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A Look Back at the Kansas City Chiefs Starting Quarterbacks Since 1990 - a Fan’s View
The Kansas CIty Chiefs have struggled to find themselves a good, young quarterback to take over the offense and hopefully stay for years to come. The acquisition of Matt Cassel was supposed to be the answer, but thanks to injuries and new offensive coordinators every season, many are wondering if Cassel is the answer. It seems the Chiefs have been known to pick up aging veterans for short term fixes over grooming a young quarterback, so at times us fans need to be patient with Cassel and let the team develop around him. He doesn't appear to be the quarterback with the big strong arm that will win you a lot of games, but he is more of a game manager type quarterback. His results have been mixed over the last few seasons, so it is no surprise that his support has been a bag of mixed reviews as well. Here is a brief look into the quarterback struggles since the 1990's.
In 1988 Steve DeBerg came to Kansas City at the ripe young age of 34, this will become a disturbing trend as the years go by. DeBerg was just 20-63 as a starter before playing with the Chiefs. He would have more success in Kansas City though as he led the Chiefs to a 21-10 record over his final two seasons.
The Chiefs were back on the market for a quarterback in 1992 and what else would they do but pick up another 34 year old quarterback. Dave Krieg was an impressive 10-6 his first season and only season as the main starter.
In 1993, legend Joe Montana was signed by the Chiefs. At 37, the Chiefs still believed he had a couple of good years left in him. They were right, as Montana went 17-8 but age and injuries were too much to make this match last very long.
Steve Bono was next on the list. He also came over from San Francisco (as did Montana). Steve Young made them both expendable. The Chiefs were 13-3 in his first season as a starter and 21-10 overall when Bono started the game.
Rich Gannon was a successful quarterback for awhile with the Raiders, but before that he had a short stint with the Chiefs beginning in 1995. He was 11-8 in starts spanning 4 seasons.
The Chiefs looked in San Francisco yet again for their next quarterback. At just 27, Elvis Grbac was the youngest quarterback in awhile with some promise. After 4 seasons though, Grbac was just a combined 26-21 and never lived up to expectations. Warren Moon made a brief appearance in 2000 as a starter as he started just one game. At the age of 44 years and 8 days old, he is the 3rd oldest quarterback to start a game. Topping the list is a former Chief, Steve DeBerg. DeBerg was 44 years 279 days old when he last started a game.
Trent Green came to Kansas City with new head coach Dick Vermeil and did lead a high powered offense, but the results weren't that impressive. In 2001, at age 31, Green became the starter in Kansas City. Green did lead the Chiefs to the playoffs in 2003 and 2005, but in 6 seasons as the starter had just a 48-40 record overall.
In 2006, Damon Huard started some games for the Chiefs as well. Huard was just 10-11 in spot starts through 3 seasons. The following season, Brodie Croyle made his Chiefs debut at the young age of 24. Croyle was a 3rd round pick of Kansas City but he never lived up to the hype. Croyle finished with a disappointing 0-10 record in his starts that were spread out over 4 different seasons. Tyler Thigpin started 11 games in 2008 and went 1-10 despite putting up decent numbers.
In 2009 the Matt Cassel era began. Cassel was a hot commodity after leading the New England Patriots in the absence of Tom Brady. The Chiefs were able to acquire Cassel and handed the reigns over to him. With varying success, support of Cassel has also wavered. Cassel has worked with numerous offensive coordinators in his time with Kansas City as well as now going to be heading into next season with a new head coach and another new offensive coach. In 2010, Cassel led the Chiefs to a 10-5 record and a surprise playoff appearance before injuries took their toll on the team in 2011.
In 2011, Tyler Palko started after Cassel went down with injuries. In 6 games Palko had just 2 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Late in the 2011 season, the Chiefs picked up Kyle Orton off of waivers and he started the last couple of games. Orton played well as the Chiefs knocked off previously unbeaten Green Bay Packers but the Chiefs still finished the season just one game from missing the playoffs.
Many are hoping that the Chiefs will bring in someone to challenge Cassel for the starting position, but it is doubtful that the Chiefs can convince someone like Orton to return. The only way the Chiefs will convince a big named guy to come to Kansas City is if they part ways with Cassel. I feel it is too early to lay judgement that he can't be successful though. He is still fairly young and will be hard to trade him with the contract he has. Hopefully they can draft a young guy and give him a few years to develop before Cassel is done. As I mentioned previously in an article, I would take someone like Peyton Manning in a second, but that is a short term fix and I still think Cassel could learn a ton from Manning. It won't happen, so we need to support Cassel as he leads the Chiefs into 2012.
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