By Josh Katzowitz
Chiefs interim coach Romeo Crennel made big-time news earlier this week when he announced Tyler Palko was Kansas City’s brand-new third-string quarterback and said that if Kyle Orton’s broken finger allowed him to play, he would start. Otherwise, rookie Ricky Stanzi, who has been panned almost universally for his practice performances this year, would get the go-ahead.
Luckily for the Chiefs, Crennel (via Rapid Reporter Bob Gretz) has seen enough progress from Orton this week to announce Friday that Orton indeed will be the No. 1 quarterback heading into Sunday’s Packers game.
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If the Chiefs want any kind of chance to beat the Packers at home, Orton and not Stanzi has to be the one to start. The biggest concern entering the week for the Chiefs was whether Orton continued to have problems gripping the ball with his injured finger. But on Friday, Orton practiced without wearing the glove he’d worn all week to protect his index finger.
Orton apparently has not had a problem taking the snap from the center either.
“The ball has not been on the ground at all this week, so that’s a good sign,” Crennel said.
After the Chiefs generated buzz by signing Orton when the Broncos waived him -- at that point, Kansas City wasn’t quite out of the race in the AFC West, and it seemed like a necessary move if the Chiefs were going to defend their division title -- Orton got hurt on the first play of his Chiefs career.
Palko, with a 1-3 record as a starter, clearly isn’t the answer at quarterback, and considering former coach Todd Haley isn’t around any longer to try to save his job, Crennel obviously would rather have an Orton that might not be 100 percent rather than a Palko who is.
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