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Arrowhead Report: Chiefs Begin Prep For Buffalo

Posted Sep 5, 2011

Matt Cassel a full participant in practice, Tyler Palko talks No. 2 job, Chiefs add a tackle and number changes

Original article updated at 5:00 PM CST

The Chiefs began preparations for Buffalo with all hands on deck Monday afternoon at the Truman Sports Complex. In the portion of practice open to the media, all 53 players were on field and active in individual work.

Following practice, Head Coach Todd Haley called QB Matt Cassel a “full participant” in the afternoon session. Cassel exited the preseason finale following a hit from Green Bay’s 340-pound defensive tackle Howard Green and would not return.

“He was out there, he practiced, he was moving around and I thought he did a good job,” Haley said. “We don’t have to get into (injury designations) today, but since I’m nice I’ll say that he was a full practice participant today.”

An official injury report will be filed following practices on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Palko Credits Cassel For No. 2 Job

Since entering the NFL undrafted in 2007, Tyler Palko has never begun a season as a team’s primary backup quarterback. That won’t be the case after this Sunday as Palko has earned the job as the Chiefs top option behind Cassel.

Beginning last season on the Chiefs practice squad, Palko was a December call-up and served as the Chiefs third quarterback for two games and as the primary backup for two contests. It was Palko’s fourth team in as many seasons, but he’s been able to find staying power since joining the Chiefs as the number four quarterback for spring drills in 2010.

As recently as 2008 season, Palko was out of football altogether. His ascension into the Chiefs number two job is something he’s crediting towards Cassel.

“Matt and I have a great relationship and he’s helped me out tremendously,” Palko said. “Our relationship has grown a lot over the last two years and he’s been great for me and really helped me grow as a quarterback.

“He’s partly responsible for the situation I’m in today. I’ve learned a lot from Matt and he’s been great to me.”

With Cassel’s health in question, Palko was the center of attention during Monday’s open locker room session. There, Palko disputed reports that he was told to be ready to play this Sunday following the Chiefs final preseason game.

Palko said, even if it were the case, that type of message isn’t necessary.

“That’s the job of a backup,” Palko said. “You have to be ready to play at anytime, so I think that (message) goes without saying.”

Chiefs Add Offensive Tackle

The Chiefs entered Monday’s practice notably light on the offensive line with just seven bodies on the 53-man roster. The Chiefs carried eight linemen throughout 2010, but did keep seven active on gameday throughout an early portion of the 2010 season because of injury.

Only once was the team stung when Brian Waters had to shift from left guard to left tackle for several plays at Indianapolis after Branden Albert suffered a minor injury. Third tackle Ryan O’Callaghan was inactive because of injury that week, leaving the Chiefs with just two healthy tackles.

To prevent a similar situation from occurring, Kansas City bolstered its depth along the offensive line via waiver claim with the addition of T Steve Maneri from New England.

Following Monday’s practice, Haley hinted that adding an external body to the offensive line was a possibility.

“Like any position, anybody who is out there that we think has a chance to come in and upgrade the competition (on the offensive line), our eyes will be open,” Haley said.

Ironically, Maneri was released by the Patriots to make room for the addition of Waters.  Maneri is the second tackle Kansas City has claimed from New England since GM Scott Pioli’s arrival. Kansas City claimed O’Callaghan following training camp’s final cuts in 2009.

The Chiefs released veteran TE Anthony Becht to complete the move.

A testament to how quickly things can change in the NFL, an hour before his release, Becht was inside the Chiefs locker room talking to media about making the roster as well as the impact 9/11 had on him while playing for the Jets.

Chiefs Number Changes

Five Chiefs have changed numbers for the 2011 season. Those changes include:

WR Steve Breaston will wear #15 (formerly #19)

DL Allen Bailey will wear #97 (formerly #71)

DL Amon Gordon will wear #99 (formerly #64)

S Sabby Piscitelli will wear #42 (formerly #49)

*TE Anthony Becht will wear #88 (formerly #87)

*Update: Becht was released following Monday's practice

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