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Schottenheimer: There is no quarterback controversy with Chiefs

December 23, 1997

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ If the Kansas City Chiefs have a quarterback controversy, somebody had better tell coach Marty Schottenheimer.

After sleeping on it for a night, Schottenheimer was emphatic that there is no quarterback question nipping at his team.

``Elvis Grbac is our starting quarterback,″ Schottenheimer declared on Monday.

After watching a rusty Grbac complete just five of 14 passes against New Orleans on Sunday in his first game since breaking his collarbone on Nov. 3, a lot of Chiefs fans went home wondering if they’d be better off with Rich Gannon. Grbac’s backup authored a five-game winning streak while Grbac was injured.

Admittedly, the conditions on Sunday were dreadful, and made it impossible to get a good evaluation. A cold, wet rain made the field muddy and the ball slippery, bad conditions for any quarterback.

But Gannon came in late in the third quarter and threw the best pass of the day, a 3-yard toss to tight end Ted Popson as the Chiefs (13-3) won their sixth in a row. They had already wrapped up home-field advantage for the playoffs and were eager to get Grbac, who missed six games, some valuable game experience.

He took several good pops without any apparent damage, but he admitted his timing was off.

And with the bye week, Grbac will not see live action again until the Chiefs’ first playoff game on Jan. 4.

``I prefer to look at it in the context that we have two guys we can win with,″ Schottenheimer said.

No matter what anybody says, Schottenheimer insisted, there is no question that Grbac is back.

``It’s not an issue with our football team. It’s not an issue with our coaching staff. It’s not an issue in our organization. Elvis Grbac is our starting quarterback. Period,″ he said. ``He is the No. 1 quarterback. There is no issue.″

``But what we also have to understand is they only play one position,″ Schottenheimer said of quarterbacks. ``You also have to pass-protect regardless of who’s in there. You’ve got to run the ball. You can’t turn the ball over. You’ve got to play good defense. You’ve got to do things in the kicking game or it doesn’t matter who’s at quarterback. They’re only one part of the puzzle, albeit the one that’s the focal point.″