One of the primary goals of the preseason from a roster standpoint is figuring out who would lead the team in case something happened to starter Matt Cassel. The quarterback position is obviously the most important in the NFL, and especially in the pass-happy culture it's developed into. Despite Kansas City's running prowess, the team will still rise or fall largely on what Matt Cassel can (or cannot) do. Thus the back-up quarterback position is also important to sort out in training camp.
The Chiefs positioned two players to compete last night in Tyler Palko and Ricky Stanzi. Palko came into the league as an undrafted free agent from Pittsburgh when he was signed by the New Orleans Saints in 2007. He's bounced around the NFL and CFL since then before landing with KC in 2010. At 28, he's likely getting the last good shot at being a No. 2, but Scott Pioli and Todd Haley must really like something about the journeyman.
Ricky Stanzi is the hand-selected product, the darling of the fifth round who many believed to be a steal for the Chiefs at that draft slot. He's a savvy veteran college quarterback who had over 30 starts for Iowa, and fans have high hopes for the Chiefs first developmental QB in some time.
Last night, neither one of them looked good. And that's because, according to head coach Todd Haley, neither one of them even had a chance to do so. When asked what he saw in his quarterback options, he really couldn't come up with much of anything good or bad.
"I saw that they can run for their lives," Haley said. "Both of them have some scrambling ability. That's one area that I feel like we've been deficient as far off of scrambles making plays as far as what I think the standard is. We didn't really do it again today, which is disappointing. But for those guys, you need to give them some time. I didn't think they were holding onto the ball so much. It was pretty much a jailbreak. They're tough. They looked like they competed the entire time. Those are good things."
It's clear that the next two preseason games will tell the team a lot more as more players are allowed to play as the preseason rolls on and conditioning improves with each passing practice. The Chiefs will be one of the last horses in the gate to be ready for the regular season race, but just as long as they're up and running by September 11, no one will remember any of this.