Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn will return to the starting lineup on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium against his former team, the Denver Broncos.
It will be Quinn’s third start of the season and first since he suffered a concussion in the early going of the Chiefs’ 26-16 loss to Oakland on Oct. 28. Quinn was unavailable for the next two games at San Diego and at Pittsburgh but was cleared to play last week, and replaced Matt Cassel for the second half of Sunday’s 28-6 loss to Cincinnati.
“We’ll try to give him enough time to try to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish when I made the move to try to change the dynamic of the team,” said head coach Romeo Crennel, whose team has lost seven straight. “Then, he had his injury and wasn’t able to fulfill it, so now that he’s cleared and he’s back healthy, give him that opportunity to do that. We’ll see how it plays out.”
Quinn, signed as an unrestricted free agent during the off-season after two years without getting into a game at Denver, completed nine of 14 passes for 95 yards with a long of 20 yards against Cincinnati. The Chiefs, playing with a patchwork offensive line, did not score any points under his direction against the Bengals.
“I feel blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity,” said Quinn. “We’re going to go out there and do everything we can to get a win. This is something that I feel like in my career I can never get enough of live, game reps.”
Quinn’s first start was on Oct. 14 at Tampa Bay when he replaced Cassel, who had suffered a concussion the previous week against Baltimore. In his only complete game of the season, Quinn completed 22 of 38 passes for 180 yards, two interceptions, a long of 19 yards and a 48.1 passer rating.
Cassel, who has started eight and appeared in nine of the Chiefs’ 10 games in a 1-9 season, is the 32nd-rated passer in the NFL, having completed 161 of 277 passes for 1,796 yards, six touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a 66.7 rating.
Moeaki injures shoulder
Tight end Tony Moeaki, with a shoulder injury, joined the Chiefs’ lengthy injury list. Moeaki caught four passes for 73 yards against Cincinnati but was injured taking a hit on a catch down the middle of the field. However, he participated fully in practice on Wednesday.
Besides Moeaki, four other offensive starters — left tackle Branden Albert (back), center/guard Ryan Lilja (knee), wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (neck) and guard Jon Asamoah (thumb) — were on the injury report. Albert and Lilja did not practice; Bowe and Asamoah were limited.
Wide receiver Jon Baldwin (concussion) was cleared to practice after missing last week’s game.
Broncos place McGahee on IR
The Broncos placed starting running back Willis McGahee on injured reserve with a knee/leg injury but used their one designated-for-return option on him, so he is eligible to return to practice in six weeks (Jan. 2) and can be activated by the Broncos in eight weeks (Jan. 16) for postseason games.
McGahee, a 2011 Pro Bowler, started nine of 10 games this season, leading the club with 731 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Rookie Ronnie Hillman, an undrafted rookie free agent from San Diego State, is expected to make his first NFL start on Sunday unless the Broncos go with an extra wide receiver or tight end.
Chiefs add kicker to practice squad
The Chiefs added kicker Matt Szymanski to the practice squad, filling the spot vacated when offensive lineman Rich Ranglin was promoted to the active squad. Szymanski, a first-year player from SMU, went to training camp with the Chiefs and was waived on Aug. 26.
Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop has made 20 of 23 field goal attempts and has been solid on kickoffs, but he missed field-goal attempts of 39 yards at San Diego on Nov. 1 and 33 yards the next week at Pittsburgh when the games were still close, and also sent a kickoff out of bounds at Pittsburgh.
Broncos’ Miller honored
Denver outside linebacker Von Miller was selected AFC Defensive Player of the week for his performance in last Sunday’s win over San Diego, when he had six tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles.
Miller, a first-round draft pick from Texas A 2011, has 24.5 career sacks, the second-most sacks through a player’s first 25 games since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Only former Chiefs star Derrick Thomas, with 25, has more sacks through a player’s first 25 games.