Insider Blog: Off-Season Opportunities

Posted Jun 14, 2010

Backup QB Tyler Palko seized an opportunity to separate himself from competition in OTA work

Never underestimate the value of off-season practices. Even though pads haven’t been added to the equation, players still receive ample opportunities to separate themselves from one another in on-field work. This was apparently the case in the battle for the Chiefs third quarterback job.

When Brodie Croyle was sidelined for a handful of practices with a finger injury, Tyler Palko received a long look from the Chiefs coaching staff in running the second-team offense. When Croyle returned, he resumed his familiar (and expected 2010) duties as the primary backup to starter Matt Cassel, but Palko had seized an opportunity to make an impression on head coach Todd Haley.

“I think that Tyler has a chance,” Haley said last week. “He comes from a football background, he is energetic and he has been around some really good quarterbacks in the years following school. He has had great exposure in New Orleans with QB Drew Brees and Sean Payton who I know really well. He spent time in Arizona with QB Kurt (Warner) and Kenny (Whisenhunt). I am excited about some of the things he is doing. He is like all the others, he is working hard to compete and give himself a chance to make the team.”

On Monday afternoon, Palko moved forward in his quest to earn a roster slot in Kansas City when the Chiefs waived incumbent third quarterback Matt Gutierrez. The team also waived five other players – TE Leroy Banks, DB Andre Jones, OL Nick Landry, OL Jermail Porter and RB Kolby Smith.

Smith joined Gutierrez as a member of the Chiefs 53-man roster in 2009.

Smith’s release ends a frustrating past two seasons for the former 2007 draft pick who rushed for 150 yards against the Raiders as a rookie making his first career start. His promising debut for the Chiefs was curtailed by season-ending injuries in both 2008 and 2009. Smith looked to be competing for the Chiefs third running back job behind Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.

The early release of TE Leroy Banks may also surprise some fans that have caught wind of a few impressive plays that Banks turned in during OTA work.

Just as we’re reminded to never underestimate the value of off-season practices, Monday’s cuts also offer a reminder that practices without pads are still just that…practices without pads. What we’re not privy to is the evaluation that goes on behind closed doors in the film room.

The Chiefs roster now stands at 81 players, but eight of those 81 players are without contracts. Players without contracts include restricted free agent Jarrad Page and the seven 2010 draft picks. A maximum of 80 players under contract can be taken to training camp.

With only 73 players under contract, the Chiefs can now begin the process of signing draft picks without being obligated to release a player in a one-for-one swap. Ryan Succop was the first of the Chiefs draft picks to sign his contract last season. Succop inked on June 18th.

The Chiefs will conclude their final day of OTA work on Tuesday afternoon.

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