As much as the Kansas City Chiefs have talked about providing competition this offseason for Matt Cassel as the Chiefs starting quarterback, no mention has really been made of the one back-up already on the roster. Last year, the Chiefs selected Ricky Stanzi out of Iowa as the team’s fifth round choice and it was immediately celebrated as a strong late round selection. Yet as promising as he seemed, Stanzi was given zero snaps under center in 2011 in a Chiefs season that featured four starts from Tyler Palko. Four? Yes, four.
So it’s surprising to hear Scott Pioli describe his love for Stanzi once again when the team didn’t utilize him one bit last season. Then again, that might point to Todd Haley being at odds with Pioli and refusing to play his draft choice.
“Last year, free-agency never started (until training camp),” Pioli told the Star recently. “We had Matt on the roster. We had Tyler on the roster. We had Ricky, who we drafted. We didn’t draft someone high who was perceived as competition, but I’ll say this: I think Ricky is competition. Let’s not get lost in where a guy was drafted as to whether or not he’s a player. This league has shown time and time again at many positions, including this particular position, that where a player is drafted doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how good he is or how good he becomes.
“You just don’t wave a wand and magically say, ‘There’s competition.’ We drafted a quarterback last year who I truly believe has good ability and has the potential to start in this league. I really do believe that.”
The Chiefs are still likely to bring someone in, whether it’s a high profile addition like Peyton Manning or a predictable one like Kyle Orton or Chad Henne. But Stanzi adds another name to the mix and a full offseason under his belt will likely go a long way. If anything, it’s good to know that there’s still promise there and perhaps Stanzi didn’t play because of other issues than the fact that he’s not a good option.