A question lingered in the air last night as Matt Cassel exited the final preseason game against the Green Bay Packers with a slight injury. It’s one that simply asked, “Will the Chiefs be okay at quarterback in 2011?” While other teams seem stacked at the QB position, it stands to reason that the Chiefs might be scouring today’s releases heading into the season for another veteran option at quarterback.
Matt Cassel will ultimately be okay as last night’s injury wasn’t anything major. However, the Chiefs are only one hit away from going with Tyler Palko and/or Ricky Stanzi. While Stanzi is a nice developmental option, the reality is that he’s a fifth round pick from an offseason where the NFL cancelled most off-season activities. He’s simply not ready and, in fact, he didn’t even play in the last preseason game.
Tyler Palko handled the majority of the duties after Cassel went out and while he flashed some ability, he also makes enough mistakes consistently for any Chiefs fans to be worried that he’s the primary option. He was around all last off-season as well, so the Chiefs should know enough by now to see that Palko’s not a favorable No. 2 QB in the NFL. Just last night, he lost a fumble and threw two interceptions.
So Cassel is entrenched as the starter and Stanzi is the future option. That leaves a gaping hole in the middle for a savvy veteran option to handle the No. 2 spot. The only problem with this is that Scott Pioli has waited until the last possible second for the most important position. As QB hungry as some teams are, the chances to find a good option on the waiver wire is just not going to happen. Instead, it will likely cost some draft choice to fill the hole.
Perhaps the Chiefs will ride it out with Palko and hope for the best, but you’d better believe that if Palko sees any significant action for the Chiefs in 2011 against a much tougher schedule, it could become the very decision that cost the Chiefs the season. That’s a worst case scenario, of course, and no one hopes for it to play out that way. But unless Palko has some hidden talents that have yet to come out on the field, the Chiefs do not look set at quarterback.