It wasn't pretty to watch, but shortly after nose tackle Howard Green -- all 340 pounds of him -- sacked quarterback Matt Cassel with all his weight during last Thursday's preseason game between Green Bay and Kansas City, the Chiefs said Cassel had just had the wind knocked out of him.
Cassel confirmed this afterwards when he said “I just got the wind knocked out of me,’’ he said. “We were just being cautious.’’
Head coach Todd Haley added “Unfortuntately, he got dinged up a little bit. I’m not overly concerned.’’
Well, it might be time to start panicking. Turns out, Cassel suffered a rib injury and might not be ready for the season opener Sunday against the the Bills, according to the Kansas City Star's Adam Teicher. This comes days after tight end Tony Moeaki was placed on injured reserve after hurting his knee against the Packers.
And now Kansas City, whose first-team offense struggled throughout the preseason (they started things off with a 25-0 shellacking at the hands of the Bucs in Week 1), face the very real possibility of hosting Buffalo with Tyler Palko under center.
Palko played collegiately at Pitt but went undrafted in 2007. (Fun fact: Palko was so entrenched as the starter that a backup named Joe Flacco transferred to Delaware for more playing time.) He's shuttled between NFL practice squads and 53-man rosters for the Saints, Cardinals and Steelers, and in 2009 was also signed and cut by the UFL's California Redwoods (now the Sacramento Mountain Lions) and the CFL's Montreal Alouettes. Palko played well this preseason for the Chiefs, earning the backup job, but has thrown just six passes in his NFL career dating back to 2007.
“I feel like I’ve gotten better every day in training camp and that’s really my main focus,’’ Palko said recently, according to Teicher. “It’s not to look at anything past just getting better every day. I know it sounds boring, but I’m not in a situation where I can really look ahead. Every opportunity you get, you’ve got to try to seize the moment and do your job.’’
Cassel missed one game due to injury last season and the Chiefs lost 31-0 in San Diego. In 2009, Cassel missed the season opener against the Ravens, a 38-24 loss. Both time, Brodie Croyle, who is now in Arizona, got the start.
Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Howard Green (95) sacks Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel (7) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)
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