The Kansas City Chiefs may not have known what they had in Tyler Palko when starting quarterback Matt Cassel was lost for the season with a hand injury two weeks ago. But they did know this much: Palko probably would not give them the best chance to make a run in the still-winnable AFC West.
So the Chiefs put in a waiver claim for Kyle Orton (who will forever more be known as the last Broncos QB before Tim Tebow) — pre-empting other potential takers including the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans.
In two starts Palko is 42 for 65 for 397 yards with no touchdowns, six interceptions and one fumble. It’s safe to say Orton will be under center on Sunday when the Chiefs take on his former team — the Bears.
And after watching their own fill-in quarterback, Caleb Hanie, toss three picks in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders, do you think the Bears might be wondering “what if” they’d been able to get Orton back?
You betcha. And you can bet Orton was wondering the same thing when he asked his agent to push for his release from Denver after Bears starter Jay Cutler injured his thumb last week.
At 4-7, the Chiefs are three games back in the AFC West race and fading fast, while the 7-4 Bears are in a three-way tie for the final two spots in the NFC field.
Orton was convinced he could fill the void left by Cutler better than the inexperienced Hanie — and the rumors he spread that he might not report to Kansas City only provide further evidence.
SBNation’s Steve von Horn chronicled Hanie’s deplorable debut and suggests that Orton saw it coming all along.
(Check out this nifty flowchart from Deadspin showing just how Orton ended up in K.C. with supporting roles from Matt Cassel the Patriot, Josh McDaniels, and Von Miller.)
Will Orton get the better of his former team on Sunday in the Windy City? Or will Caleb Hanie launch prove the Oakland game was simply a case of first-start jitters?