Competition For Cassel … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

When leaders speak only occasionally it can be hard for those that follow to understand the methods, motives and actions of those in charge.

That’s been the case with the Chiefs in the Pioli Era where information spills out from behind the wall in drips. Sometimes revelations come from the words not spoken.

Listening to the words of Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel in the last few weeks has been very educational in one area – the road for QB Matt Cassel in the coming 2012 season has been altered. What for three seasons was a work place where everything was geared to Cassel and his status as the team’s top quarterback is in the process of being shifted to a more competitive environment.

Earlier this week, Crennel was asked how much the hiring of Brian Daboll as offensive coordinator was due to his familiarity with Cassel – they spent two years together with the Patriots.

“I know that Brian had worked with Matt and that he knew Matt, but the important thing was Brian’s development as a football coach and what he’s done in his career,” Crennel said. “It’s more about Brian than Matt Cassel.”

Two years ago or even a year ago, the connection between Daboll and Cassel would have been espoused as one of the keys to the new offensive coordinator’s hiring. Not so in the winter of Chiefs discontent 2012.

From the time he was acquired in March 2009, there’s never been any doubt about Cassel and where he stood in the organization. There was the price paid for him in the trade (second-round draft choice), and the price paid for his contract, $63 million at a time when he was already under contract for the ’09 season. Much was said by Pioli and Todd Haley about competition for every position in the starting lineup and on the team. That first since in 2009, there was competition for 21 of 22 starting jobs.

Left out was the starting quarterback position. Cassel was the man. There was no competition even considered three years ago, two years ago and last year. These are the quarterbacks that were part of the team over the last three seasons: Brodie Croyle, Tyler Palko, Ricky Stanzi, Matt Gutierrez and Tyler Thigpen. The only one that could have provided any competition was Thigpen, but he was dealt away in September ’09 to Miami. In his time with the Chiefs, there has never been competition for the starting quarterback position.

In essence, Cassel got the job and the big contract without proving anything while wearing a red jersey. It was handed to him by Pioli and Haley and not once did he have to look over his shoulder, or wonder if the guy in the clipboard was going to take his job.

This is not any type of indictment of Cassel. That he has been able to make any type of NFL career after being kept away from the field during his college years is a remarkable accomplishment. Cassel’s guts, his dedication, his work ethic – none of that can be questioned. Reading defenses, improving his mechanics, handling the pressure situations, making his teammates better, winning games, winning championships – those are all areas that remain in doubt.

Daboll said he has a lot of confidence in Cassel and his abilities.

“I’ve watched him on tape, I know the player and I’ve also been on different teams that have played against him and heard some of the things that the defensive coordinators have said about him,” Daboll said.

But right now even Cassel’s greatest supporter is talking about the need for competition.

“There will be increased competition at every position, including the quarterback position,” Pioli said last week when he visited the Super Bowl media center in Indianapolis. “Who that is, I don’t know. Maybe it’s Kyle (Orton), maybe it’s another free agent, maybe it’s a draft choice, I don’t know. Very few people can perform at an extremely high level without competition.”

The head coach is in line.

“I know competition makes everybody better,” Crennel said. “We’ll just have to see what kind of competition we’re going to have at the quarterback position.”

If Matt Cassel is the man to lead the Chiefs, then competition will not bother him. He will step up his game and compete. If there is competition to be had, he will face it head on.

It’s imperative that Pioli and Crennel mean what they say about creating a competitive quarterback situation. They don’t talk often to their media and fans; when they do, they must back up their words. It’s easy to say in February that there will be competition for the starting quarterback’s job in August.

We’ll know more a month from now when free agency begins. That’s when actions will trump words.

20 Responses to “Competition For Cassel … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • February 9, 2012  - Blake says:

    Kyle Orton, I think is the number one option to compete with Cassel for the starting job. Some others could include, Henne with the Dolphins he was their starting QB at the beginning of the season last year. If the Dolphins get Manning or Flynn, then they probably wouldn’t want Matt Moore anymore and KC could give a late round pick for Moore. I would love to see KC go after Manning but I cant see it ever happening. I doubt they go after Flynn. I don’t see Jason Campbell as a fit either. Alex Smith if the 49ers let him walk but it sounds like they wont, could be another option.

  • February 9, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    I don’t think that Orton is the answer. He did play well in those three games; got rid of the ball quickly. But considering QB rating for the year he came with about same as Cassel. I got excitied about Matt Flynn but only thing I know about him comes from one game. Manning would make them a contender right now but Clark won’t spend the money. All I know is that Tyler Placo is NOT the answer.

  • February 9, 2012  - Rick says:

    Orton and perhaps Moore, would provide legitimate competition for Cassel, which is why I don’t think Pioli will sign either guy.

    I may be proven wrong on this, and I hope I am, but I don’t think Pioli has any genuine interest in anyone besides Cassel being the Chiefs QB. I think that’s just window dressing when he speaks of competition at every position. Cassel hasn’t had any the past 3 years, why the change of heart now?

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • February 9, 2012  - jim says:

    Nobody has mentioned Stanzi in these convesations, and I really believe, if given an
    chance, he could provide that needed competition we talk about.

    During pre-seasoon, when Stanzi got the opportunity, he made ALL the throws. I would sure like to give him a chance, and hope they do.

  • February 9, 2012  - el cid says:

    Would like someone better than Orton or Moore, just do not have a clue who. Better leave it to Daboll and who he can convince Pioli to bring in. What about Stanzi? Most seem satisfied new OC, now he needs the supporting cast.

    I believe if any kind of quality is brought in at QB, Cassel becomes the backup. Or if Stanzi is the heir apparent, than Cassel starts the year and Stanzi get the job by the third game.

  • February 9, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Cassel may have screwed up with his huge contract. You can’t pay a backup that much money; if he’s not the starter then he’s gone.

  • February 9, 2012  - Blake says:

    Orton and Cassel might have similar QB ratings but Orton is much better. He threw for 300 yards in 2/3 starts. He might take more chances with the ball but he moves the team down the field and actually threatens the defense when they stack the box to stop the run. I think with Pioli saying that there will be competition at the QB position then that means he isn’t completely sold on Cassel. I mean if he had Manning or Brady at QB he wouldn’t do it, so I think it is because he doesn’t trust Cassel as much as he use to. I think Stanzi needs one more year before he can compete for the starting job. He looked like the best QB last preseason but the leadership isn’t there.

    I truly believe that if Orton isn’t resigned then Henne will be brought in to compete with Cassel.

  • February 9, 2012  - txchief says:

    It might boil down to Cassel and another second/third tier QB next season, as the rookie QB crop is very thin after Luck and RGIII. Moving up to take Griffin is nice fantasy, but mortgaging the franchise with multiple picks to get him would be the wrong thing for the Chiefs in the long run.

    Personally, I’d take Orton over Cassel any day. He looked good in his three starts last season and Kyle has proved more on the field that Matt during his career. If the Chiefs are able to get Charles, Berry and Moeaki healthy and resign Bowe and Carr, a Chiefs team with Orton at the helm and some reinforcement on both lines could be a real contender. The addition of another RB like Richardon from Alabama might also allow the Chiefs to contol the clock and grind it out on the ground. (I’ve always been a fan of Chuck Knox). One could also hope that Stanzi might mature and have a chance now that Haley’s House of Horrors (R) has left town.

    I’m also issuing an alert to other readers that Matt Cassel is being set up to be the next martyr on this site. If he is cut during the offseason or training camp, it will suddenly be the worst event in Chiefs history since the drafting of Turd Blackledge or Brian Jozwiak. Such an event might even rival the termination of Todd Haley or Carl Peterson.

    We shall see.

  • February 9, 2012  - cychief24 says:

    Stanzi is a flake. He took a senior laden team to a 7-5 record his senior year. He doesn’t work or study hard. From my seats he looks thrilled to hang with the kickers away from the offense with baggy shorts and his hat backwards like a teenager.

    We need an NFL quality QB to challenge/back up Cassel. Very few NFL QB’s make it through 16 games. Even though Orton’s picks cost us the Division he would be a solid back up. Jason Campbell would provide a challenge, IMO.

    Above that is the needs at O-line and nose guard.

  • February 9, 2012  - el cid says:

    I sat at games last year and tried to watch the action on the field but, gosh cy, to watch Stanzi during games, boored or mancrush?

    And to interprete what you see as being “thrilled to hang around the kickers, et al”. Wow, what an ability to evaluate talent. Might see if the head scout position is still available, Pioli could use you badly. Never see him practice or in meetings but you know.

  • February 9, 2012  - Josh says:

    The Chiefs have zero chance of making the superbowl, let alone winning it, with their current QB roster. If they don’t draft or pick up a stellar veteran in free agency, it will be another mediocre year/decade/era.

  • February 9, 2012  - Blake says:

    cychief24, I completely disagree, one of the biggest strengths of Stanzi has been that he is always in the film room watching film and studies very hard. That was one of the reasons Pioli drafted him, he saw how hard he studied game film. Who cares what he dressed like, he knew he was never going to get a chance this season so why worry about what he looks like on the sideline?

    I don’t blame us losing the division on Orton’s picks. If anything it was because of Orton that we were still even in the playoff hunt, we never would have beat Green Bay with Cassel, Palko, or Stanzi.

  • February 10, 2012  - Milkman says:

    If you look at Cassels and Ortons stats and qb ratings from the last 4 years you’ll see they are very similar. The biggest difference I noticed between the two after having the benefit of watching Orton play in a Chiefs uniform was his ability to have more control in dire situations. Has anyone else noticed that Cassel has all of his best games when everything is working well ie,a good running game, an early lead, or the help of defensive score(s)? And wasn’t it nice to see our quarterback break that 300 yard plateau, even if it was just 2 games? Having said all that, I still doubt that either quarterback will lead the Chiefs deep into the playoffs. But while we wait for the one that does, I think Orton gives us a better chance of improving our passing game and developing any young recievers we have on the roster this year.

  • February 10, 2012  - Chuck says:

    The thing that concerns me the most about Cassel (and yes Iam serious) is the fact that he seems to crumble in the truly big games. He does not play well under pressure from the defense. If we had played the Giants this year in the Super Bowl he would have thrown atleast 2 picks and been sacked atleast 3 times. He just isn’t an elite QB.

  • February 10, 2012  - el cid says:

    I really dislike saying this but EVERYTHING we saw or did not see last year (may have to throw in the previous year also) was warped. For whatever reason Haley did things no HC should have.

    I cannot stand Pioli because he did not do everything possible to put the Chiefs in a position to win. But we will never know what that was shaped by nutty relationship with Haley.

    All that has changed. Haley, as a OC, may succeed and that makes Pioli the bad guy in KC. Pioli has his NEway guys in place, two yes men who he is comfortable with. NOW let’s see what happens!

    Year one and counting. If Chiefs stay the lowest payroll this year, Clark and Pioli are the cheap sobs some think they are. If they dip into free agency, different guys. The AFC West is nothing, but if Crennel and Daboll can get deep into the playoffs, maybe Clark was right. YEAR ONE AND COUNTING

  • February 10, 2012  - iwriter says:

    A question for you El Cid… If you were a free agent and the chiefs were courting you and you really wanted to win a super bowl would you go the chiefs if Cassel was quarterback? I personaly think most would not. Hence not sure if the chiefs are so cheap or whether they are not looked on as a team people want to play for because we do not have top level quarterback. Hey if no one wants to play for a mediocre quarterback then we lose leverage….plain and simple. We would then have to way over pay and even then the free agent may not come our way…

  • February 12, 2012  - cychief24 says:

    el cid.. another weak attempt at personal insults again eh?
    NFL Short cuts show every play in 30 minutes by cutting out everything between the snaps.
    One of the things I love about my seats in the front row upper deck on the 25 behind the Chiefs bench is that we can see what goes on during the MANY TV time outs.
    If you really go to the games, you know that.
    Like I said el, weak.

    I do feel sorry for you. How can you follow a team when you “can’t stand” the men than run the franchise. It must suck to be you ;)

  • February 12, 2012  - el cid says:

    iwriter, right again. Not sure what we, you or I,can do about it. Cassel seems doomed to be here for his entire contract. Some posters feel he can still be the answer, not me of course.

    So what do we do? Sunday, it was posted in several sources that Clark says he will spend the money he banked over the next 2 years to bring in talent. Believe him or not, what can we do but wait and hope.

    If you think I need to love Clark or Pioli to be a Chiefs fan, you must be a employee of the Chiefs or Clark or Scotty. How many wanted Carl tarred and feathered but according to you “how can you follow a team you “cant’ stand”, pretty easy. Although reading your drivel does make it a bit taxingt.

  • February 12, 2012  - ED J says:

    Cassel will have solid season if he gets the start still feel he’s to far behind curve to ever be elite. IMO we need bring back Orton because with this offense and improve oline he has capabiltiy to consistently play at elite level. IF that doesn’t happen I can still see Campbell, Matt MOore, or Chad Henne coming here just because of ties with Zorn or Daboll. I still see cychief hating on Stanzi. Truth is though he may turn out be best option. Bottom line is kid got 4yrs of college experience which automatically puts him ahead curve against Cassel. Along with stronger arm and better accuracy. MY personal opinion is if he continues put in work he’ll be starter before season’s over with. Even with Cassel playing well this season which I think he will he hasn’t been durable last couple seasons. If he gives Stanzi window to play this yr I think he want get the job back. But we’ll see could be wrong but I definately think Stanzi has all tangibles and intangibles to be good QB in this league but we’ll see. Going to be interesting offseason in KC this yr.

  • February 12, 2012  - ED J says:

    Oh yea people please stop bringing up Alex Smith I’ll take Cassel over him any day. I think you give Cassel that defense he get 49ers to Super Bowl. Don’t want Smith he’s worst than Cassel. Manning I doubt would want to play in cold weather city and he’s going to pick where he wants to go not other way around. Even though Manning with better oline here in KC along with pieces we have in place makes this team instant Super Bowl contender he’s not going to see it that way. I think Manning wants to play in warm weather city or in a dome. Which probably going to have him ending up in South Beach. Either way like I said its going to be fun offseason and training camp.

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