If an NFL team cannot boast of holding a franchise quarterback, then that same NFL team is always in search of one. There's a reason the back-up quarterback is called the most popular player on the team, since the promise and potential of the guy down the depth chart is always sexier than the actual play of the guy in front of him. The Kansas City Chiefs are the perfect example of this model of expectations and results, as fans hold out hope that Ricky Stanzi can be the guy to supplant Matt Cassel in time.
Cassel is perhaps the best example in the NFL of an average starter. There are several teams with far worse situations heading into 2012. He even made a Pro Bowl in 2010. Yet he's also 18-21 in his three seasons in KC thus far and the team publicly discussed bringing in veteran competition for him this offseason.
After overtures to Peyton Manning, however, the only move to bolster the quarterback position was to sign Brady Quinn from the Denver Broncos. Given the state of the Chiefs' depth chart last season, Quinn was definitely a step up over Tyler Palko but it was not the bold move that many fans were wanting. It was a move that guaranteed Cassel would remain the starter while Quinn and Stanzi held down back-up slots..
Over the last year, fans have wondered what Stanzi would bring to the table. He was never given a single snap in a game last season for the Chiefs despite Palko starting an incredible four games for the Chiefs -- a move that ruined the team's chances to make the playoffs more than any injury to a star player. With a full offseason and new offensive coordinator, fans have been hoping that Stanzi might make a play for the back-up job over Quinn and show future potential in case Cassel doesn't work out.
The results so far are simply not good. In the team's two preseason games, Stanzi has looked like a rookie under center and he's prone to turning the ball over. Against the Cardinals last week, Stanzi was 2 of 7 with a fumble. He was 3 of 4 for 24 yards last night and an interception and fumble against the St. Louis Rams. If these results are against the second and third string players of Chiefs' opponents, is there any chance he gets a chance to play mid-season in case of injury? It's hard to imagine Crennel would turn him loose.
At this point, Brady Quinn is now the best bet to take over for Matt Cassel in case something happens. While that's a much better proposition than Palko, it's also not a great step forward that Chiefs fans were likely hoping would happen. Stanzi could still turn the corner and holds obvious talent, but his star is definitely not as bright as it was two preseason games ago. At some point, fans have to admit that their expectations are likely false when a player doesn't break through like they hope. Stanzi has a while to go, but the early signs have not been positive.