Why it’s important for the Chiefs to choose Chase Litton
By Matt Conner
The Kansas City Chiefs need to keep Chase Litton around instead of Matt McGloin because the alternative simply makes no sense.
The quarterback position looks radically different for the Kansas City Chiefs these days.
After five years of Alex Smith as the starting quarterback and Tyler Bray as the No. 3 option, the depth chart has been completely organized. The starting torch has been passed to Patrick Mahomes. Veteran Chad Henne has been signed as the No. 2, playing the mentor/veteran role in addition to some security along the way. Then there’s the No. 3 spot in which two new faces are fighting for an active roster spot.
One of them makes complete sense. The other? Not so much.
Matt McGloin and Chase Litton are two quarterbacks vying for the third and final roster spot for the Chiefs heading into the regular season. It is possible that the Chiefs could keep the veteran and push the rookie to the practice squad, thereby keeping all four of them, but that leaves Litton out there for any QB-needy team to claim. Given the competition and needs at No. 3, that’s simply not a risk worth taking.
A few days ago, I came across a great tweet from NFL analyst Ben Allbright containing this gem:
Allbright is right. Why bother with anything other than someone who could meaningfully start a game for your team? Teams like the New England Patriots understand this very well as they continue to draft and mold quarterbacks behind Tom Brady despite having no interest in any of them actually supplanting their star quarterback for the job. Why? Because Bill Belichick doesn’t waste time.
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The Chiefs, however, are wasting time by considering McGloin for this role. Perhaps someone in the organization wants to have someone else with experience behind someone with experience—some ultimate security in case something happens to Mahomes and then Henne all at once. But let’s be honest: Will McGloin bail out the team’s offense then because he happened to have some not-so-great reps with Oakland a few years ago?
McGloin is, at this point in the NFL, a known commodity. Think about this: last year there were a handful of teams starting pitiful quarterbacks for multiple games. Due to injury or just a lack of a good option, not a single one of those teams allowed McGloin to throw a single pass. In fact, he hasn’t thrown one since he was with the Oakland Raiders in 2016.
On the other hand, they have a potential future starter. That’s not to go overboard on projections for Chase Litton. He is, by definition, an undrafted free agent, a man passed over by every single NFL team, including those needy at quarterback, multiple times over the course of a full weekend. He’s nothing more than that at this point and hyping him in any way is to begin to lie—either to others or ourselves.
That said, Litton is also a blank slate, an unknown. NFL history is littered with great stories of unknowns emerging from unexpected places. A underappreciated guy lands with a patient team with the right scheme and suddenly he’s developing. The Denver Broncos are hanging their offensive hats on Case Keenum who certainly needed some time. And he’s hardly the only such story.
Litton is a rookie out of Marshall who has actually shown some decent flashes in camp. Why not give the kid the entire fourth quarter with the third-string players in the upcoming game against the Atlanta Falcons on Friday? Why force him to split reps with McGloin and his career 1-6 record in four NFL seasons? Maybe the Chiefs believe both could be “potential future starters” but no one else thinks that about McGloin in the entire league.
For now it only makes sense to move forward with Litton and to stop the charade of any real competition for QB3.