OPENING REMARKS: “Like I said after the game, obviously disappointing. Turnovers by me are absolutely inexcusable. It’s just frustrating, it stings a lot. Having the ball touch your hand every game and you being responsible for four turnovers in a tight game like that, it’s frustrating. You continue to keep trying to work to improve it and that’s the number one focus for me right now heading into this week of practice. We did some really good things on offense and those couple of mistake, especially the turnovers by me, they sting. Especially when we had our defense playing that well and we had a chance to win it at the end. Exactly what I thought after the game as far as being disappointed but it’s in the past now and we have to prepare to head into Chicago and face another really good defense.”
Q: How different is it for you preparing when there is another quarterback here getting a part of the first-team snaps?
PALKO: “The way I view it is you have to earn the right to put your hand under center Sunday afternoon, Sunday night or Monday. That’s just how it is, that’s how I’ve always viewed it. I think that you have to earn the right to do that and turning the ball over seven times in two games is just inexcusable regardless of whose fault it is, it’s inexcusable and like I said you have to earn that right.”
Q: Haley says you are the starter, is that for now and that could change before the Bears game?
PALKO: “I just go by what Todd [Haley] tells me so you’re going to have to ask him that.”
Q: What did he tell you?
PALKO: “What he told you. That I’m the starter and that Kyle [Orton] is going to get reps and whoever gives the team the best chance to win then he’ll play.”
Q: How many of the mistakes have come down to you not having more time with the number ones?
PALKO: “For the most part, I guess I view that as an excuse. When you are a backup quarterback you don’t really have the luxury of having that time with the receivers so I never really looked at it like that because when you’re the backup you don’t have that luxury. That’s not an excuse that you’re allowed to have so I can’t really comment too much on that just because I’ve never really viewed it like that.”
Q: How much faster is the speed of the game in a regular season game?
PALKO: “Yes, bullets are moving pretty fast. The preseason is pretty vanilla on defense and what you see from the Steelers on Sunday night was graduate work. I hope it’s going to continue to keep slowing down and for me I just have to continue to keep working and pressing ahead. There’s no real other option at this point, you have to continue to keep working hard and trying to get better every day and not really worrying about anything other than that.”
Q: With Orton waiting in the wings, do you feel like this is your last chance to hold down the spot?
PALKO: “I’ve never really viewed it like that. Like I’ve told you guys before, I was the practice squad quarterback, the third-string guy who didn’t dress, the backup and the starter for the last two weeks, I was never a silver spooner who the job was ever handed to me so it’s one of those things where you have to continue to keep fighting and those are things that I can’t control right now. I have enough to worry about right now as far as continuing to try and to get better every day in practice and try to focus on what the coaches are asking me to do and really try to execute the game plan. All that other excess stuff on the outside I can’t really worry about that, I don’t have enough time.”
Q: How did Orton look out there?
PALKO: “You’ll have to ask Kyle. He looks like a good quarterback. He’s a good quarterback, I don’t know how many yards he’s thrown for but he’s been proven that he can throw the heck out of the ball, he did it two years ago in Denver and I think last year before, halfway point those guys were firing on all cylinders. He’s a heck of a quarterback, he’s got a lot of knowledge and has been really good to me and I’m excited to learn a lot from him.”
Q: Is the Bears defense kind of like a 100 or 200 level class compared to the Steelers graduate level like defense?
PALKO: “The thing is, Chicago, they do what they do and they do it well. They’ve been together a long time, they’re not as vanilla as they use to be as far as the Tampa two but they’re still a really good defense and they have guys that have played together for a long time with [Lance] Brigss and [Brian] Urlacher and Charles Tillman out there who seemed to have assimilated all those other guys that have come in and kept them on the same page. They do some other things than the Tampa two but they’re still a disguise team and they are going to be a big challenge for us.”
Q: Is there something you saw on film that can help you correct the turnovers?
PALKO: “I just have to make better decisions with the football. When you have the ball in your hands at all times and you’re making a decision in a split-second, it’s not easy, but that’s why there’s only a couple starting quarterbacks that are really, really good for a long time in the NFL because they’ve learned how to do that. I’m learning how to do that right now. Obviously, it stinks having to contribute a lot of turnovers in these last two losses, but it’s been a great learning experience, and the decision-making is the big thing that is really the cause of that.”
Q: How different are you now in this week than you were a couple weeks ago?
PALKO: “Personally, other than probably having a lot of people in Kansas City that are mad at me for turning the ball over seven times, I really haven’t changed that much. You have probably a sick feeling in your gut because you know you didn’t give your team the best chance to win turning the ball over that many times. It’s a learning experience and you just have to continue learning from it. From my perspective, I really haven’t changed that much, other than those couple things that I mentioned.”
Q: You mentioned the people being upset. Do you think the criticism is fair?
PALKO: “I said probably. I don’t read the paper. I don’t have enough time for that. I’ve got to live upstairs in the film room and spend time in the playbook. I said probably, so I’m just guessing, knowing how people are.”
Q: After the last two games when you’ve talked to your Dad, has he talked to you as a coach or as a Dad?
PALKO: “Both. Obviously, he’s disappointed that things didn’t work out for his son, but being a coach, you know that turning the ball over is not going to help. There were also a lot of good things that we did on offense. We had a chance to win the ballgame at the end. Those things happen. The biggest thing is, are you learning from those mistakes? I hope right now that that’s a lot of learning. That’s why you come to work every day and continue pounding the rock and working at it.”