By Greg Doyle, Patriots Daily Staff
The Kansas City Chiefs travel to Foxboro Monday Night for the their first appearance here since 2008 when they ended Tom Brady’s season that year in the opener blowing out his knee on an attempted tackle. That lead to the Matt Cassel season in Foxboro and, ironically, Cassel was then traded after the season to the Chiefs. There will be no homecoming, however, as Cassel is out for the game and possibly the season. There are plenty of Patriots connections to this game such as former Patriots Director of Player Personnel Scott Pioli is the Chiefs’ Team President. Romeo Crennel is the Chiefs defensive coordinator, the same position he held with the Patriots during their Super Bowl winning years.
Nobody is giving the Chiefs much a chance. The Patriots definitely could take a huge step towards securing their division with a win here and the Jets and Bill struggling. So, they can’t afford to take this game lightly. Lets take a look at some key Chiefs:
Tyler Palko, #4, Quarterback: Palko is a 28 year old quarterback who’ll be starting his first NFL game this Monday night versus the Patriots. A former Panther from the University of Pittsburgh, Palko beat out Joe Flacco at Pitt and Flacco ended up transferring to Delaware. Palko, who is left-handed, went on to have an excellent college career, and came within 254 yards of tying Dan Marino’s record for yardage at Pitt. After leaving Pitt, Palko has bounced around. He originally spent some years at New Orleans off and on their roster and practice squad. After being waived by Arizona prior to the 2009 season, Palko signed on with the California Redwoods of the UFL, who also waived him out of their camp. So, the Patriots will be facing a guy making his first NFL start Monday who once couldn’t make a UFL team.
Palko is a bit mobile. He was a gutty player at Pitt. But he isn’t real talented and it’ll be a challenge for him Monday. He is perhaps best remembered for saying “I’m so f***ing proud of this team” live on NBC after Pitt beat Notre Dame his senior season. If he can pull off a remarkable cut by the UFL to victory on Monday Night Football in 2 years, he’ll have another reason to be f***ing proud in a few days.
Jonathan Baldwin, #89, Wide Receiver: Baldwin was the Chiefs first round pick this year and he also hails from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a very talented, tall, big receiver who can run and has displayed excellent hands. Injured early in the year, he’s only played in four games so far this season but his playing time is picking up and he’s made some highlight reel type catches already. Baldwin grew up in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania which is a football factory of sorts, producing numerous excellent NFL players such as Ty Law, Tony Dorsett and Darrelle Revis.
Amon Gordon #99, Defensive Tackle: Gordon is a reserve defensive tackle who is seeing his first extensive playing time this year. He was actually with the Patriots for a time in 2010. Gordon, who went to Stanford, has bounced around a bit similarly to Palko. Since 2004, there are three full seasons he wasn’t in the NFL at all. He had never played more than 6 games in any one season since he was drafted and that came in his rookie season of 2004. This year, however, he has played in all 9 of the Chief’s games and averages 15-20 snaps a game. He has played well, finally getting an extended chance at age 30. Its always nice to see a guy who stuck with it for this long, without much success, and finally finds a niche in the league.
Derrick Johnson, #56, Linebacker: Johnson was the 15th pick overall back in 2005 and played decently, though not quite about to his draft status, thru the 2009 season. But when former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel took over the Chiefs defense in 2010, Johnson really seemed to take to it and his played jumped. He had over 120 tackles last season as the Chiefs won their division and he’s playing at a Pro Bowl level this year, taking it up even another notch. Johnson has an ability to make big plays, sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, and if the Chiefs are going to pull an upset turnovers are probably the key. Johnson could be a game changer if he is able to disrupt the Pats offense and cause some of those big plays he has a knack for.
Chiefs Fans:Having attended a Chiefs-Patriots game in 2005 in Kansas City, I can attest Chiefs fans are some of the nicest opposing fans I have met. They know how to have a good time, they tailgate with the best in the NFL, they’re loud and they love the Chiefs. Lets check a popular Chiefs message board Arrowhead Club, to see what they think of their chances in this game:
busterdiggs2000 thinks the Chiefs will struggle with their backup QB:
It’s likely going to be a long long day for Palko and the Chiefs. But i’m interested to see what Palko does that’s good or bad, he’s probably going to have a bad game, probably will get murdered. BUT, does he know how to read a blitz? Can he lead his wr’s so they can make a play and get yac ? I’m more interested in the small things.
RIChief3 is also feeling very pessimistic:
I say 40 – 14 Patriots. Only 40 as Brady sits out the 4th. This game has disaster written all over it. No handshakes after the game.
That seems to be a habit with Todd Haley, doesn’t it? I’m sure the Boston media would blame Bill Belichick’s “arrogance” though.
FOBLCrow similarly doesn’t see much hope for his Chiefs:
Final Score: New England wins 33-3
Chiefs D will give up over 475 yards
Chiefs O will gain less than 200 yards
Chiefs will have another season ending injury
Haley shaves at halftime
Prediction: I tend to agree with the Chiefs fans here, though I don’t think it’ll be a complete blowout. Romeo Crennel will find a way to hold the Patriots offense down at least a little. And the lack of film on and mobility of Tyler Palko could give the Patriots at least some problems. I’ll say it’s competitive through three quarters and the Patriots pull away in the fourth for a 30-13 Patriots win.