In August, 2010, I summed up the second half of the Chiefs’ second preseason game with three words: Tyler Palko sucked. I doubt I could find more accurate words than those to sum up Monday night’s affairs. Palko did a lot to reaffirm exactly why it is he’s been bounced from team to team across multiple leagues. The results were hardly a surprise for me. I doubt they were for you either.
Would Ricky Stanzi have been better? I don’t know. I haven’t seen enough of him to make that assessment. I have, however, seen enough of Matt Cassel to make an assessment of him, and I’m confident in saying this: Cassel would not have been better. Say what you will about Tyler Palko. At least he tried to play quarterback.
Don’t get me wrong. I think the probability of Palko being named QBOTF is slim to none. He makes awkward, dangerous throws, never really plants his feet, and takes ages to work through his reads. That last part is key to my declaration, however. For all his shortcomings, Palko does actually stick with his progression rather than checking down to Dexter McCluster at the first sign of trouble. In 37 attempts, he took aim at his top three wideouts 23 times. Of the remaining 14, ten were intended for tight ends, two for reserve receivers, and one each for McCluster and Jackie Battle.
In other words, for a team that lacks a Marshall Faulk/Priest Holmes type soft-handed tailback, Palko’s pass distribution was just about textbook perfect.
I will now assess the remaining aspects of the Chiefs’ game plan that went as hoped Monday night:
I will now issue a prediction of the aspects of the Chiefs’ game plan that I believe will be successful in stopping the Steelers tomorrow night:
During Matt Cassel’s tenure as starter, this team was at times able to pull itself up by its bootstraps and overcome a tepid performance by its leader. In the absence of its two best players, Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry, they seem less and less capable of overcoming adversity. If one facet fires on all cylinders (Tamba Hali and Wallace Gilberry successfully harassing the opponent’s signal caller, for instance), it’s almost guaranteed that some other previously successful unit (Tyson Jackson and Jovan Belcher, for instance) will falter. There is enough talent on this roster to compete in a weak division, but without an effective player at the top spot, the remaining key playmakers must play at maximum potential nonstop.
I just don’t see it happening.
In the spirit of the season, I think it’s appropriate to close this week’s article with a declaration of thanksgiving. On Monday night, Bill Muir’s role appeared to be diminished to standing on the sideline and relaying plays from Haley to Palko. For this, I am thankful. Also adhering to the seasonal theme, the Chiefs signed Kyle Orton this week, which means we can spend the rest of the year enjoying leftovers from our neighbor’s house.
Is it too early to start talking about the draft?