Chiefs moving on in light of Cassel's injury

Chiefs moving on in light of Cassel's injury
November 16, 2011, 8:00 pm
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FOXBORO -- The Patriots' defense is dealing with plenty of injuries. But Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley was quick to point out that his team is dealing with some significant injuries of its own entering Monday night's game at Gillette Stadium.

Perhaps the Chiefs' biggest injury was suffered by quarterback matt Cassel last Sunday in a loss to the Denver Broncos.

Cassel will miss his return to New England on Monday night, and it won't be because he's soft.

"He's a tough, tough guy, and has played through a lot of aches and pains here, since we've been together," said Haley. "I think he's most devastated that he's not going to be able to play, period, for our team. Because he's such a big part of our team, and the guys count on him. And he's a prideful, prideful, competitive guy that wants to play every week, and he's proven that.

"It's been impossible to really take him out of the lineup, barring maybe an organ removal ,and a couple of those things," added Haley. "It's disappointing to him, and I know we've got high goals and expectations for this year. And he'll just have to be on the sideline, rooting his teammates on, which I know that he will."

Replacing Cassel will be quarterback Tyler Palko. It will mark Palko's first career NFL start. And while some adjustments must be made to Kansas City's offensive attack because Palko throws left-handed, the Patriots' banged-up defense will see a similar offensive style from the Chiefs.

"Obviously, we've got a lefty, so some things are going to change," said Haley. "But Tyler's a drop-back quarterback, much like Matt. They have similar skill sets, so I don't think that we can dramatically make a whole bunch of adjustments, other than little tweaks here and there."

The Patriots will have to make some tweaks of their own, on the defensive end, as it doesn't look like cornerback Devin McCourty will be able to play on Monday night, after leaving Sunday's game against the Jets with a shoulder injury.

But still, the Chiefs know that the Patriots will make the proper adjustments, regardless of personnel.

"Their secondary has had some injury issues that they continue to fight through, but they're a competitive, tough group that makes plays at the right time, when they need them most," said Haley. "That has really helped their team win a bunch of games here.

"I think McCourty's a really good player," added Haley. "He plays physical, tough. But we've had our own share of injuries as New England has. Coach Belichick is one of the greats for a reason. And one of the key things to being a great coach in this league, and at any level really, is to develop your players that aren't necessarily frontline players, that are ready to play when they need to. I don't have any doubt that coach Belichick and his staff will have that done.

"So it's hard for me to look and say, well, we have a huge advantage in any area really."