When it was determined that the beating Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel took in the loss to the Denver Broncos could keep him out for the rest of the season, the focus immediately shifted to the man sitting behind the starter.
After Chiefs head coach Todd Haley broke the news about the “significant” injury to Cassel’s throwing hand, he immediately talked about how Palko wouldn’t be the team’s No. 2 if they feel good about his abilities.
“I have belief in Tyler. In his case there is not a lot of regular season action to go on, but I feel like he’s done a great job while he’s been here of developing and getting better,” Haley told reporters Monday. “He has a great understanding of how our offense works and what his role within it is.”
None of us expected Haley to stand up there, shake his head and curse his options, but he has clearly felt stronger about Palko’s potential than most. From the first time the journeyman put on a Chiefs helmet, the head coach has gone out of his way to praise the lefty quarterback.
“I think that Tyler has a chance,” Haley said during a mini-camp in June of 2010 shortly after he signed in Kansas City. “He comes from a football background, he is energetic and he has been around some really good quarterbacks in the years following school. He has had great exposure in New Orleans with QB Drew Brees and Sean Payton who I know really well. He spent time in Arizona with QB Kurt (Warner) and Kenny (Whisenhunt).”
Palko didn’t make the Chiefs last season out of training camp, but made it to final cuts and was quickly placed on the practice squad. Then when Cassel was knocked out by appendicitis, Palko was promoted to the active roster where he has been ever since.
Before you discount Haley’s belief in Palko or think the Kansas City playbook will be limited, you can listen to the head coach and actually feel he’s being genuine when he uses the words like “optimistic” and calls the 28-year old “the right guy” to get the job done.