Tyler’s Not Happy With His Debut

From Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

As expectations from the average Chiefs fans were so low for the debut of Tyler Palko as the team’s starting quarterback, what happened Monday night probably came as a surprise.

For Palko, who was making his first NFL start after five years in the league, his expectations were far greater than what went down in the Chiefs 34-3 loss to the Patriots.

“You know obviously it gets easier with every start,” Palko said. ‘I felt comfortable out there. The offensive line did a great job. There were a couple of sacks (three in all) but I need to get rid of the ball.

“Obviously there are some things I would like to have back, but it’s a learning process. You try to minimize errors. Today, those three interceptions – you would like to have those back.”

On the day Palko was 25 of 38 for 236 yards. That’s a completion percentage of 65.8; average yards per attempt of 6.2 yards and average yards per completion of 9.4 yards. Plus the three interceptions, two of which were tipped by WRs Jonathan Baldwin and Steve Breaston.

“We’ve just had too many of them,” head coach Todd Haley said of the tipped passes. “We just cannot tip the ball to the other team. It generally hurts you. You know the interception late; I wasn’t crazy about that decision.”

That’s INT that Palko threw in the end zone where the Patriots had triple coverage on Breaston and CB Philip Adams picked off the pass.

“Any time you turn the ball over in this league you don’t give yourself a chance to win a football game,” Palko said. “Three interceptions is inexcusable and I don’t care whether they were tipped or not. You can’t give them more opportunities than they already get. They are too good a team.”

Overall, Haley was happy with how Palko handled himself in his first NFL start.

“Tyler did a terrific job of handling the offense, the tempo,” Haley said. “He did a lot of really good things. It’s something to build on and he will get better.”

That fact also became obvious on Monday night when the Chiefs announced they had placed starting QB Matt Cassel on the injured-reserve list, thus ending his season. The decision came after Cassel suffered a right hand injury in the Denver game and had surgery eight days ago.

“That’s not to say that he wouldn’t be throwing the ball and things like that if we had kept him (on the active roster),” Haley said. “We put a lot of thought into it and time as an organization with our doctors obviously, and we just made the decision that we thought was in the best interest of us and him.”

And there’s no doubt in Haley’s mind who will his starting quarterback for the final six games of the 2011 season.

That was a big stage to come in and have your first real action as a quarterback,” Haley said. “It was going to be a test. I have a lot of confidence in Tyler. That’s bred through watching him work, prepare and do his job. He’ll get better. He won’t be satisfied with that, and that’s a good thing.”

Palko was a four-year starter at quarterback in high school and a three-year starter in college, so it didn’t take him long to shift into that leadership role the signal caller must take after a game and outcome like Monday night.

“At the end of the day you go back, watch the film, evaluate and move forward,” Palko said. “You can’t do anything about the past and obviously it was disappointing but you can’t do anything about it. We have to move forward. We’ve got a big game against Pittsburgh to get ready for. They’re a good defense.”

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