The Kansas City Chiefs received some bad news on Thursday: QB Matt Cassel underwent an appendectomy and his status for Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers is unknown. If you had to devise a worst-case scenario for the Chiefs at this point, this would probably be one of the options.
But this situation does not mean the end of the road for the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs. Todd Haley is probably preaching to his team right this second that this is a situation to learn from -- adversity, he'll call it -- and that this can make the Chiefs better.
If Cassel doesn't play
His replacement? Brodie Croyle. The last time Croyle played he was actually very efficient. The 2009 season opener saw Cassel out with an injury and Croyle step in to complete 16-of-24 passes for 177 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. That's an impressive day for your backup -- heck, for anyone against the Baltimore Ravens, who ended the season as the league's third ranked defense.
Then what? You're looking at an even bigger focus on Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones. I'm not saying you don't need Cassel -- November's AFC offensive player of the month would prove that wrong -- but if my fall back plan includes a heavier dose of the league's No. 1 rushing attack, then life could be worse. So we'll expect more rushing the ball.
If Cassel does play
Then the Chiefs are in a somewhat similar position. The way I understand the situation, there will be some soreness that could potentially limit his mobility. If Cassel's sore and his mobility is limited then we're probably going to see an increased focus on the running game, which is the same scenario if he can't play.
I know we're upset about Cassel's injury but is more JC and TJ such a bad thing? I don't think so. I don't sit in on offensive game plan meetings but, to me, the increased work to Charles and Jones seems like a no-brainer to me, whether Cassel plays or not.
Even without Cassel's situation, I think the game plan is a heavy dose of those two running backs (and Dexter McCluster). The Chargers are one of the league's best offenses and can put up a ton of points so the Chiefs, going on the road, probably wanted to slow it down and control the tempo anyway.
Bottomline? The quarterback does not make or break this system. I think Cassel's play this season has nearly perfected the offensive system but this isn't a Peyton Manning situation where the team falls apart without him.
The good teams handle this. The Steelers went 3-1 without Ben Roethlisberger earlier this season. The 2008 Patriots won 11 games with Tom Brady for 15 and a half of them.
The only question is -- are the Chiefs a good team?