KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -Running back Larry Johnson will probably be out again this week with an injured foot, which means there's little relief in sight for Kansas City's struggling offense.
The Chiefs' anemic attack did get a little spark Sunday with the rocket arm of Brodie Croyle, a second-year player who made his first start at quarterback in a 13-10 loss at Indianapolis. Otherwise, the Chiefs figure to keep stumbling along with an aging line that has trouble pass blocking and creating much space for 34-year-old running back Priest Holmes.
``At the end of the day, we're in a transition phase with this football team,'' coach Herm Edwards said Monday. ``This is not the team that you're going to see next year. There are going to be some changes on this team. There's no doubt about it. We're going through a transition phase. That's a process.''
The Chiefs were 4-3 when they went into their bye week, contending in the AFC West and winning praise for finding ways to win while retooling one of the league's oldest teams. But three straight losses have fans and even some players grumbling their displeasure. Tight end Tony Gonzalez was among those expressing their unhappiness on Sunday with what they considered conservative play-calling by Edwards and offensive coordinator Mike Solari.
Croyle, replacing turnover-prone veteran Damon Huard, was 19 of 27 for 169 yards, including a beauty of a 17-yard touchdown strike to rookie wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who made a leaping catch in the end zone.
``I'm proud of (Croyle),'' Gonzalez said. ``If that's what the future holds for him, he's going to do very well for the Chiefs. We've just got to give him the right stuff to work with.''
Edwards said he could understand the players' frustration.
``When they look at the tape after the game's over, they'll see why certain things were done. Players want to win. But so do coaches. Coaches are trying to put them in the best situation they can possibly be in to be successful. You're dealt so many cards and you have to play the cards you've got. That's what we're playing right now.''
The game plan for this week's meeting at home with Oakland may be quite different from the approach used against the defending Super Bowl champion Colts in the RCA Dome, Edwards said.
``You're going in with a plan, first of all, with what you feel your players are capable of doing,'' he said. ``That's the first thing I always consider when you put a game plan together. And you try to play to the strengths of your players.
``Players might think it's conservative. But at the end of the day, that's just being competitive. The players have a way of looking at things sometimes a little bit different than coaches. And that's OK,'' Edwards added. ``Offensively, we know what our strengths are, and we have to play to those strengths. And when you get away from that and you think there's something a little bit different, you get yourself in trouble.''
Holmes, making his second start for the injured Johnson, rushed for only 55 yards on 19 carries. The Chiefs rank 30th in the NFL in scoring, 31st in rushing and 29th in yards from scrimmage.
Johnson, who injured his foot in a loss to Green Bay on Nov. 4, was scheduled to have a test on Monday and the results may not be known until Tuesday. Edwards was not optimistic about getting his two-time Pro Bowl running back in the lineup this week.
``I assume he'll be out,'' he said.
The only injury from the Indianapolis game was safety Greg Wesley, who aggravated a sore knee and was to undergo an MRI on Monday.
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