This season just continues to get weirder and weirder. Just when I thought the Chiefs were headed for a major losing streak that may have extended to the rest of the season. Then, Kyle Orton fell into the Chiefs’ lap. With Tyler Palko, the Chiefs would have been horrendous. Anyone who said that Palko was an upgrade over Matt Cassel and still believes that does not understand the game of football. Palko is terrible and, though it seems that we will have to watch him start one more game,
I want to give Clark Hunt and/or Scott Pioli credit for making a move that, while offers no guarantee that the Chiefs will win the AFC West with Orton, at least they will not be a godawful punching bag at worst. I have grilled the Chiefs brass recently for not setting this team up for success and foregoing the chance to upgrade with some free agents last off-season but here they are spending real money on a quarterback that can make the rest of the season palatable.
As inconsequential as the move is, it is clear that the powers that be for the Chiefs didn’t want to go down that road for the last six games of the season. The brass received a lot of criticism for not having a better back-up quarterback on staff but the Chiefs haven’t had a reasonable back-up QB since Damon Huard. I think the bigger crime is the fact that the Chiefs do not have a viable running back option besides Jackie Battle. As far as back-up quarterbacks go, if your starting quarterback goes out for an extended period of time, you’re probably screwed anyways.
Thank You Broncos For Giving The Chiefs Your Best Quarterback
Kyle Orton is basically in the same tier of quarterbacks as Matt Cassel. There is really no real point in making distinctions between the two because they are two not-very-projectable quarterbacks that have found themselves in starting roles at various time of their careers, can thrive with good targets and have hit their respective ceilings at some point in their career. Fine quarterbacks who will probably be good back-ups the rest of their career.
Orton is definitely better than Palko and he will give the Chiefs a chance to win games against the Chicago Bears and New York Jets that did not seem winnable before. The Bears will be without Jay Cutler and the Jets seemed just as hapless against the Denver Broncos as the Chiefs were. Kyle Orton could conceivably help the Chiefs to be competitive against those teams and will definitely help the Chiefs in the attempt to finish with two wins against the Raiders at home and at Denver.
Kyle Orton will be an interesting experiment. I still have some doubt in my mind about whether or not a quarterback can succeed with this offense. On one hand, Orton will have three quality targets to throw to in Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin and Steve Breaston. On the other hand, the running game is average at its very best and the offensive line has taken some steps back from where it was when the Chiefs were on their winning streak. Can Kyle Orton find the Killer B’s and navigate his way through the oncoming rushers that will make it through the porous line? This is a good experiment because it is not often that a fan gets to see a quarterback with nearly the same skill level replace a quarterback that did not have a good season, got injured and left with some lingering questions about his future role with the team and ability to be a starting quarterback.
Does Kyle Orton gives the Chiefs a chance to win the AFC West? Yes, but it is still a small chance. The pooch was screwed after the Chiefs dropped two games at home against the then-winless Dolphins and the option Broncos. Those games counted! Now, the Chiefs are going to have to win five games and that means they will have to beat the Green Bay Packers or the Pittsburgh Steelers and win all four of the other remaining games. As great as it is to have a real quarterback here, a comeback may be too much to ask Aaron Rodgers for if he were available.
I think this move is more about the Chiefs getting to some level of respectability. As much as this division has failed to run away from the Chiefs, it would be a long climb. I think that it is important to have a quarterback that can find the Chiefs’ receivers. Going forward, Orton would really have to make an impact in the remaining games in order to stay with the team, so I would curb any thoughts that Orton will be the starter in Kansas City and Matt Cassel will be out the door. Cassel is still under contract and will not be pushed out of the way for Kyle Orton unless he wins a playoff game. I hope Cassel’s role is playing quarterback until [insert first round pick] is ready.
The most important outcome of the season is that the Chiefs be in a position to draft a real quarterback in April. You can’t have this bad of a season with the class of quarterbacks that will be draft eligible and not draft one of those guys. I think the Chiefs will be in the running for one of the better non-Luck QB prospects. Kyle Orton may mean another win or two down the road but I have my doubts that he can get the Chiefs above 6-10. He should make games like last Monday’s closer than 34-3. That needed to happen because we didn’t need to see another destitute season like 2007 or 2008.
The Gauntlet Continues
I have seen plenty of Pittsburgh Steelers games this year and they are still the Steelers we have known. They have been beaten up on defense but still play every game tough. The trouble is that they needed a bye week to get their guys rested up. That happened for them last week and now, they probably have gotten the rest that they needed. Yeah, get worried. The Steelers seem to be healthy again and they were beating good teams when they were decimated.
I give the Chiefs little chance of winning this game. If Kyle Orton comes in like Carson Palmer did with the Raiders after being signed within the week, Orton should be more prepared than Palmer was because he has been through training camp and started five games this year. I think he Orton will be given a chance in garbage time but that means that his entering the game will be of no consequence other than getting a head start on next week’s practice.
Did anyone notice that Ricki Stanzi was not wearing a headset nor was he involved in discussions with anyone running the game? I really think anyone one who thinks he can be good should wait until he has a possibility to be good and that time will be after a couple of seasons of watching and learning. Hold off calling for Ricki Stanzi to start at least until the next Monday night game to call for him because, if the MNF crew can sing Tyler Palko’s praises, it is pretty clear that they will do that for anyone they want, no matter how bad.
So, if anyone doesn’t know already, this team has no real tight end. Leonard Pope does more for the opposing team, Jake O’Connell still blows and Becht is not good enough to get on the field. If anyone saw what Rob Gronkowski did for the Patriots and longed for a tight end that could do that, you were not alone. He is like a healthy Tony Moeaki out there. I hope Scott copies Bill Belichick’s method of drafting awesome large tight ends and throw to them. The Chiefs have one and he is on injury reserve. It is time to get more.
As the injury report says, Ryan Lilja will not be playing and Rodney Hudson will be in at left guard in his place. What troubles me is that there is no back-up guard. The reserve lineman are Jared Gaither and Steve Maneri. While they could fill in at guard if needed, why don’t the Chiefs have a true guard or center on the bench? Well, whoever is out there is going to have trouble with that Steelers D-line.
Last weekend, I was thinking about my prediction and, since my assessment of the final game score was so disparate, I should bet on the game, taking the Patriots and giving the 17 (!) points. I attempted to do so on Monday but apparently, you can’t deposit money to a betting website via a MasterCard. So, I tried and, in turn, missed out on winning a C-note. Some people I told my bet attempt about thought I was not being a good fan for wanting to bet against my team. As of now, I do not play for the team, do not own any shares of the team and have no influence upon whether or not they will win. To me, betting on something that you think is more certain than what Vegas believes is just a good play. Why not bet on what you have the best frame of reference and the most information about? To me, it seemed like a lock and it would have been a winner. I might not ever have more certainty about an outcome for a Chiefs game again.
Tonight, we may be in for another disastrous prime-time watch. Damn you Roger Goodell for not flexing the Chiefs out of this game! What the hell is the matter with you? Any game would be better than this one! Dick! Anyways, it is a damn shame that the Chiefs are going to get dragged in the mud like this when the NFL has the power to flex the Chiefs out of the Sunday night slot. No one wants to watch the Chiefs outside of Kansas City right now. I am hoping the Chiefs avoid embarrassment but I wouldn’t bet on it. The Steelers do not usually win running away but they can beat you in many different ways.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 28, Kansas City Chiefs 10