 12 snaps,” Printers said, “and I’m the only guy left.”

Finally, coach Herm Edwards has something to remind him of New York. The Chiefs are two days away from their first preseason game, and Edwards is running out of quarterbacks. Just hours after Edwards said that Damon Huard had solidified himself as Kansas City’s No. 2 quarterback — in part because rookie Brodie Croyle is hurt — Huard was out because of a sprained foot.

“You might see a new quarterback playing for us Saturday without any practice,” Edwards said after the morning workout. “That would be a first, wouldn’t it?”

Not really. Edwards watched four of his quarterbacks go down to injury last year with the Jets, and by late Wednesday morning, the Chiefs were on the phone scrambling for another arm. They agreed to a one-year deal in principle with free-agent quarterback Jeff Smoker, who was cut recently by the Rams.

Smoker, a sixth-round draft pick in 2004, was expected to arrive in River Falls late Wednesday night. How much he’ll play is unknown, but it’s obvious Edwards is taking no chances.

Asked whether he’d consider giving more snaps Saturday night to Green, a two-time Pro Bowler, Edwards said: “Oh no, we won’t do that. We’ll play rugby or something. We won’t put the starter back in. We’ll just run the ball every play if we have to.”

Going with Printers for 3 1/2 quarters wasn’t a viable option, either.

“That’s easy to say,” Edwards said, “but if he gets hit cuckoo, what do you do?”

The quarterbacks wear yellow jerseys during camp to distinguish themselves as hands off from would-be tacklers. The Chiefs defenders, hungry to impress their new defensive-minded coach, haven’t always followed those orders. Croyle hurt his shoulder after a hard hit during the first week of camp. Printers has also taken a couple of shots but has been able to bounce back.

Huard sprained his foot near the end of Tuesday’s afternoon practice.

Printers, a former CFL star, is adjusting to timing issues. He lingered on the field for roughly a half hour after each of Wednesday’s two-a-day practices, throwing to the Chiefs’ younger receivers. He started camp getting the fewest amount of reps but said he’ll have no problem being thrown into full duty at Reliant Stadium.

“I’ve been playing for the last two years on the professional level,” Printers said. “I understand what it’s all about, and I’ll be prepared for it. The timing of the game … that’s why I’m out keeping the guys around. Because it’s just a little bit different than when I was up in Canada.

“It’s just a football game. I’ve been playing this game since I was 9 years old. There’s nothing different. I’ll go out there, I’ll get excited, I’ll get enthusiasm, and I’m just going to play it like I’d play any other game.”

The scenario is similar to the Chiefs’ 2005 preseason, when Green, Huard and No. 2 quarterback Todd Collins were out because of injuries. The Chiefs called in journeyman Jonathan Quinn, who was released before the start of the season.

Quinn was in Orlando with his family at Disney World when the Chiefs notified him that they were going in a different direction. James Kilian, a seventh-round draft pick in 2005, was also hopeful he’d rejoin his old team.

The Chiefs and Kilian played phone tag Wednesday morning, then his agent told him to head to the airport to be on the safe side. Kilian left his home in tiny Medford, Okla., but heard halfway to the airport that they’d picked another quarterback.

“They said to stay in shape,” said Kilian’s agent, Bob Lattinville. “You never know what might happen.”

Smoker gives the Chiefs a young quarterback with knowledge of the offense from his days in St. Louis. On Saturday, he’ll give Edwards another body.

“You want to look sharp with your first group if you can,” Edwards said. “The thing you want first as a coach is you’d like your starters to be sharp, tackle well, get off the field, get a drive on offense going and maybe get some points on the board. Then get the rest of the guys in. So that’s the plan.”


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