|Depth-chart reshuffling: Crennel will start Orton if he's healthy; if not, Stanzi will play. (US PRESSWIRE)|
By Ryan Wilson
On Monday, the Chiefs fired Todd Haley. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was named interim coach for the final three weeks of the season, and it didn't take him long to shake things up at quarterback.
Crennel announced during a press conference Wednesday that either Kyle Orton or Ricky Stanzi will start against the Packers Sunday, depending on Orton's health. Tyler Palko, who started the previous four games in place of injured Matt Cassel, has been demoted to third string. (Palko was 1-3 in said starts.)
"I told them we’re making a change at quarterback, that we’re changing the quarterback and that Tyler would not be the starter this week," Crennel said. "Orton or Stanzi will be the starter. Which one? I’m not exactly sure yet because Orton has a finger that he has got to work through, and we’ll have to see during the week how his finger is and how he comes along and if he can handle it with that finger.
"Stanzi is a rookie and if Orton is able to go and can do it, then Orton is going to be the quarterback. If Orton cannot do it, then Stanzi will be the quarterback, and I told the team that today."
Crennel said the decision was his alone; he informed Palko then spoke with general manager Scott Pioli about the move. "It was my decision, I made it," he said.
Orton, who arrived in Kansas City on November 23 after the Broncos released him, played just one snap against the Bears in Week 13 before a dislocated finger landed him back on the sidelines. And that's where he's been since.
Orton practiced Wednesday on a limited basis and said the injury no longer affects his throws. "I won’t put myself out there unless I can (make all the necessary throws)," he said, according to the Kansas City Star's Adam Teicher.
Whoever plays, Crennel is certain that the Packers are losing sleep preparing for the Chiefs' quarterback. “We have Tyler and they’ve seen what he’s done,” he said. “They look at Kyle Orton and know he has a finger (injury), and they look at a rookie (Stanzi). I don’t think they are shaking in their boots about those choices."
When asked if he saw any similarities between Stanzi and T.J. Yates, the Texans rookie quarterback forced into action after injuries to Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart, Crennel offered this: “Only that they were both fifth round picks."
He added: "You never know, Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick and Tom Brady might never have gotten on the field if [Drew] Bledsoe hadn’t gotten hurt. So Bledsoe gets hurt so Brady gets on the field and then you can’t get him off otherwise he would have been on the sideline so you just never know. So you put him out there and you see what happens.”
Is Crennel just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic? Yeah, probably. But what's he got to lose? The iceberg ain't moving and the Chiefs have three games left. Might was well see what Orton and/or Stanzi can do. What's the worst that can happen, Kansas City finishes 5-11?
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