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Given the performance of Tyler Palko in last night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, it should be no surprise if at some point this week, Kyle Orton is announced by Todd Haley as the new starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. After all, it's clear he's the only real option at this point with any credibility behind it.
Tyler Palko has been a two-game experiment that simply didn't work with five interceptions between two games that kept the Chiefs from taking the lead against the Patriots in the first half and put the Chiefs defense on the field for far too long in the Steelers game. Simply put, the Chiefs have to have a viable option to keep the chains moving since the Chiefs offense is, right now, the worst in football.
The Chiefs have not scored on 42 consecutive drives that have started from inside their own 20 yard line. That's a number that will lead to last place division finishes each and every time. Palko has not gotten the job done, and yet it's also clear the team isn't ready to throw Ricky Stanzi in there just yet since Palko keeps getting the reps no matter how bad things get.
That makes Orton the man in Kansas City. With a career ratio of 79 touchdowns to 55 interceptions, Orton is automatically the best quarterback on the roster. He'll bring a solid arm and veteran experience to the position that even the incumbent Matt Cassel looked less-than-stellar most of the time this season. If Orton can find a quick home with receivers like Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston and Jon Baldwin, it's possible the Chiefs might try to work something out.
As if the Kansas City Chiefs weren't already facing heavy odds against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday evening, according to a tweet from Nick Wright not only will newly acquired quarterback Kyle Orton not be suiting up for the Chiefs, but it appears now that second string quarterback Ricky Stanzi injured his ankle during practice this week.
That leave the burden squarely on Tyler Palko's shoulders against the Steelers. The 28-year old former U of Pittsburgh alum was 25-of-38 for 236 yards and threw three interceptions in his starting debut last Monday night on the road against the New England Patriots.
It now appears should something happen to Palko during the game, there is a possibility that Jerheme Urban would be pushed into duty at quarterback. A seven year veteran out of Trinity College in Texas, Urban is the emergency quarterback for the Chiefs.
With their backs against the wall, here is to hoping that the Chiefs will put up a good showing on Sunday evening and are able to get through the game without anything happening to Palko.
It's clear from his comments that Todd Haley believes the Kansas City Chiefs claiming Kyle Orton off of waivers was a "no-brainer" since it's his phrase of choice in a recent press conference describing the Orton acquisition. Certainly the Chiefs needed to add some sort of quarterback insurance with the loss of Matt Cassel for a year. Yet Haley says a player like Orton was shocking to him that he was even available, so the option to add him was something he felt the team had to do.
"We had the injury to Matt [Cassel], obviously," said Haley. "We had a couple days there just trying to see how the surgery went and seeing if there was any option there with keeping Matt available as the year went on. As that became clear that there wasn’t any, that the best thing was to go ahead and put Matt down, that left a void in the quarterback situation. At that point, Kyle’s name came available, which was a shock to me, I know. For us as an organization, a no-brainer to add depth first and foremost.
"Like I said yesterday, I have great confidence in Tyler [Palko]," he continued. "I really believe that he will continue to get better and give us a chance to win a big game this week. We had confidence in Tyler. That’s why we began the season the way we did. We had a number of opportunities to add people and didn’t, but now we were down to two, so from a depth standpoint, a no-brainer and ultimately, from helping to create and keep competition alive, like we like to do at all positions, again, a no-brainer for us.""
Let's play a simple game of "What if?" for a minute. What if the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football? What if it's Tyler Palko who clearly leads the charge, and not the defense or even another offensive player? Could the Kansas City Chiefs afford to not start Palko the next week against the Chicago Bears?
The assumption has been that Kyle Orton would come in and be the starter, and that's the best guess. After all, Orton is due a cool couple million-plus for a few weeks of work. That's not an amount you pay without any plans to watch that money at work. But if the Chiefs are playing for the division title and can beat one of the biggest powers of the AFC with Palko at quarterback, that creates an interesting quandary.
And let's be honest that despite Orton's better numbers, mechanics and experience, the Broncos already benched Orton twice with two regimes choosing another quarterback to start over him. Palko has been with the Chiefs for two seasons and knows the playbook, schemes, tendencies and teammates to a degree that Orton never will unless he signs for the long-term.
In short, this isn't a simple case of "Orton good, Palko bad" or a decision made by a Magic 8 Ball. This isn't just about raw skills or who is paid more. Instead, it's a complex decision about which quarterback is the better fit for this particular offense against the next six teams the Chiefs have to go against. If Palko shows that he's the man against one, then the Chiefs have a bigger decision to make than what some people might realize concerning the others.
The excuses are there if the Kansas City Chiefs wanted to use them. The team has been wrecked by injuries to its most important players. They’ve lost in some of the worst ways possible. Already in the AFC West basement, they’re a team that could easily back away and lick its wounds, hoping to heal in time to be competitive in 2012. Instead, the Chiefs made a move this week that signals the obvious — claiming Kyle Orton off of waivers from the Denver Broncos.
“I think it is obvious that KC picked up Orton to try to make something out of this season,” writes Martin Manley of the Kansas City Star. "If the team had stayed pat and say Palco [sic] were to stink up the joint, the criticism against Pioli would have been very sharp. And, the main reason why is because fans would have accused him of having no back-up plan if Cassel got injured. So, CYA is the #1 reason he’s here IMO.
“But, there is more to it than that,” he continues. “Even though it would take a miracle, KC still has a chance in this division. Why not go for it? Secondly, if Orton performs well, perhaps he can be either kept as a backup after this season or even a challenge to Cassel for the starter’s role. That would be a good position for KC to find itself in for a change.”
The Chiefs have taken their licks even from public perception this season. If the team has a chance to go for it, why do they sit on $30 million more than they could have spent on the salary cap? Certainly no one wants bad contracts just to spend them, but that much money is an incredible amount. Does that mean they’re not wanting to be competitive?
While you can question some moves, at the very least the Chiefs are showing signs of life down the wire and saying that they’re still interested in this season. If the team is still interested, then fans can still be interested. And as long as a team is selling hope, then Arrowhead will likely be full each and every time.
When your boss hires someone doing the same job as you, it's hard to feel good about your own performance and future in that position. That must be what Tyler Palko is feeling right now, but Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is insisting that the team's claiming of Kyle Orton off of waivers from the Denver Broncos has no bearing on his perception of Palko whatsoever.
"It doesn’t affect how I feel about Tyler or how our team feels about Tyler," says Haley. "I was very encouraged by Tyler in what he did."
Palko's stat line from the New England loss on Monday Night Football looks worse than how he really performed in the game (24 of 37 for 230 yards with 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions), especially in the first half. However it was also clear that Palko's arm often placed too much loft on the ball or cut a throw shorter than it needed to be. Perhaps that comes with time, but he also just might not have what it takes to be a long-term starter for the team.
It's hard to tell where the company line ends and where reality begins, but it's clear that Haley liked the moxie displayed by Palko on Monday and his handling with the press. Too bad it didn't turn out better for him in the end with the final results.
The Kansas City Chiefs apparently weren't the only ones interested in Kyle Orton, as Pro Football Talk is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears were also hoping he would slip to them by putting in a claim for the former Denver Broncos starting quarterback. The Bears were expected, albeit an intriguing destination, because of Orton's previous time there and the subsequent trade of him to Denver in the first place for current injured starter Jay Cutler. The Dallas Cowboys? That one came out of nowhere.
The Cowboys obviously have their starter in Tony Romo, no matter how maddening he might be from week to week. The Cowboys have a solid back-up in Jon Kitna, but Kitna is injured an unavailable for at least the upcoming week 12 game tomorrow against the Dolphins. Stephen McGee is now the back-up and perhaps having a veteran hand on the sidelines would help ease the conscience of head coach Jason Garrett and team owner Jerry Jones.
It's the very reason why most teams refuse to trade a star player, or even a moderately good one, to any team within their division. They don't want the ghost of the player to come back and haunt them in the end. Yet that's exactly what Mike Klis of the Denver Post says is possible with the Denver Broncos release of Kyle Orton -- because he was subsequently picked up by their rivals, the very ones that they play on the last week of the season.
"The game’s not over, though," writes Klis. "Not until the Chiefs play the Broncos in the season-finale, Jan. 1 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. If the Broncos win that game, they clean house on their gamble. The worst case scenario for the Broncos: Orton leads the Chiefs to victory when a Broncos win would put them in the AFC playoffs for the first time since 2005."
The Chiefs need some good fortune between now and then to make it relevant for them as well, while the Broncos are on a roll as hot as anyone in the AFC right now. Certainly the storylines that last week of the season will be boiling over with Kyle Orton versus his former squad.
I am going to disagree with my editor over here on SB Nation Kansas City and I will go as far to say that Scott Pioli nailed the deal for Kyle Orton. Well waiver wire deal I should say. The Chiefs fanbase needed something to get excited about and $2.5 million dollars to pick up Kyle Orton is a steal for this team right now.
I wasn't necessarily on-board with the idea before it happened, but thinking about it a little bit more has me realizing that this is something that will have people talking about the Chiefs for the next few weeks. Most fans don't like hearing that decisions like this could have business consequences and motives, but everything must be looked at from a business point of view as well as an on-the-field view. Chiefs fans have been pissed off for a few weeks now and since we learned that Tyler Palko isn't going to be the saviour, the thought of watching him start over the next few weeks wasn't something that any Chiefs fan was going to want to watch. We all would because it's our team, but we'd be Tivo'ing RGIII and Matt Barkley at the same time. Now we can watch Orton before we watch those Tivo'ed games.
The truth of the matter is that the Chiefs are a better team today than they were yesterday. We won't know which Kyle Orton we're going to see, whether it be the 2009 version who threw for 3800 yards and 21 touchdowns, or the 2011 version who was benched for a quarterback who completes two passes and beats our Chiefs.
This is a low-risk, medium-reward type of move and the only person that should feel uncomfortable about this move (other than the Bears) is Matt Cassel. If Orton doesn't play well, it'll just be "SEE, he's not the answer either!". But if he does play well it'll be "SEE how many QB's out there are better than Cassel". Either way, Cassel doesn't look good in this situation.
The Chiefs will also get to play a Chicago Bears team in a couple of weeks that won't be as good without Orton. It's still going to be a tough game but between that Bears game and the Denver Broncos game coming up on January 1st, there are two storylines that could have made an otherwise meaningless game have a little something extra that people will want to tune in to see.
Makes sense on the field because Orton is a much accurate down-the-field passer than Palko or Cassel. Our best three players on offense right now are all receivers, and this gives us a quarterback that has had success throwing the ball downfield and could use the weapons we have to do something positive.
If it makes sense on the field, which it does, and off the field, which it does, it's a perfect deal for the Chiefs. I believe too many people could be overthinking this deal and the bottom line is the Chiefs are better now than they were yesterday, Chiefs fans are more excited than they were yesterday. More people will watch the Chiefs for the rest of the year because of what they did today, and Chiefs fans have reason to be more optimistic about tomorrow. Orton may not be Tom Brady, but he's not Tyler Palko either.
I have to admit that this is a move that makes no sense to me. Yet I also admit that I’m limited in my own knowledge and perspective and haven’t earned the right to sit in any general manager’s chair. That said, the Kansas City Chiefs’ claim of former Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton makes absolutely no sense to me — not because he’s not a better option than what the Chiefs have in house. Rather it’s the timing of it all that’s baffling.
In July, Kyle Orton was very available in a trade, and the Miami Dolphins had a deal that reportedly fell apart. In mid-October, Orton was dangled to league execs across the NFL for a song — a reported 7th round conditional draft choice. In other words, Orton could have been had for a bag of balls. No one moved, not even the Chiefs. Every single one of the teams that were interested today in Orton could have added him weeks ago, creating much needed depth at a position of need, but now it’s too late. Except for the Chiefs.
But I also believe it’s too late even for the Chiefs. That’s not a death knell or pessimistic view as much as it is a reality check. Consider this: if the Chiefs didn’t like what they had at back-up quarterback, they could have added Orton for next to nothing over four weeks ago. That’s four weeks that Orton could have been in-house going over plays. That’s four weeks that Orton would have been around his new teammates. That’s four weeks that he would have even provided competition and support for Matt Cassel. And now that Cassel is out for the season, it would have provided a seamless transition to the obvious next starter.
Scott Pioli has been sitting on $30 million all season long, failing to spend it in the off-season and leaving the Chiefs perilously thin in several areas. When the secondary started to suffer injuries, suddenly the Chiefs are playing Sabby Piscitelli and Donald Washington in situations that matter. The offensive line didn’t work last season on the outside, but somehow the Chiefs have the same tackles for yet another season. And now the Chiefs have been hurting because of the back-up quarterback scenario.
Even if Orton comes in on time, is he going to be ready to face the Steelers on Sunday night? Perhaps he can, but it’s also possible the team will have to roll with Palko for one more week before Orton is up to speed. None of these questions would have even been asked if the Chiefs would have had a vision for getting Orton in the first place. Back then, the Chiefs were in first place. In a sport where every single game counts so much, chances cannot be taken where a team stalls for two weeks while sorting out their quarterback scenario.
The bottom line is that to strike on Orton now makes no sense if you weren’t willing to strike on Orton then. It’s the difference between 7-9 and 9-7 and if you think that two game swing isn’t a big deal, wait until you see what will likely be the winning record in the AFC West this year. The timing of this Orton acquisition seems incredibly odd, and here’s hoping it won’t be a case of too little, too late.
Now that Kyle Orton is no longer a member of the Denver Broncos, it didn’t take long for the current Broncos starting quarterback to comment on his former teammate. And now that Orton will the possible (and probable) new starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs once he’s settled in, Tim Tebow had some intriguing words for his future competition.
“Good for him,” Tebow told the Associated Press. “Congratulations to him. That will be fun to play him the last game of the year,” Tebow said after learning that Orton had been claimed by Kansas City. “Obviously he knows (Denver’s offense) pretty well, so he could probably give away a few things, but I think we’ll be OK.”
That will be an interesting game. If Orton can help turn around the Chiefs fortunes, then the game against Denver will likely help decide positioning within the AFC West. Orton knows Denver well and will be able to help in multiple ways both that week and on game day. Tebow vs. Orton will be a very compelling storyline, making the Chiefs season that much more interesting. Now the only hope is that the game will be relevant for KC’s playoff hopes.
The Kansas City Chiefs have signed former Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton off of waivers Wednesday.
What will Kyle Orton do if the Kansas City Chiefs end up submitting a waiver claim on him? How will he react if the Washington Redskins grab him? The proposed plan according to Pro Football Talk is that the former Denver Broncos quarterback helped orchestrate his release so he could take over for Jay Cutler after he was injured. Since then, he’s been trying to spread the word for other quarterback needy teams, like those aforementioned, to stay away from him.
“Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that Orton’s agent pushed for the release after they saw Cutler needed surgery on his thumb.Orton reportedly has “let it be known” that the Bears are one of the teams he’d like to play for. We wouldn’t be surprised if Orton’s agent got an indication on Sunday from the Bears that the interest was mutual.”
Orton was replaced earlier this year by Tim Tebow and it’s clear that the ship for Orton has sailed in Denver. Interestingly enough, Orton would replace the very quarterback that the Bears wanted in the first place, trading Orton to the Broncos so that they could replace him with Cutler. If Orton ended up with the Bears and leading them to the playoffs, it would certainly make for a dynamic story.
The list is a long one with reporters from Fox Sports, Yahoo! and ESPN all agreeing that the Kansas City Chiefs are among the principal players for Kyle Orton, the recently released quarterback of the Denver Broncos who will know today at 3pm CT which team has claimed him. While a team will only have Orton for six games of the 2011 regular season, it’s those games that could put a team like the Chiefs over the top in the AFC West.
Consider that the Chiefs have the worst part of their schedule coming up — starting with Sunday’s game against the Steelers — the Chiefs could use a veteran hand at quarterback to help right the offense after managing only three points on Monday Night Football against the Patriots. Orton could also help against the divisional contests left against the Raiders and Broncos in the final two weeks of the season.
Schefter reports, “Teams to watch with waiver claims before Bears: Redskins, Dolphins, Chiefs. Any could decide to put in a waiver claim for Kyle Orton.”
According to Evan Silva, John Clayton says Kyle Orton is sending negative signals to the Kansas City Chiefs who might hold the key to the waiver claim, the results of which are coming up later this afternoon. The Broncos released the quarterback yesterday and the Chiefs are among the teams that several NFL writers feel will put in a claim. As Silva reports, “What Orton’s trying to do is get word to KC to stay off…maybe sit out the rest of the season & not play & not report to Chiefs.”
Of course, this is secondhand information and there’s simply no way to know for sure. Teams circulate bad rumors to throw people off the trail and agents do the same. If Orton is hoping to fall to a particular team, then it could be true that they want to keep him away from the Chiefs in the hopes of uniting him in Chicago again or with Mike Shanahan in Washington. Or perhaps there’s a contender interested but he has to slip through.
Then again, there’s no reason to believe the Chiefs are interested in the first place besides the fact that they are still close to the division lead and lost their quarterback for the season. Todd Haley spoke positively of Tyler Palko and they don’t even know what Ricky Stanzi can do. It’s hard to say whether or not the Chiefs would pick up Orton.
The Kansas City Chiefs are among the teams rumored to be interested in Kyle Orton and many — from Chris Mortensen to Jay Glazer to Steve Wyche — have mentioned that the Chiefs are prime targets to consider the former Broncos quarterback who was released yesterday. Add Bill Williamson to the mix of those who believe Orton is intriguing if the Chiefs are still making a run at the AFC West.
“If the 4-6 Chiefs still think they can make a run at the playoffs,” he writes, “they might — particularly given that they have the toughest remaining schedule in the league — be inclined to turn the offense over to Orton rather than stick with the inexperienced Tyler Palko, who made his first NFL start in the Chiefs’ 34-3 loss at New England on Monday night. Starter Matt Cassel is out for the season with a broken hand. Palko’s backup is rookie Ricky Stanzi. … Still, there is no guarantee Kansas City will consider Orton. It could be interested in seeing what Palko — and maybe even Stanzi — can do with Cassel out. Still, if the Chiefs want a veteran, Orton presents an interesting option.”
Where will Kyle Orton land? In a slow news day in the middle of a holiday week, it’s clear that Orton’s recent release by the Denver Broncos is the hot media item of the day along with Urban Meyer’s reported deal that’s not a deal. That said, there are several teams listed as possibilities — from the Bears to the Texans. Yet that list also includes the Kansas City Chiefs.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN is the latest to weigh in saying that the Chiefs make a plausible destination, citing on Twitter that there are some similarities to the success he had under Josh McDaniels in place in Kansas City. Orton would certainly represent a step up over Tyler Palko and Ricky Stanzi, who has yet to even take a snap in a regular season game. The Chiefs seem to have a very patient approach to bringing Stanzi along.
The ones who would benefit most from the transaction would be the Chiefs receivers who would suddenly have an experienced man under center again and that bodes well for the Chiefs downfield attack with Steve Breaston, Jon Baldwin and Dwayne Bowe. There’s no telling what will happen as close to the vest as the Chiefs like to keep things, but it’s interesting that so many are speaking about the team’s interest.
If you believe the maxim that where’s there smoke there’s fire, then you might want to pay attention to the idea that the Kansas City Chiefs could make a claim for Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton, who was placed on waivers yesterday. The Chiefs are rather high up the pecking order since they are 4-6 on the season, so if the Chiefs are interested, they stand a very good chance of getting him.
That said, Jay Glazer is the latest reporting that the Chiefs are indeed interested along with the Chicago Bears of all places. For those who remember, it was Orton they shipped to Denver to land Jay Cutler, who is now out for at last most of the regular season with a broken thumb.
If the Chiefs land Orton, it’s likely that Palko will still start on Sunday since the transition to a new scheme and team might be too difficult, even if there are similarities in the playbook. The Chiefs need an unexpected win this weekend against the Steelers to keep things close in the division.
If Michael Fabiano is to be believed, then the Kansas City Chiefs might really be considering a move for Kyle Orton to join the stable of quarterbacks already on the roster with Tyler Palko and Ricky Stanzi. If that’s true, it signals a few things, both good and bad.
Fabiano writes on Twitter, “The Chiefs are mulling over a decision on whether to put in a claim for Kyle Orton, per @wyche89. For Dwayne Bowe’s sake, let’s hope it happens.” That Wyche is Steve Wyche, NFL.com reporter, who apparently believes the Chiefs are seriously considering this.
If this is true, there are two good components to this. First of all, Orton would provide an immediate upgrade over any current quarterback on the Chiefs roster. We’ve already written about the reasons why, so make sure to check out that column. But suffice to say, Tyler Palko’s gutsy play was better than anyone believed it would be on Monday night against the Pats, but it won’t win the AFC West title.
That’s the other good thing. Signing Orton would mean the Chiefs are still going all in on a season where they have every reason to surrender. The injuries they’ve endured are tremendous and the roster holes they need to fill are very apparent. Yet the Chiefs are closer to the division lead than they should be, so why not go for it?
Then again, signing Orton only complicates the long-term quarterback picture. Do they have a future starter in Ricky Stanzi? Can Palko improve on an already strong showing? The Chiefs would still have question marks if they fail to let those guys play.
The Kansas City Chiefs, with a record of 4-6 at the bottom of the AFC West, are among the first eight teams with a chance to submit a waiver claim for Kyle Orton now that the former Denver Bronco quarterback has been released. While we’ve previously argued that the idea simply is not happening, that doesn’t mean that we’re right. In fact, NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington says the Chiefs are among the teams that make the most sense.
“Even at 4-6, the Chiefs aren’t necessarily out of the hunt in the bizarre land of the AFC West,” says Darlington. “Sure, the Raiders have the momentum. Yes, Tim Tebow has made it clear you shouldn’t doubt him, either. But Kansas City is only two wins from the top, and Tyler Palko didn’t exactly look like the guy to orchestrate the surge without a healthy Matt Cassel. For a six-week lease? Orton seems worth it.”
The Chiefs are definitely within striking distance of the division and were just in first place a few weeks ago, so that’s a very valid point. Orton would be a step up for sure above Palko and Stanzi on paper, but that’s denying schemes and systems and the Raiders saw the pains of throwing a new guy into a game when Carson Palmer threw three second half interceptions against the Chiefs.
The investment to acclimate Orton would simply take too much time for it to make much sense to the Chiefs.
Kyle Orton was recently waived by the Denver Broncos and his name has already been bandied about at a time when several teams have seen their starting quarterback go down. Matt Schaub is lost for the Texans. Jay Cutler is gone for the Bears. The Chiefs placed Matt Cassel on Injured Reserve. So it’s no surprise to see several NFL writers putting each of those teams in the derby to sign Orton as a replacement. But there’s no chance the Chiefs bite on that one.
The Chiefs played their hand on Sunday and that means that no other quarterback is going to enter their NFL roster, save for another injury to Tyler Palko or Ricky Stanzi. Palko was given every chance to impress against the Patriots on Monday Night Football and both the head coach and players spoke out that they liked what they saw. Not only that but the rookie fifth rounder Stanzi had to sit the whole game even with the Chiefs down by 31 at the end. That’s because the Chiefs are playing the guys they’ve got.
Even if they end up passing on Palko, then Stanzi will be given the rest of the season’s reps. If anything, the Chiefs have to go into the off-season knowing exactly what each guy brings to the table: Cassel, Palko and Stanzi. If they’re armed with a high draft pick or the $30 million Uncle Scrooge is holding in the vault, then they have to know when and where to invest those assets. Bringing in Orton only muddies a picture that actually has a very clear plan to it.
The Chiefs haven’t had a season like they wanted and if they had a 6-4 record and could switch places with the Raiders, then perhaps a name like Orton should warrant serious consideration. But it’s clear the Chiefs quarterback position is not what it should be for a team with so much talent all over the field. Once players return from injury and another draft class comes in, the Chiefs will become favorites to take the AFC West again next fall. The Chiefs just have to figure out who will take them there.
Kyle Orton has already been dangled in front of the NFL and no one bit. Now it will be interesting to see if anyone likes the bait now.
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