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Kyle Orton: Finger Injury a Blessing in Disguise for Tyler Palko and Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 27: Quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn talks with quarterback Tyler Palko #4 of the Kansas City Chiefs during a timeout in the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 27, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterDecember 4, 2011

The Kansas City Chiefs will be better off with Kyle Orton out on account of a finger injury and Tyler Palko assuming the team's quarterbacking duties without impedance or threat.

I understand that may sound strange to folks in the Paris of the Plains considering how poorly Palko has played since taking over for Matt Cassel.

And by "how poorly Palko has played," I'm referring to the six picks he notched before throwing the first touchdown pass of his NFL career against the Chicago Bears today, not to mention the 184.7 yards per game for which he's thrown since taking over as the starter in KC.

I'm not about to trumpet the merits of a guy who carries with him the dubious distinction of playing in the NFL, the CFL and the UFL all in the same calendar year at one point in his career.

DENVER - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterbacks Kyle Orton #8 and Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos look on from the bench during their 59-14 loss to the Oakland Raiders at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 24, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Rather, it's important to be real about the prospects of Kyle Orton having any sort of success with the Chiefs this season, if ever. There's a reason Orton was available in the first place. There's a reason he hadn't taken a single regular-season snap since early October.

He's just not a good NFL quarterback by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, in hindsight, you could say that Orton got bumped by the Broncos to make way for Tim Tebow, who's since been something of a godsend in Denver.

But putting it that simply would ignore how poorly Orton had played before getting the boot and how little faith John Fox had in Tebow from the get-go.

Remember, Tebow had dropped to third on Denver's depth chart during the abbreviated preseason, behind Orton and Brady Quinn. As much success as the Broncos have had with Tebow under center, few in the locker room would've lobbied to have him take control after seeing him stink up the joint in training camp.

Yet, even Orton couldn't do enough to hold him at bay. He threw seven picks in five starts, resulting in four losses for the Broncos.

And if Orton couldn't find the range as the starter in Denver's offense in Day 1, how could anyone expect that he'd have gotten the hang of Todd Haley's attack in time to get the Chiefs back on the winning track before season's end?

Tyler Palko may not be a good quarterback, but at least he knows (or should know) all the plays Matt Cassel ran. With Orton, the Chiefs would've been limited in the plays they could call and risky in attempting ones with which Orton wasn't entirely familiar.

And who knows? Maybe Palko will play better now that the job is firmly his for the rest of the season. Maybe he'll be more at ease under center without having to worry that his next mistake will be his last before Captain Neckbeard takes the wheel of KC's sinking ship.

Palko may be a stinker, but at least he's the Chiefs' stinker and not someone else's.

Not like Kyle Orton, anyway.

 

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