Todd Haley Insists Tyler Palko Is Still Chiefs Starter Over Kyle Orton

The Steelers are the next primetime, top-notch opponent on the Kansas City Chiefs schedule.

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Troy Polamalu Injury Update: Steelers Safety Refuses To Say He Received Concussion Against Chiefs

Last Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, it was clear that Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu suffered some sort of head injury. Given his incredible history, which we’ve discussed at length here, it’s amazing the team isn’t being more up front about his condition and looking out for his long-term interests. That’s exaclty what Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio properly brings to light in a recent column.

He writes, “Perhaps the Steelers have avoided the “C” word in order to keep a truly independent neurologist out of the team’s and the player’s business. Or maybe the goal is to subtly influence players to try to conceal their “concussion-like symptoms” whenever and wherever possible, as part of facing down the demons inherent to the sport.”

Polamalu explains himself to Florio and says he’s willing to face his fears:

“That’s the fear, I think, that any player faces, and that’s the fear that anybody, any individual faces — overcoming any certain fears of being a coward, you know, or letting your teammates down or turning down a hit,” Polamalu said regarding whether he’s concerned about a hit to the head that could cause long-term damage. “That’s the beautiful thing about sports, is these fears are right in your face and it’s pretty obvious if you turn them down or not. I have the fear. No question about it. But I’m willing to fight it, for sure.”

The NFL must do a better job in educating their current players by having former players appear in locker rooms or socialize in some format so that players know what they are risking for the sake of the team or winning or whatever other platitude the head coach is yelling about. In a matter of a few years, they might not be able to remember what it was they were fighting for in the first place.


Tyler Palko Is 'Not Cut Out To Be A Starting NFL Quarterback' For Chiefs

Tyler Palko has left a lot of people scratching their heads. It's obvious Dwayne Bowe didn't know what to make of the last throw that did the Chiefs in on Monday Night -- a throw that ended up in the hands of the Steelers for the third interception on Palko for the night. It was also the play that killed the potential game-winning drive. So goes the Chiefs with Palko under center.

Perhaps that's unfair, but everyone besides Todd Haley seems to see that Palko just isn't cut out to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Comments on our own Twitter feed wonder whether the Chiefs head coach was watching the same game as the rest of us. Pro Football Focus was wondering the same thing, as they described Palko's performance on Sunday night as the type that leaves you "dumbfounded."

Sometimes a quarterback makes a throw so bad that you have to watch it over and over again to try and figure out what he’s doing. Then after telling yourself you’ve figured it out, you just watch it again dumbfounded. That was the Tyler Palko (-2.9) interception with 13:29 to go in Q2 that capped the impressive hat trick of three snaps, three turnovers. He got marginally better from there (because he couldn’t get any worse), though he did take a sack because he needless held onto the ball before throwing the game clinching interception.

The interesting thing about Palko is he’s the kind of player that can beat himself – you don’t need to get overly creative, just takeaway space on the field. All three of his interceptions came when the Steelers opted against blitzing, and two of them were when he faced no pressure at all. Needless to say he is not cut out to be a starting NFL QB.

This week, Kyle Orton should take the reins for good despite Haley's attempts to convince the media otherwise. He's simply much more talented than Palko and should get the chance to get the Chiefs offense moving.


AFC West Standings: Broncos, Chargers Trade Fortunes In Division Race

Former lost cause Denver has found life with Tim Tebow, while the Chargers and Chiefs are both likely to miss the playoffs.


Todd Haley Insists Tyler Palko Is Still Chiefs Starter Over Kyle Orton

The question came directly and Todd Haley fired right back. The assumption that Kyle Orton will waltz right into the Kansas City Chiefs starting quarterback role given enough time on the roster is a false one, at least if you take the Chiefs head coach at face value. He was adamant in his post-game comments after the 13-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that Palko was still his man.

“No,” Haley said when asked if Orton would be prepped to be the starter next Sunday. “I think we have a much better chance this week to compete and, like I said, Tyler’s the starter. But if we feel there’s somebody that gives us a better chance to win, that’s the guideline we generally follow. I can’t really answer any of that other than we need to get back to work. We can’t let this disappointing loss drag us down.”

It’s hard to imagine that Haley would really let that happen, however. No matter how much Haley might personally like Palko, the reality is that he has six turnovers in his first two starts and cost the Chiefs the game with poor quarterback play. The offense has stalled in two straight games and they are paying Orton a couple million to do something. Expect Orton to start no matter what Haley says at this point.


Mike Lombardi Says Chiefs Should Have Started Kyle Orton Despite Short Week Against Steelers

There’s no need to read between the lines when reading Mike Lombardi’s thoughts on the Sunday Night Football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs. He’s up front about his hatred of the Chiefs offense from last night and says there was simply no reason that the Chiefs should be starting Tyler Palko.

“I hated watching the Chiefs play on offense Sunday night, especially QB Tyler Palko. He is clearly overwhelmed by being the starter. The Chiefs played their hearts out against the Steelers, flying around the ball, and all they needed was a little help from Palko and they could have earned the upset.”

To further frustrate Lombardi, the NFL writer notes that the Chiefs had another option and decided not to use him in Kyle Orton. Even though the team had just acquired him, Lombardi still argues for his usage.

“I cannot understand why the Chiefs would claim Kyle Orton and not require him to report until Friday. After watching Palko play in New England, the Chiefs should have instantly made Orton the starter as soon as the claim went in. I realize Orton would not have known the offense, but anything would have been better than having Palko play another week.”


Troy Polamalu Injury Update: Possible Concussion Leaves Steelers With Major Decision

The word on Troy Polamalu was not good last night. As the Pittsburgh Steelers’ star defender went down early in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs, it was clear that he was down because of a head injury and later Michelle Tafoya of Sunday Night Football’s crew reported that concussion-like symptoms were keeping him out of the game. Given the NFL’s stance on head injuries coming into this year, it was no surprise that they kept Polamalu out the rest of the game.

But this also does not bode well for the future. Polamalu was already removed from a game just one month ago for the same thing (against the Jaguars in October) and this is a continual issue with Polamalu. This article back in 2008 references his seventh career concussion — a startling number for any person or player, let alone someone who had so many in such a short amount of time. He’s already had two possible concussions this year. How many is simply too many?

The Steelers are definitely not the same without Polamalu, and he’s one of the best safeties in the NFL. There’s no denying his on-field impact and his spirit of of the field that makes him such a popular player. But at some point, multiple concussions and head injuries will make life after the NFL difficult to enjoy. There’s a major decision ahead for both the player and the team at this point.


Steelers Vs. Chiefs Final Score: Pittsburgh Wins Close Battle Over Kansas City's Defense

The Pittsburgh Steelers did what they had to do tonight against the Kansas City Chiefs, but they didn’t do much more than that in tonight’s 13-9 win over the home team. While Tyler Palko threw another three interceptions, the Chiefs defense held the Steelers close all game and kept Ben Roethlisberger and company from running away with a game that they frankly should have.

The primary problem for the Chiefs was under center, since Palko simply couldn’t sustain a drive all game. From an early interception by Ike Taylor to a late one that killed a potential game-winning drive, the Chiefs need Kyle Orton’s veteran presence quicker than they can get it.

Romeo Crennel clearly had his players ready for tonight’s game. They were on the field for 33 minutes and it seems like a great majority of the first half, yet the held the Steelers to a 3.9 rushing average on the night. Roethlisberger was held to a rather pedestrian 21 of 31 for 193 yards and 1 touchdown and 1 interception apiece.

The Chiefs move on to play the Bears next week while the Steelers must face the Bengals in a big divisional game for the AFC North.


Troy Polamalu Injury Update: Concussion Takes Steelers Safety Out For Game

Michelle Tafoya is confirming Al Michaels’ belief that Troy Polamalu is out for the game after suffering a head injury. The injury turned out, in fact, to be a concussion — a scary proposition for a player who has suffered a number of those in his career. The Pittsburgh Steelers will undoubtedly play it safely with their star defender going forward — far beyond tonight’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Steelers are currently up 13-6 and are driving again, so it’s clear the team is doing just fine defensively without Polamalu. The Chiefs had three first quarter turnovers and the Chiefs offense cannot get anything going — so much so that starting quarterback Tyler Palko is being booed for each new series that he goes out with the offense on.

For the year, Polamalu has 62 tackles and 1 sack to go with 7 passes defended. We will keep you posted on any further word on Polamalu’s condition.


Troy Polamalu Injury Update: Steelers Safety Is 'Not Coming Back Tonight' According To Al Michaels

The sideline report on tonight’s Sunday Night Football game is that Troy Polamalu is still standing on the Pittsburgh Steelers sidelines with no action or official word on his injury. That said, Michelle Tafoya added that he’s going to be out for at least a while. Al Michaels responded by saying rather bluntly that there’s no way the talented Pro Bowl safety is going to return to tonight’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Obviously the Steelers don’t need Polamalu much on a night like tonight with three turnovers already by the Chiefs offense. That’s good since the team needs to take any head injury very seriously — even without Polamalu’s concussion history. They can ill afford a long-term injury and life after football ultimately needs to be thought about.

The Steelers secondary is not likely to be challenged much tonight given that Tyler Palko continues to be the quarterback for the Chiefs. Despite the presence of receivers like Dwayne Bowe, the deep ball is just not going to come into play tonight unless the team can begin to build a drive and stop the turnovers.


VIDEO: Ike Taylor Of Steelers Intercepts Chiefs QB Tyler Palko

Ike Taylor was the first person to intercept Tyler Palko this evening but it would not be the last, and that's unfortunate for the Chiefs against the Steelers on this evening at Arrowhead Stadium. You can catch the video below of the second of three (so far) of the Chiefs' turnovers.


VIDEO: Tamba Hali Forces Mewelde Moore Fumble Near Goal Line

Tamba Hali has been the primary defensive force for the Kansas City Chiefs this season, and his presence has already made itself known early in tonight's Sunday Night Football game on NBC against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's the reason the team signed him to a giant extension in the off-season and now Mewelde Moore knows first-hand just how valuable he can be. Hali came in on the Pittsburgh running back and forced a fumble as he was heading toward a likely touchdown and knocked the fumble loose. The Chiefs recovered in the end zone and took over on the 20-yard line. Here's the video below:


VIDEO: Troy Polamalu Injury Comes When Tackling Chiefs Steve Maneri

The Pittsburgh Steelers have several defensive heroes, but Troy Polamalu might be the most famous of them all. Unfortunately with his history of concussions, the injury he suffered early in the first quarter of tonight's game against the Kansas City Chiefs has to be taken very seriously. In trying to tackle Steve Maneri, Polamalu had another possible concussion -- or at least got shaken up -- and will have to be checked out on the sidelines. Here's the video below:


Kyle Orton And Ricky Stanzi Might Not Be Available For Chiefs Against Steelers

It’s bad enough when a team is thin at the quarterback position because they failed to acquire decent enough depth on the roster. It’s another level when there’s simply no option available. Nick Wright is reporting that the Kansas City Chiefs might be facing the latter scenario with injuries and issues with their own quarterbacks other than Tyler Palko.

Wright notes that Ricky Stanzi hurt his ankle earlier this week in practice and that Kyle Orton isn’t even going to suit up tonight. Given the injury to Matt Cassel, that leaves Tyler Palko as the lone quarterback option against a Steelers defense that will blitz early and often.

That said, it’s hard to imagine that Stanzi wouldn’t take the ball under center if the team needed him to and just work with a play set and formation that would allow him to minimize movement on the ankle. Unless he’s completely debilitated, there’s no way the Chiefs come into Arrowhead tonight with just one quarterback available.


Chiefs Vs. Steelers: Rodney Hudson Gets Ready To Make First Career Start

Ryan Lilja is out for the Kansas City Chiefs next game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. And while the cripples the team's depth along the line, it also gives a rookie his first chance to start. Rodney Hudson, the Chiefs' second round choice in this year's NFL Draft, will make his first start on a line that's becoming increasingly younger when the team faces the vaunted Steelers defense.

Todd Haley spoke of the Florida State star this week when discussing the team's upcoming game, and said he has great confidence in Rodney.

"The fact that he got to play a little bit last week I think was a big thing," said Haley. "He went in and he did a good job for the snaps that he was in. That helps a bunch, just from the standpoint of just having confidence. We had a bunch of confidence in Rodney up until that point, but again, much like Tyler, you don’t know until they’re actually in there. I and we have great confidence in Rodney and his ability to come in and step in for Ryan [Lilja], and for us to be able to do the things necessary that we feel that we need to do to have a chance to win offensively. He’s a versatile guy that didn’t lose his cool at all last week and he’s prepared hard this week. I’ve got great confidence in Rodney that he’ll step in and be able to allow us to keep moving forward."

As to where he will play ultimately, Haley spoke of his experience at both guard and center.

"He’s really been split. In our desire to continue to develop another center – obviously he’s our second center – but in our desire to try to get another guy going, we’ve kept him out of guard a bunch to try to give reps to a couple of the other guys to work on the center position, so he’s been mixed and that’s really one of his strengths. We had him getting a bunch of snaps last week for Casey [Wiegmann] because he had been beat up a little bit and we didn’t know exactly how that was going to go. Rodney has been probably evenly split here through the time that he’s been here at center and both guards."


Chiefs Vs. Steelers: Todd Haley Says Continuity, Drafting Well Are Key To Pittsburgh's Long-Term Success

The distance between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers is not just about the 10.5 point spread for Sunday night’s betting line. Nor is it about the difference in record. Instead, it’s about years of playing playoff-caliber football and establishing a winning tradition — things that the Steelers know quite a bit about. It’s also where the Chiefs are hoping to build toward.

A handful of NFL teams seem to avoid the roller coaster that parity provides in order to become a fixture at the top of the division. For the last decade, the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts among others have been the NFL’s gold standard and the Steelers certainly have been one of those teams. The Chiefs, on the other hand, are like most teams who are quite excited to make the playoffs and have dreams of just expecting to do so.

Todd Haley, the Chiefs’ head coach, spoke to that continuity of the Steelers in his press conference yesterday, giving the reasons why Pittsburgh enjoys the continued success that they do.

“I think for them, again, we’ve got enough things for us to be worried about," he said at Friday’s press conference. "But at the same time, we are playing the Steelers, so I think it starts at the top there with the Rooney family, just phenomenal, phenomenal people and family and owners and have been and that’s given them great continuity from the top. I think they’ve generally just stuck with their philosophy of the way that they’re doing things. Again, I was privy to a lot of that growing up. My father was involved. They’ve stuck to their guns and stayed the course with how they want to do things, and that is finding good football players and then having good coaches that maximize those players’ abilities and use them in the way that they need to be used or the way that they see them best used.

“They’ve been able to build on that and understand that winning football games is the No. 1 priority and everything else generally takes care of itself,” he continued. "They’ve proven that here through a bunch of years, and just great continuity throughout the team, and that includes when guys come and go. They do a good job developing young players who step in and play.”


Chiefs Vs. Steelers: Kansas City Injury Report Includes Ryan Lilja, Glenn Dorsey

The Kansas City Chiefs can ill afford much more in the way of injuries in a season that’s claimed season-ending effects on the likes of Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel, Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki and Brandon Siler. Luckily the injury report for the Sunday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers features a shorter list than what other teams are dealing with. While there are definitely players hurting (it’s the week to week grind of the NFL, after all), it could be worse.

Glenn Dorsey heads the list of those injured, but since he’s practicing it seems the defensive end will return to the field this week. Ryan Lilja, however, might not. The guard has been limited this week and losing him along the line brings Rodney Hudson and Jon Asamoah out as the Chiefs starters — a sign of things to come, most likely, given the high draft investment and youth involved.

Here’s this week’s report:

DID NOT PRACTICE: Guard Ryan Lilja (head, out)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE: Safety Jon McGraw (knee, questionable), defensive end Glenn Dorsey (knee, questionable) and linebacker Demorrio Williams (groin, questionable)


Steelers Vs. Chiefs: Pittsburgh Injury Report Includes Troy Polamalu, James Harrison

If you’re a Kansas City Chiefs fan, then you’re likely pretty pleased with the names on the Pittsburgh Steelers injury list released yesterday. That’s because some of the team’s biggest impact players are on it with various bumps and bruises. However, it’s likely that most of them will still play.

Despite Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison being listed on the report, both are likely to play after practicing this week (Harrison is said to be likely despite not practicing). LaMarr Woodley, however, is going to be out for his third consecutive game and the Steelers have certainly missed his pass rushing ability (he already has 9 sacks on the year). Still the Steelers are loaded among their linebacking corps.

Here’s the full report:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE: Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (calf, questionable).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE: Wide receiver Arnaz Battle (hamstring, questionable), linebacker James Harrison (back, probable), linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring, questionable).

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE: Safety Troy Polamalu (ribs, probable), quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (right thumb, probable), wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (knee, probable).


Dwayne Bowe Week 12 Fantasy Update

As the Kansas City Chiefs face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football on NBC, it’s clear they’re going to need their impact players to actually make an impact. There’s no one better for the Chiefs to turn to than Dwayne Bowe, their Pro Bowl receiver who consistently has a nose for the end zone. That said, Numberfire predicts that Bowe will have a strong fantasy day as well with 8.24 overall points.

Bowe has another great season in the works thus far in 2011 with 48 catches for 750 yards and 4 touchdowns. That last number is a far cry from leading the NFL last season in the same category but it’s also clear that the Kansas City offense is far less dynamic without Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki available. Add in the fact that the Kansas City quarterback situation is up in the air with Matt Cassel’s injury and subsequent Kyle Orton pick-up and you have a situation that’s hard to gauge.

Our prediction for Dwayne Bowe: 10 catches for 113 yards and 1 touchdown.


Steve Breaston Week 12 Fantasy Update

Steve Breaston has been one of the stronger free agent signings of the NFL season and certainly the best offseason acquisition for the Kansas City Chiefs. That said, his fantasy numbers aren’t looking too hot for this week if you’re going by the Numberfire projections. That’s because the fantasy scouting service is offering only 2 catches for 30+ yards this week for the Chiefs receiver. Maybe that’s what a team gets when facing the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.

Breaston had 6 catches for 73 yards last week with Tyler Palko under center, so it’s clear that even a change in quarterbacks didn’t change his overall productivity. Breaston is becoming increasingly at ease in the overall Kansas City offense, so his numbers should be much higher than what Numberfire is giving him. On the season, Breaston has 39 catches for 556 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Our prediction for Steve Breaston against the Steelers: 5 catches for 61 yards and 1 touchdown.


Dexter McCluster Week 12 Fantasy Update

Over the last two weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs have featured Dexter McCluster more and more in the backfield next to Jackie Battle and Thomas Jones. And for a team in need of an offensive spark, the former second round pick is finally starting to show the signs of life the team was hoping for when they drafted the Ole Miss product.

So what should you expect this week for fantasy football? Numberfire‘s projections are that McCluster will earn 4 carries for 23 yards and another 2 receptions for 18 yards giving him 5+ fantasy points on the day. Those are rather low numbers since he’s averaged 45 yards a game rushing the last two weeks, but with a player like McCluster, who is often a check down option, it’s hard to tell just where to put him.

For the year, McCluster has 21 receptions for 209 yards and 72 rushes for 336 yards. He has yet to score a touchdown in any capacity in 2011.


Jackie Battle Week 12 Fantasy Update

The Kansas City Chiefs host the Pittsburgh Steelers on primetime TV once again this week, and once again the predictions aren’t good for Chiefs fans. Nearly every single prediction favors the Steelers this week and the vaunted Steelers defense will also play a role in limiting Chiefs in fantasy football as well. All in all, this should be a poor week for both the real Chiefs results and fantasy players.

Jackie Battle is the Chiefs starter at running back now that Jamaal Charles has been lost for the year but after some promising games, Battle hasn’t exactly lit up the fantasy stats. Numberfire’s predictions for this week aren’t good either, as they have Battle gaining 6 carries for 22 yards and that’s it. Perhaps that’s a sign the Chiefs will fall behind early and thus will go to their passing game. Perhaps it means that they believe Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster will eat some of his potential productivity. The bottom line is that Jackie Battle doesn’t warrant a starting spot.

Our prediction for Jackie Battle’s final line: 14 carries for 53 yards.


Chiefs Vs. Steelers: Pittsburgh's Jason Worilds Praises Former Teammate Brandon Flowers

It’s an interesting anecdote coming out of the upcoming Sunday Night Football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs — one that brings two former teammates together in Jason Worilds of the Steelers and Brandon Flowers of the Chiefs. Both went to Virginia Tech, and Worilds says that Flowers is only doing at the NFL level what he was already doing against collegiate opponents.

“I know Brandon well,” he told the Beaver County Times. “We played together at Virginia Tech for two years. He’s an exceptional player, probably one of the most under-rated corners in the league. In college, he used to line up on the other teams best receiver week in and week out and make him null and void.”

So far this season, Flowers has already earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week once. He has 42 tackles and 4 interceptions so far in 2011, including one for a touchdown. He also has 15 passes defended.


Chiefs Vs. Steelers: Kansas City Won Last Meeting With Overtime Win In 2009

The last time the Kansas City Chiefs faced the Pittsburgh Steelers was a memorable one for the Chiefs that season. In the midst of a long 2009 season, one sign of life was the overtime win for the Chiefs that included a 22-yard game-winning field goal for then-rookie Ryan Succop. The Chiefs overcame a 10 point deficit from the first half to tie the game and take things to overtime in the first place, and the Chiefs showed a resiliency in that game that foreshadowed a great 2010 season to come.

Now they hope for more of the same magic this week against the Steelers on Sunday night. The Chiefs were destroyed on Monday Night Football 34-3 against the New England Patriots and it’s clear that new starter Tyler Palko is going to need more reps in practice in order to fully command this offense. The Chiefs were forced to rely on trick plays to keep things close in the first half, and then there were little to no halftime adjustments made and the Patriots ran away with it.

The Chiefs are 4-6 and need a win to stay within two games of the division lead.


Kansas City Chiefs Schedule Update: Steelers Come To Arrowhead Next

The Kansas City Chiefs are in the midst of the five-game grueling gauntlet in their schedule and the results were predictably poor last night. The game last night against the Patriots was only part one of five with the next being a shorter week before facing the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. And in case you think Arrowhead might play a part, you apparently missed the Dolphins and Broncos losses. Simply put, this is going to be a frustrating stretch for both the Chiefs and Chiefs fans.

The Chiefs are now 4-6 and face four more tough games before leveling out against two more divisional opponents. If the Chiefs can win two of the next four, they have a chance to finish even.

Chiefs Schedule

Buffalo Sun 09/11 L 7 - 41
@ Detroit Sun 09/18 L 3 - 48
@ San Diego Sun 09/25 L 17 - 20
Minnesota Sun 10/02 W 22 - 17
@ Indianapolis Sun 10/09 W 28 - 24
@ Oakland Sun 10/23 W 28 - 0
San Diego Mon 10/31 W 23 - 20
Miami Sun 11/06 L 3 - 31
Denver Sun 11/13 L 10 - 17
@ New England Mon 11/21 L 3 - 34
Pittsburgh Sun 11/27 7:20 PM CST
@ Chicago Sun 12/04 12:00 PM CST
@ New York Jets Sun 12/11 12:00 PM CST
Green Bay Sun 12/18 12:00 PM CST
Oakland Sat 12/24 12:00 PM CST
@ Denver Sun 01/01 3:15 PM CST

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