Last night my best friend and fellow Chiefs homer called me quite distraught. He had just heard the news that Cassel was out vs NE and potentially for the year. He said he expected to see an obituary in the KC star for the '11 season within the next couple of days. He really likes Matt Cassel and hasn't been budged by his poor play. He'll tell you Matt is a good QB with no tools around him. I've felt the other way about it. I think we're a good team being held back by a severely limited QB. I don't think panic is in order with MC out. Nor do I think those of us underwhelmed with his performance should rejoice. Here's how I think we should approach a Chiefs team without MC under Center.
If you were to ask me if MC was the best QB on the team, I'd give you political, equivocating answer. I just don't know that he really is, but given the lack of knowledge otherwise, I guess he is by default. That default condition is set to end now. What I think I know of MC is that aside from occasionally feigning competency, he's not played well. I'd give him a D for this year. I don't know how good Tyler Palko is, but he very well may be better than a D. He'd have to play pretty poorly to be a real drop off in talent. That may well happen, but don't be so sure. It's a very small sample size, but Palko hasn't been bad in pre-season or regular season spot duty. He hasn't stunk it up; he hasn't really impressed either.
True ability unknown, we do know some things about Palko. If you look at old scout scouting reports, you'll see some positive things. He has a snappy release, good arm strength, mobility, a very quick set up, and an intellectual knack for the game. On the downside he can be over contemplative in reads, too quick to run, reckless with his body, floats some deep balls, is a lefty, and undersized. The worst thing I've read about him was "marginal decision making." That's the biggest red flag you can see on a QB. That combined with some supposedly impatient footwork lead me to think he will be a bit interception prone, but we'll see. As far as questions about his handedness and size, ignore it. "undersized" is the most overstated issue with QBs. Shorter QBs tend to need a bigger dropback, but that's about it. Mike Vick is woefully "undersized" and he does pretty well. Drew Brees is smaller than Palko and among the best. It's just not that indicative of how well a QB plays. After all, Joe Flacco, who possesses picture perfect physicals at 6'5, 230 with a nuclear arm, was forced to transfer schools because he couldn't defeat Palko for the starting job.
We walk into NE with a big "?" at the helm of the offense. At worst Palko is as bad or worse than Cassel, and seeing as how he wasn't playing winning football, no change. Maybe he's a little better, which is a windfall for the team. Best case scenario he's pretty good out there and we have a renewed spirit moving forward. The point here is that we're playing with house money. Maybe card #4 is as lame as the rest of the hand, but maybe it isn't. It's either no real change or a change for the better. That's how we should treat Tyler Palko. He's house money.
And if Palko's a dud, then there's always the trump card...