KANSAS CITY, Mo. —If there was one play that showed Brodie Croyle was indeed back on the Chiefs practice field this week, it was the last one from a 2-minute drill.
Croyle looked to his left, dragging defenders that way. He came back to the other side with a bullet to tight end Leonard Pope, who was standing in the end zone. He didn't look like a quarterback with a sore arm on that one.
"Brodie's got a gun,'' Pope said. "That hasn't changed.''
Croyle is playing catch-up after missing the last two games and plenty of practice time because of an arm injury. The Chiefs will probably get Croyle more work than he otherwise would have in tonight's final preseason game against Green Bay at Arrowhead Stadium.
"It's a fair statement,'' coach Todd Haley said. "He's missed a considerable amount of time now, and that adds up for a quarterback.
"He needs to get back into the swing fast. He understands that.''
Croyle played in the preseason opener against the Falcons in Atlanta. He completed 8 of 15 passes for 65 yards and one interception.
Training camp — and in particular the preseason — is generally the most important time of year for a backup quarterback like Croyle. Because of the generous amount of work a reserve tends to get, it's the best time of year for his development.
It can be difficult for the backup quarterback to get better during the regular season. He gets few if any first-team snaps in practice and none in the games. He'll take some snaps working against the starting defense, but he's running the plays of the upcoming opponent.
"Being a backup, this time of year is pivotal,'' said Matt Cassel, now the Chiefs' starting quarterback but a reserve for three years for New England. "It was extremely, extremely important because this is where you get most of your snaps. This is where you get on the field and get that game action.
"There is no substitute for that game time speed. The speed of the game, even if it is preseason, everything is running about 110 miles an hour faster than when you're out there at practice. You just can't simulate that (in practice).''
Croyle missed two weeks of that prime time, so he's hoping for as much playing time as the Chiefs can give him. Haley wasn't specific about playing time tonight, but Cassel can expect to play for a series or two.
Croyle would then take over and may even finish the game. Third-stringer Tyler Palko received all of the backup snaps in the last two games.
"I'm looking forward to it after not playing the last two games,'' Croyle said. "I need the snaps. There's nothing like game snaps. This is where I have to iron out the kinks, get my game experience, get to see the blitzes, get adjusted to the speed of the game. You don't get that in practice.
"In the regular season, I'll get some snaps in practice. It's the other team's plays, but it's better than no snaps at all. You can kind of get snaps that way but game experience is game experience.''
That's Croyle's role, at least for now. He started just three games over the last two years, including the season opener in 2009 in Baltimore for the injured Cassel.
The Chiefs last year traded for Cassel and forked over a big contract to him, so they're committed to him for the time being, at least.
"It's all part of the developmental process,'' Haley said of Croyle. "He's one of those guys, every (snap) he's out there I've got to believe is a positive one even if he's running off cards on the (scout) team. I know he's been paying attention. I know he's been doing the mental side of it the best he can. He's a pretty diligent worker. He appeared pretty focused.''