|Orton could be the No. 3 QB behind Palko and Stanzi Sunday night. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
The Kyle Orton era won't begin in Kansas City this week. In fact, Orton might be the Chiefs' third quarterback when they face the Steelers Sunday night. Claimed on waivers Wednesday after the Broncos took mercy on his soul and released him, Orton gives Kansas City a veteran presence under center to replace starter Matt Cassel, who was placed on injured reserve Monday with a hand injury. It's just that Orton might not get his chance until Week 13 at the earliest.
On Friday, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said that Orton could be the team's No. 3 quarterback behind starter Tyler Palko and rookie Ricky Stanzi. Other than last Monday night against the Patriots, Kansas City kept the third quarterback inactive on game days.
So what does that mean for Orton this Sunday?
“I wouldn’t rule out anything at this point, other than Tyler starting the game,” Haley said Friday, according to the Kansas City Star's Kent Babb. “We’ll just have to see.”
Haley indicated that Orton's role will be determined by how much of the playbook he's able to learn since arriving Friday.
“We’ve got to get Kyle assimilated into how we’re doing things,” Haley said, “and make decisions as we get closer to the game.”
Best-case scenario, then: Orton makes his appearance next week, with five games left in the regular season. As it stands, the Chiefs are tied for last in the AFC West, two games back of the Raiders.
And even if Kansas City finds a way to get by Pittsburgh (and that's a long shot), their schedule is the league's toughest for the final month of the season: at the Bears, at the Jets, Packers, Raiders, at the Broncos.
So even if Orton plays like it's 2010, where he ranked 12th in Football Outsiders' QB efficiency metrics (3,653 passing yards, 20 TDs, 9 INTs) -- which put him just ahead of Michael Vick, Cassel and Eli Manning -- it won't be enough to get the Chiefs back to the playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will prepare to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium. Who will come out with the victory? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz take a look at this matchup.
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