The word running rampant is that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel has a significant injury to his hand that might take him out for the rest of the year. That said, the obvious jump is to wonder who could step in for the Chiefs. The downside is this: the answers aren't pretty. There's hardly any doubt that Tyler Palko will be the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs for next week against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. But beyond that, there's one person waiting in the wings that fans have called for throughout the season: Ricky Stanzi.
Palko is the most game-ready which is why Stanzi likely won't have his number called 7 days from now. He's just not ready. Palko, meanwhile, is the back-up on the roster and played at the end of the Broncos game, going 5 of 6 against a prevent defense that makes his performance look more impressive than it was. Not that Palko wasn't good but it's just that it didn't matter.
But Palko's performance until now hasn't been great. He's failed to impress the last two preseasons for the Chiefs, but Scott Pioli seems something there -- enough to have Palko as his primary back-up. The 28-year-old is likely the journeyman back-up at best that he's been so far, so no one should expect much in the way of quarterback heroics against the Pats on Monday. Instead, it will be a ground attack predicated on Jackie Battle and Dexter McCluster with the hope that the defense can create some turnovers.
But that brings up Stanzi. The Iowa product was the Chiefs fifth round pick this year and everyone from Mel Kiper to local fans thought it was a great pick up in the late round. Stanzi was praised for his on-field abilities and leadership and a mix at quarterback that translated well to the pro level. That said, he's been inactive for every single game this year with no practice with the first unit whatsoever -- hence the reason that the QB situation facing the Chiefs isn't pretty.
Whether or not Matt Cassel was going to guide the Chiefs to the promised land, it's clear that he was, far and away, the most capable quarterback on the roster for this present season. Now Palko will take the short-term and it's likely Stanzi gets in soon -- perhaps as soon as next week. Then Chiefs fans will get a much better idea of just what they have on the roster and for the future.