What can we expect from new Miami QB Tyler Thigpen?

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 02: Quarterback Tyler Thigpen  of the Miami Dolphins drops back to pass against the Dallas Cowboys during a preseason game at Cowboys Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

With Chad Pennington’s season likely done and Chad Henne on crutches, the Dolphins turn to five-year vet Tyler Thigpen as their starter for Week 11 against the Bears. Thigpen made some noise in his second season when he appeared in 14 games for the Chiefs after both Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle went down with injuries. Over his final 10 starts, Thigpen averaged 222 passing yards, 1.6 TDs and 0.8 INTs. He completed 192-of-330 passes (58.2%) and averaged 32.5 rushing yards during that stretch. That all combines to yield an 84.7 QB rating, which would put him at #21 this season (between Kevin Kolb and Carson Palmer).

I asked our NFL guru, Anthony Stalter, to give me his impression of Thigpen and here’s what he had to say:

His decision-making his questionable but he’s mobile and if the Dolphins get him moving outside of the pocket he can be effective. He has a hard time making reads under pressure though, so Miami would be better served limiting the plays he runs.

On Sunday, he came in as the Dolphins’ third QB and completed 4-of-6 passes for 64 yards and a TD. Miami ran a number of plays out of the Wildcat formation to limit Thigpen’s snaps.

Fantasy-wise, I’d rather sit on a pile of broken glass than start Thigpen against a stout Chicago pass defense, but going forward, he may not be a bad QB2 or member of a QB committee. He averaged 19.9 fantasy points during that 10-game stretch with the Chiefs, but the Dolphins probably won’t be playing from behind as much as the Chiefs were that season. After next week’s game against the Bears, the schedule lightens up considerably, including a nice pair of matchups (BUF & DET, at home) during Weeks 15 & 16. If Thigpen is still the Miami starter at that point, he could be a sneaky good start.

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Randy Moss held to just one catch in his Titans’ debut

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - OCTOBER 7: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss answers questions from the media during a press conference at Winter Park on October 7, 2010 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

Somewhere in Pittsburgh right now, Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick just read Randy Moss’ stat line from his first game as a Titan and said, “Suck it, Randy.”

After being a malcontent in his previous two stops, Moss is now working on his third team this season and he’s already 0-1. While he was targeted four times in the Titans’ 29-17 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday, he caught just one pass for 26 yards in his Tennessee debut.

And that catch didn’t come until the Titans’ final drive in the fourth quarter.

Moss spent most of the day riding the bench and he even admitted after the game that he wasn’t as good as he could be.

“My debut, man, it was actually a bad game for me. I think I just tried to be as much help to them as I could, just try to play within the offense. So I felt comfortable out there, but I don’t think that I had a very good overall game. I think that my blocking really wasn’t that good, where I wanted it to be. So I’ll just go back at the drawing board and come back again next week.”

As for the players who did factor into the game, Chad Henne completed 19-of-28 passes for 240 yards with one touchdown and an interception. The only reason Henne was in the game was because Chad Pennington (who’s season, if not career, is likely over with) hurt his shoulder just two snaps into the first quarter. Then Henne injured his knee in the second half and had to be replaced by Tyler Thigpen, who completed 4-of-6 passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Henne, who was on crutches following the game, will have an MRI on his knee Sunday night. If he can’t go, Thigpen would get the nod against the Bears next week.

The win was big for the Dolphins, who remain two games behind the Jets in the division. The loss drops the Titans a game back of the Colts in both the win and loss columns, and into a tie with the Jaguars at 5-4.

Dolphins acquire Thigpen from Chiefs

According to the Chiefs’ official website, Kansas City traded quarterback Tyler Thigpen to the Dolphins for an undisclosed draft pick.

Miami was forced to make this move after Chad Pennington suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in a loss to the Chargers in Week 3. With only Chad Henne and Pat White on the depth chart, Thigpen gives the Dolphins more experience at the quarterback position.

That said, Henne will remain the Dolphins’ starter because the team wants to get a better look at the former second round pick out of Michigan. Given Pennington’s age (33) and injury history, there’s a good chance that Miami won’t re-sign him when he becomes a free agent in the offseason. But they still want to see whether or not Henne is capable of taking over the starting job before the jettison a veteran quarterback like Pennington, who led Miami to an AFC East title last season.

As for the Chiefs, they were hoping to acquire a fourth round pick in exchange for Thigpen this summer after they traded for Matt Cassel, but I doubt they got more than a fifth rounder from Miami.

Thigpen isn’t a bad fantasy quarterback. He was QB12 last year even though he was second string early in the season. His 18.8 fppg average was 10th-best in the league. He posted some good garbage time numbers for the Chiefs because they were trailing for most of the season. The job is Henne’s to start, but if he falters or gets injured, Thigpen could be a sneaky good pickup in deeper fantasy leagues.

Cassel could miss 2-4 weeks with MCL injury

Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel is in jeopardy of missing Week 1 of the regular season after suffering an MCL injury in Kansas City’s most recent preseason game.

From Yahoo! Sports.com:

Cassel, who the Chiefs acquired in a trade with New England this offseason, was hurt Saturday night in an exhibition game against Seattle. The injury is not expected to require surgery because MCL injuries usually heal on their own.

However, the injury means Cassel could miss the Chiefs’ season opener at Baltimore on Sept. 13. If Cassel can’t play, Tyler Thigpen(notes) is expected to start the season. Thigpen, who had been the subject of trade rumors earlier this week, played in 14 games last season when the Chiefs went through injuries at quarterback. He finished the season with 18 touchdown passes, 12 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 76.0.

The fact that he won’t need surgery is good for the long-term status of the team, although it has to be disappointing for both Cassel and the Chiefs that he won’t be lining up under center in Week 1.

After a brutal start last season, Thigpen actually played well in the second half and offers Todd Haley starting experience. That doesn’t mean that Thigpen will fair well in Baltimore, but at least Haley doesn’t have to worry about trotting out a rookie QB in his team’s season opener.

One thing to note is that Thigpen has leapfrogged Brodie Croyle on the Chiefs’ depth chart. Croyle was the Week 1 starter last year and was once viewed as the long-term answer under center. His time as a starter definitely came to an end when the team acquired Cassel, although now it appears that even his time as a backup (at least in Kansas City) could be dwindling as well.

Obviously, this is worrisome for Cassel owners, but if you’re following our QBBC strategy, and drafted Cassel as part of a committee, you probably weren’t planning to use Cassel against the Ravens in Week 1 anyway. He should be able to play in Week 2 or Week 3 at the latest, so while his value is certainly hurt as a starting QB, he still holds similar value as a backup or a part of a committee.

Offseason Blueprint: Kansas City Chiefs

Notable Free Agents: Jason Babin, DE; Rocky Boiman, LB; Oliver Celestin, FS.

Projected 2009 Cap Space: $33,000,000

Draft Order: 3

Top Needs: The Chiefs have a variety of holes to fill this offseason, from the interior of their offensive line, to linebacker to safety and No. 2 wide receiver.

Offseason Outlook: Despite the lack of overall roster talent, the Chiefs aren’t a bad situation to walk into for new GM Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley. The team has plenty of cap space, a high draft pick and not one marquee free agent to re-sign. Pioli is essentially working with a clean slate to begin his era in Kansas City.

That said, there are some underlining issues on the horizon. Tight end Tony Gonzalez and running back Larry Johnson, two players who will be counted on to spark the revival in Kansas City, have both expressed a desire to be traded this offseason. Gonzalez has wavered a bit in his demands, but it’s clear that LJ wants out of KC and maybe Pioli will grant his wish as long as the Chiefs can land proper compensation for the star back.

Another area Pioli might address is at quarterback, where incumbent Tyler Thigpen played well enough in the second half of the season to merit a crack at the starting spot, but probably isn’t the long-term answer. Considering Pioli is coming over from New England, he could look into what it would take to acquire Matt Cassel. Don’t count on it though. KC has the No. 3 overall pick and certainly won’t part with that high of a pick for Cassel, especially when you consider he might have been a product of the Patriots’ outstanding offensive system. Don’t be surprised if Thigpen is the Chiefs’ starter under center again next year.

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