Palko finally gets his shot to start for Chiefs


Palko finally gets his shot to start for Chiefs

FOXBORO -- In 2008, Tom Brady suffered a season-ending injury after taking a hit to the knee against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Matt Cassel replaced Brady, and went on to win 11 games with the Patriots. He was rewarded with a six-year, 63 million contract with the Chiefs.

Three years later, Cassel finds himself on the sideline with a hand injury, watching his backup QB, Tyler Palko, replace him during Kansas City's Monday Night Football game in New England.

Like Cassel, Palko may have a chance to write his own script, after waiting five full seasons for his first NFL start, which comes against the Patriots on Monday.

But the new Chiefs quarterback isn't yet thinking about that potential Hollywood script.

"You can't write the story before it's written," said Palko in a conference call on Wednesday. "There's obviously comparisons and all that other stuff, but that's not going to win the game because it's aligning this way or it's not aligning this way. Right now, my job is to go out and give our team a chance to win. And I don't have enough time to think about all that stuff."

This is Palko's sixth year in the NFL. He said it hasn't been easy, waiting for his first start.

"What is it, my fifth year?" asked Palko, as he seemed to be thinking out loud. "I guess it's been a long time coming, but I guess when you're entrenched in it, you really don't think about how long it is. You set a goal, and my goal was to be a starter in the NFL, and I'm getting my opportunity right now."

Now, he'll face a Patriots defense, in their building, on a Monday night. And perhaps he'll have some advantage with the fact that there's not much game film of him, and also with the fact that his current defensive coordinator -- Romeo Crennel -- was once the defensive coordinator for the three-time Super Bowl champion Patriots.

But Palko, being as honest as he could be while entering his first career NFL start, said that his advantages are non-existent.

"I don't think there's really any advantage for me, going into this thing," said Palko. "I've got enough chips stacked against me."

Brady not concerned with Bills attempts at bullying this time around


Brady not concerned with Bills attempts at bullying this time around

FOXBORO -- The last time the Patriots and Bills met, things were feisty from the jump.

Patriots rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett was shoved by Bills defensive back Robert Blanton as Brissett jogged by Buffalo's warmups. That prompted Patriots receiver Malcolm Mitchell to stop and get in Blanton's face. From there, Patriots coaches did what they could to break it up, but there was continued shoving back and forth until the two sides could be separated. 

Days later, Blanton -- as well as corner Nickell Robey-Coleman and safety Aaron Williams -- were fined for unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct. 

Would that have occurred had Tom Brady not been suspended? Probably not. Brady was asked about that incident on Wednesday, and whether it spoke to the "bully" mentality that coach Rex Ryan has worked to foster during his tenure in Buffalo. 
"Yeah, I think it’s more so what we do when the game kicks off as opposed to what happens before the game or during the week," Brady replied. "You get into a bunch of trash talk and you know us, we’ve never got into that stuff because in the end, it’s just a big waste of energy.

"You focus on the things you need to do to help the team win, and that’s to play well and execute and spend your time on what’s going to happen from the point when the game kicks off to when it ends. That’s where our focus is, that’s where it always will be. We’ll go in there, we’ll be focused, we’ll be ready to go, and we’ll go out there and try to play a lot better than the last time we played them."

Brady's comments that the Patriots have "never got into" trash talk is a head-scratcher -- he's jawed back and forth with opponents on plenty of occasions during his career -- but his point stands: That stuff probably isn't helping anyone. 

Once the ball is kicked on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Brady will have to contend with a defense that shut out the shorthanded Patriots at Gillette Stadium for the first time in the building's history. He'll also have one of the more raucous crowds in the league buzzing in his earhole.
"They’re just into it," Brady said of Buffalo fans. "I mean, they’re into it from the first quarter all the way to the last; from pregame warmups to the end of the game. I think it challenges your communication, so we practice – and we played, last week was pretty loud. We’ve played in a lot of loud stadiums and Buffalo is definitely one of the tops.

"I think the thing that is most challenging is when they’re making plays and sacking the quarterback and turnovers like they’ve been getting a lot of this year. That’s what really kind of gets them amped up."


Lewis not at Patriots practice; Van Noy works out with linebackers


Lewis not at Patriots practice; Van Noy works out with linebackers

FOXBORO -- Though Dion Lewis is expected to practice this week, he was not on the field with teammates Wednesday.

Lewis was eligible to begin practicing last week but remained sidelined. On Wednesday morning, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that the Patriots running back would be on the field this week. Once Lewis does begin practicing, the team will have three weeks to determine whether or not he is activated. 

Newly acquired Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy was present for his first practice in New England about 24 hours after being dealt by the Lions. The 6-foot-3, 243-pounder was working out with Patriots off-the-ball linebackers (Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Elandon Roberts) to begin the session. 

The Patriots have parted ways with practice-squad offensive lineman Chase Farris, it appears. His spot on the 10-man practice-squad unit has been taken by defensive lineman Anthony Johnson.