Growing A Quarterback … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

Tyler Palko will start the fourth game of his NFL career on Sunday against the New York Jets in the Meadowlands.

That he’s reached start No. 4 is a surprise to many fans and pundits who pegged Palko as a quick washout. Palko’s first three starts have been a roller coaster for him, his teammates and Chiefs fans. There were seven Palko turnovers in the first two games, and the Chiefs had two losses. There were no turnovers in the third game, and a Chiefs victory on the road in Chicago.

“I’m just trying to get better every week,” Palko said. “Every week I’ve learned a lot, obviously some through mistakes and some through positive plays but every week I feel more comfortable and I feel like I’m getting better and I feel like our offense is getting better.

“It’s just one of those things where sometimes you take your lumps and move forward.”

Todd Haley sees the improvement in Palko every day, whether it’s on the practice field or in meetings.

“I think that each and every week he’s gained some valuable experience and how to handle situations,” said Haley. “You’re making a lot of decisions in a short amount of time and they’ve got to all be good ones.

“I think he’s kind of getting the feel here now with another full week of practice and with those three games under his belt of some of the things he has to do and some of the things he can’t do.”

Offensive coordinator Bill Muir spends a lot of time with Palko and has found him to be one of the most prepared players he’s been around in a 40-plus years coaching career.

“The more experience he has playing, the more comfortable he gets,” said Muir. “He gets a better feel for how he is going to handle the pressure. I think you saw a lot of poise last week against Chicago in some difficult situations; he hung in there very well.

“I haven’t seen very many players over the course of my career prepare any better than him. The playbook is wide open and there’s one thing for sure, he can handle it.”

His teammates say the growth in Palko has been visible and quick.

“He’s done a good job and he’s gotten better and better,” said C Casey Wiegmann. “Being inexperienced and having to come in there and lead the team, there’s only one way to have that experience and that’s by doing it. You can’t read about it, or watch tape about leading the team.

“He’s run the huddle and gotten the plays to us and made sure we were all on the same page. He’s gotten more and more comfortable and that would be the case with anyone who hadn’t played and then got the chance to get out there.”

One aspect of Palko’s game remains basically untouched – his ability to run with the ball. He has just four carries for three yards.

“It’s definitely a weapon that has been underutilized because he is fast and he is quick and he’s fast with the shoulder pads on,” said Haley. “There are a lot of quarterbacks that when you watch them run the gassers and do agility and those things they look like they can really run. And then the pads go on and all of a sudden they can’t run. I always joke with Kurt Warner about that, without pads and playing basketball he runs like the wind and then those pads go on, it might have been because he has the biggest pads in the world.

“But Tyler’s not like that, his speed and athleticism translates and that’s all a part of the process. I think it’s easy for us to continue to push and say, and I’m talking about us as coaches, that when things don’t look good take off and run but when you’re sorting through trying to read, that’s one of those things that I really believe kind of comes with experience also.”

As he has since he moved into the top job, Palko tries to keep things simple.

“You just try to get better every week and that’s really what I’ve been focusing on and not really trying to focus on the future, just trying to focus on the present and getting better every week,” Palko said. “It’s not really anytime to pat anybody on the back or really kick them in the butt. It’s just moving forward with what we have.”

Considering the circumstances of his rise to the top spot, Haley thinks Palko has handled things well.

“It’s tough to play quarterback in this league, and it’s tough when your first couple games are what his have been, his first three, really, when you kind of put it all together and with the situation that we’re in,” Haley said. “What he’s done is he’s gotten better every game, and he was playing quarterback when we won a big game, and made a couple real big plays for us within that game.

“The thing that has to happen is he’s got to keep improving and keep building on the good things he’s doing and continue making good decisions and we’ll have a chance.”

14 Responses to “Growing A Quarterback … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 10, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    I think he’s gotten better. It’d be nice if he could open it up with Bowe, Breaston and Baldwin and some semblance of a running game shows up, we have a fighting chance to… well, to score some points on non-hail mary plays.

  • December 10, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    I want the Chiefs to let Palko throw to the middle of the field. I assume there must be major accuracy issues, but we need to see some crossing patterns and quick slants. Palko looks more like a West Coast offense QB and Jim Zorn should be heavily involved in game planning for him.

  • December 10, 2011  - ED J says:

    Please if his talent matched his brain we would have good Qb. But no matter how prepared he is he doesn’t have the arm strength or accuracy to excute plays. We were very lucky to get that hailmary throw. We want win Sunday with the way this kid been playing only true chance we have offensively is if Mcluster or one of other Chiefs weapons takes one to the house on run play or short dump off. We need to at some point put Stanzi in there he’s clearly more talented hate that Orton got hurt when we had opportunity to put better Qb in the game. Now we’re going have to live through Palko limitations another Sunday hopefully Haley doesn’t wait till game is completely out of hand before putting rookie out there.

  • December 10, 2011  - el cid says:

    I just do not see all the optimism about Palko. In his three games, just how many TDs has he had a hand in? Think any other team will give Pioli draft picks to add Palko to their team? Just do not see the upside.

  • December 10, 2011  - Niblick says:

    el cid-I agree with your thoughts on Palko. I am not optimistic about him putting many points on the board. However, I don’t think Stanzi is a better option at this time. I just wish Orton had not gooten hurt.

  • December 10, 2011  - Jimbo says:

    I think “hope” is a better word for Palko than “optimism”. Coach Haley sees something in the guy and it would be hard to argue that Zorn does too. I agree about his noodle arm and hesitation to run the ball. Many young inexperienced QB’s have gone through the same phases that Palko is adjusting through now. Both Elway & Manning struggled their first year. Some young QB’s come out the gate firing on all cylinders.
    Heck, I don’t know, I’m not going to question the coaching staffs expertise on Palko’s potential talent while I’m eating pizza, & guzzling my favorite brew in a lazy boy.
    This is the NFL…the biggest stage in sports today. Where the finest coaches and athletes in the world train very hard to entertain us and give us all an excuse to skip church or put off the “honey doos” we promised our wives we would get done.
    I can get all upset about the decisions my favorite team make. I can waste my good mood on second guessing the coaches decisions & the ensuing fallout. Hell, I can go crazy & start planning family fun things when the Chiefs are on TV.
    But, you know what. I would rather just be entertained on Sunday afternoons watching my favorite team take me on that consistent “roller coaster” ride of emotions eating something & drinking something while sitting in my favorite something.
    Go Chiefs.

  • December 10, 2011  - Chuck says:

    I will just simply leave you with this thought. Palko is 28 years old, been in the league for 4 or 5 years now. If he was truly “THAT GOOD” wouldn’t it have showed by now?????

  • December 10, 2011  - cychief24 says:

    Add to Chuck’s comment the FACT that Stanzi couldn’t beat pitiful Palko out.
    Look at TJ Yates at Houston. He’s playing and winning as a rookie. Newton, Dalton, Gabbert, all playing as rookies w/o OTA’s.
    The only excuse for Stanzi not playing is he must absolutely suck. Why did Pioli draft him?????

  • December 10, 2011  - Johnfromwichita says:

    I think that Tyler is probaly a nice kid and I was happy to see him getting a shot in the NFL. The fact that his shot was in his own foot was disappoing. If he’s on the roster next year, let alone our numer one back up, we are in deep deep stuff. With five games to go and considering our O-line we will probably see Stanzi and maybe a few more quarterbacks.

  • December 10, 2011  - ED J says:

    cychief he isn’t playing because he isn’t as well versed in playbook as Palko nothing to do with his talent. As for TJ yates he’s only starting because Matt Leinart got hurt not a good example. Same will go for Stanzi from what it looks like.

  • December 10, 2011  - ED J says:

    Besides real Chiefs fan seen preseason and Stanzi looked much better in preseason games than Palko. Check out that Rams game vs Palko game against Packers. So its garbage to believe him being behind Palko has anything do with Stanzi ability. He’ll get his shot as Palko continue to look bad because don’t think Orton gone be ready till week 16 which by then want be any need for him to play if we’re add of it and if we’re still in it Haley isn’t going risk messing up good thing by pulling Palko or Stanzi whoever will be in there at that time

  • December 10, 2011  - tuan says:

    he is (stanzi)an fifth round pick,can you show me a Qb that drafted in the fifth round this year that start and win game,please- to me a Qb got draft in the fifth round is a project and is may take two to three year for him to be any good! and
    please don’t tell me Tom brady.

  • December 10, 2011  - tuan says:

    I do agree with EDj, if palko suck so bad in the fisrt half then they might as well put stanzi in for learning experience becuase we not going anywhere any way. but please don’t expect stanzi to go out there right now and be matt cassel.

  • December 10, 2011  - tuan says:

    the texans are have way better team then we do.not because of TJ yakes is great or anything.

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