Kyle Orton is a better quarterback than Tyler Palko, let's just get that out of the way. Whether or not Orton can step in right away and help the Chiefs move the ball better on offense than Palko has done over the last two weeks is the real question. Not that it would be too difficult to do.
There are plenty of opinions out there that have to do with Todd Haley and why he hasn't named Kyle Orton as the starting quarterback for the Bears game, and for the rest of the season. Some of those opinions would go as far to say that it's Todd Haley flipping 'the bird' to general manager Scott Pioli. That seems a little much for me to be honest, but it makes great conversation I guess.
The real problem I see with Todd Haley coming right out and naming Kyle Orton as the starting quarterback is that it would go against everything he's said since taking over the Chiefs two and a half years ago. I understand that with the 24-hour news cycle that sometimes we forget things from a season ago, and even further back. Remember when Jamaal Charles was pissed off and wasn't coming back to re-sign with KC? Then he signs a team-friendly five-year extension. But going even farther back let's remember Brian Waters first attempt at a conversation with Todd Haley. The infamous "22 guys off the street can win two games" comment. That was our first glimpse at Todd Haley being Todd Haley, like it or not.
There have been several examples of Todd Haley making players earn their starting positions based on what he's said to the media. Derrick Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, even when the Chiefs first traded for Matt Cassel, it may have been obvious that Cassel was going to be the starter, but he didn't come right out and say that. Just like it's obvious that Orton is a better quarterback, the guy isn't an idiot but he doesn't want to look like a hypocrite either. He made Derrick Johnson take back-up reps at practice, he made Dwayne Bowe sit on the 3rd team offense when he first got here. He pushed those guys to be better players and made them earn their positions. How would it look to our 'core' players if Haley changed his tune and just handed Orton the job?
Some of you might think the players just want to be put in the best position to the win the game, and I don't disagree. But you can't tell me that the players wouldn't know in the back of their mind that Haley was being hypocritical if he made that decision. He's preached "be the same guy everyday". This is an example of Todd Haley being the same guy he's been since he's been in Kansas City. Some of you might think that's the problem, and that's alright. But if Haley caved in and handed the job to Orton right off the bat, that would be a huge red flag to me that he's panicking and he's not practicing what he preaches. That's how you lose a locker room and a teams' confidence in your ability to lead them in the right direction.
Imagine working at a company who's main selling point to new employees is that they only promote from within. If you want to climb the company ladder then you start from the bottom and we promote you to the top. That's what most people would want when starting a career, and not just a job. They want to know that they're respected and that their hard work is going to pay off in the long run. Now imagine a management position opens up in your company and they bring in an outside person to fill that job.
We'll even say that it benefits every single person that works in that company because of that decision to hire this guy/girl. The new guy/girl does a great job and the company continues to expand and grow because they were a good hire at that position. Even if it benefitted you in that moment, would it still be in the back of your mind that the company went against what they had always said from the beginning? For me it would. I respect people who honor their word and while I don't know Haley personally, I believe this is a case of a coach being the same guy and practicing what he preaches.
I don't think it'll take long for Orton to get in the game against the Bears, maybe just a drive or two. But that drive or two with Palko is a small price to pay for a coach doing the right thing by saving face with his players, and maintaining his stance with the Chiefs players. Some may view this idea, if true, as Haley just being hard-headed. But I see it as a guy sticking to his guns, right or wrong.