QB In Focus Today … GameDay Cup O’Chiefs

From Chicago, Illinois

Was Todd Haley playing games all week with the Chicago Bears and Chiefs fans? Or, will he really start Tyler Palko Sunday afternoon when the Chiefs roll into Soldier Field to face the Bears (7-4) and leave Kyle Orton on the sidelines?

Everyone will know for sure just after kickoff at 12 noon. TV coverage is on CBS.

“Tyler will start,” Haley said Friday, repeating the theme he’s presented since early in the week. “Kyle will be ready to roll.”

If he follows through on his decision to start Palko, will it be a nominal appearance, or will he jump ship at the first sign of trouble and use Orton? Will Orton possibly come in and take a series or two, and Palko goes back in?

Understand this – anything is possible. Haley has drilled into the heads of this team this week that they are about to start a five-game season where if they won all five they would finish 9-7 and should make the playoffs.

“Everybody thinks were done, but we don’t think that way,” said DE Wallace Gilberry. “There’s a lot we can still get done. We have a lot to play for. It’s a five-game season.”

Haley knows that the goal seems unrealistic for a team that’s now lost four straight games, and certainly seems farfetched for those outside of the locker room.

“We understand the situation as far as what we have to get done and even then it may not be enough,” Haley said. “It starts this week against this team, the Bears, and we will have to earn every point against them and work your tails off to keep them out of the end zone whether it’s on offense, defense, or special teams.

“We’ve had to really prepare Orton to get ready to play, he may have to, he may not but we’re really focused on how we want to start this game and we kind of know what we need to do so that’s where we are right now and we’ll see how Sunday goes.”

That provides us with a tiny bit of insight into why Haley is sticking with Palko as his starter – he wants to get off to a good start. The Chiefs want to be able to get the lead in this game, and force Bears inexperienced quarterback Caleb Hanie to be a major factor in the offense. If they go out and fall behind early, then Chicago can just hand the ball off to Matt Forte and Marion Barber and kill the clock and take away opportunities for the Chiefs offense.

To start fast, Haley apparently believes he needs somebody pulling the trigger that knows the offense. Thus, Palko starts.

But, how long will he play? Will Haley have a short hook?

“You wouldn’t want this to be a look over your shoulder situation for Tyler,” Haley said. “Tyler’s working his backside off because it’s not like he’s played a ton either so you’ve got a couple of guys that hadn’t actually been the starter for this team very much so we’ve got to get them both ready because like I’ve said a number of times, look around the league, Houston for instance, if you put all of your eggs in one basket you could be pretty quickly looking for another basket, or some more eggs.”

Of course, the Chiefs put all their eggs in one basket at quarterback with Matt Cassel and no other experienced back-up on the roster. Consider that fodder for future stories.

Nevertheless it would be a surprise if Orton does not play at some point against the Bears. He’s been almost two months on the sidelines in Denver and that rust from inactivity, combined with having a limited amount of time learning his new teammates and a different offensive scheme would make a major contribution hard to believe.

“His assimilation to the program has been very good,” said offensive coordinator Bill Muir. “I would say kudos to him, he works hard. He’s one of the first guys in here in the morning. He’s making great progress in terms of learning the system.”

But knowing the offense is only part of the process and the head coach indicates that Orton needs more time before he’s going to have a fair chance of producing with the Chiefs offense.

“I think everybody just automatically assumes that this is some easy task for a player to come into a new situation and figure everything out, figure the players out around them,” Haley said. “That’s just not the case. It comes down to winning and losing ultimately, and this is a five-game season for us, and we will do whatever we feel gives us the best chance to win, considering all factors involved.” 

Coaches can make their offensive and defensive plans as easy or hard as they want them to be. More than anything, Muir and the offensive staff need to come up with a plan where the Chiefs score touchdowns, something they’ve done just once in their last 45 offensive possessions. Defensively, they need to handle Forte and the Bears running game.

With the Chiefs current situation, anything is possible.

“I wouldn’t discount anything, I really wouldn’t,” Haley said. “When you’re in a “do whatever it takes to win” mode, anything is a possibility. We’ve worked hard this week understanding how we have to play the game to give ourselves the best chance to win and that’s what we are trying to accomplish.”

4 Responses to “QB In Focus Today … GameDay Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 4, 2011  - ED J says:

    I think Haley will do neither of what you’ve mention Bob. I heard him on Tom Waddle radio show for Bears and he asked him flat out is Palko starting Sunday he said we’re going do whatever it takes to win. Then Haley chose his words wisely he said Palko is the starter not Palko will start on Sunday. Haley’s no fool he know his job is on the line and playing QB roulette isn’t the way of keeping his job. I think Orton starts after game Haley says something like Uh we went with guy that we felt through practice that gave us best chance to win. I believe this whole time he’s playing media and trying fool the Bears. Especially with all the hype that would’ve went around Orton starting against his old team he didn’t want to put pressure on the guy in his 1st start. So that’s my assessment. Orton will start.

  • December 4, 2011  - ED J says:

    Haley chosses his words wisely leave him an out if he goes against what media actually htought. He like Parcells is very cunning in munipulating the media. Even Tom Waddle said he believed he was bluffing about making Palko starter against the Bears and Haley just laughed and said we’re going to do whatever it takes to win. Or however he puts that statement

  • December 4, 2011  - txchief says:

    If only Haley were as cunning and well prepared in his duties as a head coach!

  • December 4, 2011  - Chuck says:

    Don’t know if Orton will start or not but I bet he gets more snaps in this game than Palko.

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