Monday night notes: Chiefs confident in Palko

FOXBOROUGH — Time to check in with a few notes on the Chiefs-Patriots matchup Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

  • Patriots WR Deion Branch thinks the familiarity angle between the teams — Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and DC Romeo Crennel have New England ties — is a little overplayed given the Patriots’ personnel has turned over so much. “Coach knows us,” Branch said, “but he’s not the one playing.”
  • Patriots CB Kyle Arrington believes consistency is the key for the defense, with the recent improvement being “it felt like we were playing for one another.”
  • The Chiefs aren’t exactly sure what they’ll get with QB Tyler Palko. The Patriots have been through this drill before in 2001 with Drew Bledsoe and 2008 with Tom Brady. “No one knows until they play,” one official said.
  • Palko is known within the Chiefs facility as a first-in, last-out kind of worker. He’s more of an athletic-type of quarterback, but has worked very closely with Cassel and brings that frame of reference to the offense. The Chiefs don’t plan on changing much in their offense with Palko.
  • Chiefs WR Steve Breaston said that Palko knows the playbook, can scramble and his teammates know they can count on the quarterback mentally.  “He’s the kind of guy we want to make plays for,” Breaston said. … He also noted that teammates have started growing grungy facial hair in solidarity with coach Todd Haley.
  • The Chiefs still think the AFC West is a race, and the brass  is proud of how the team has fought for each other. One such moment came when CB Brandon Flowers was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week, and immediately said LB Derrick Johnson should have won. “That shows progress, a young team starting to get it,” said a team official. …  Breaston shared this thought on the AFC West: “This is anyone’s division.”

— Albert Breer 

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