Cassel Spends Day Running For His Life

From Arrowhead Stadium

Among NFL quarterbacks, Matt Cassel is not known for his mobility.

By no means is he a statue that can’t move. But he’s far from one of those passers who can provide his offense with opportunity through his legs. Going into Sunday’s game against Miami, Cassel had run 14 times for 45 yards. That was an average of two runs per game for a little more than six yards.

Sometimes, a quarterback has to do what a quarterback has to do, and against the Dolphins, Cassel had to run, and run, and run. He had to do it if he wanted to stay in a vertical position. The Miami pass rush was intent on having him horizontal.

“We knew this was going to be a major test,” head coach Todd Haley said of the Miami defense. “They’ve got a bunch of guys that can bring it and they’re not afraid to bring additional players. (Defensive coordinator) Mike Nolan does a terrific job of disguising what they are doing.”

The Dolphins had five sacks of Cassel in 44 passing plays, or basically one every nine times Cassel went back to throw, he ended up on the ground.

But that doesn’t really cover the entire waterfront of how bad that pressure was. Cassel ran the ball nine times in the game. That’s nine times when he was supposed to be throwing, but instead was running away from trouble. That’s nine runs, and those five sacks. That’s 14 passing plays where the ball was not thrown.

“You go out there and play the game and sometimes that happens,” Cassel said of the pressure from the pass rush. “They have a good pass rush and we knew that coming in. It came up where I had to get outside of the pocket a little bit more than I had in the past.”

Since he became a starting quarterback, he’s on average run the ball 3.3 times in those 52 starts. Those nine rushing attempts equaled a career high; he did it previously in a 2008 game against Buffalo when he was still in New England.

“That’s on us,” said LT Branden Albert, speaking for the offensive line. “Our guy (Cassel) shouldn’t be running around out there like he was today. That’s no good. We have to be better.”

Invariably three things happen when a quarterback starts getting away from pass rush pressure and ends up running around. First, his completion percentage goes down. Second, interceptions go up. Three, he ends up being carted off the field due to injury.

Cassel fell victim to No. 1, as he completed just 51.3 percent of his passes, far below his season average that is now 60.7 percent after eight games. Luckily for him, he did not throw an interception and he was able to walk to the locker room under his own power.

“Today, I think offensively we just never got into a rhythm,” said Cassel. “Our whole team didn’t get into a rhythm. They beat us in all three phases. It’s one of those situations where we are going to have to go back in and review the film and get back to work.”

6 Responses to “Cassel Spends Day Running For His Life”

  • November 6, 2011  - Chiefs Crash To Earth Against Dolphins : says:

    [...] SIDEBAR: Cassel runs for his life. [...]

  • November 6, 2011  - Ragtime says:

    Seems both of our offensive and defensive lines are too light. They cannot handle physical teams and get no pressure on the opposing QB’s. Haley’s strategy of conditioning with the the lighter lines is not working.

  • November 7, 2011  - brainsmasher says:

    I give Cassel a pass this game. He gets a pass just for making it out of the game alive. Mix in a blitz every now and then, Romeo. Then again, maybe you were and they just did not get there.

  • November 7, 2011  - Flyboy26 says:

    I watched five games yesterday and noticed that quarterbacks on other teams were pretty much, if not more so, under the same amount of pressure that Cassel was. The difference…..their offensive coordinators planned for the pressure and the quarterbacks executed for the most part. Unfortunately Cassel normally responds poorly to pressure because his mind doesn’t function fast enough most of the time. Though I have tried to overlook his flaws since he arrived, I question his intelligence. I certainly wouldn’t want him as my copilot.

  • November 7, 2011  - ED J says:

    brainsmasher nothing to do with lighter lineman more to do with talent Richardson got to be one of worst starting right tackles in the league. I mean lets see what Gaither can do at this point. That performance was awful.

  • November 7, 2011  - cychief24 says:

    Well, I watched one game in person not 5 from TV coverage of close ups and commentary.
    Both of our tackles were whipped on almost every play. They were both pouting by mid 2nd quarter.
    If Pioli thinks Richardson is an NFL starter then he’s incompetent. Albert would be an average RT maybe. Wiegmann is over the hill and pushed around on every play.
    Cassel ran for his life all day. Worst display of O-Line play I have seen in 34 years at Arrowhead.

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