Leftovers From Tampa

Somewhere Between TPA & MCI

There is definitely one part of the Chiefs play on Saturday night against Tampa Bay that showed it was improved from this point in 2009.

That’s Matt Cassel and the first-offense’s passing game.

Cassel is throwing the ball quite well these days and that was evident against the Buccaneers. Let’s remember that Tampa Bay is not a contending team and its defense leaves much to be desired. But he was on the mark Saturday night, missing on only five passes. One of those was to stop the clock at the end of the second quarter. Another incompletion came when a pre-determined route didn’t create an open receiver and he threw the ball into the Houston bench.

Here are Cassel’s passing numbers for the first two pre-season games last year and the first two this August:

Season

Att.

Cmp.

%

Yds.

Avg/Att

TD

INT

Sacks

LG

Rating

2009

20

11

55.0

114

5.7

1

0

3/16

20

88.3

2010

27

20

74.1

150

5.6

1

0

3/20

17

99.3

There are a lot of factors at play here beyond Cassel. The offensive line is better; not significantly improved but just at RG there’s a big improvement with Ryan Lilja over Mike Goff. The receivers are better. Remember, it was well into halfway through the season when the Chiefs were still adding wide receivers to improve the talent level at that position. Last year, Bobby Wade was their third receiver. This year it’s Jerheme Urban – that’s a major upgrade. Last year at this time, the head coach and offensive coordinator were obviously not on the same page, because Chan Gailey lost his job about a week later.

But the credit for the improvement must go to Cassel. He’s worked very hard in several areas, including his accuracy and getting rid of the football quickly. The Chiefs passing offense is still not picking up enough yardage as Cassel is essentially compiling the same sort of completions, short ones. More games, more time for the offensive line to work together, and that should generate greater times to throw.

SPREADING THE WEALTH

Another thing that Cassel is doing well is distributing the ball. Against Tampa Bay, he completed passes to eight different receivers in the first half. In a little more than one quarter of work against Atlanta, he connected with five different receivers.

That’s Cassel completing passes to 13 receivers in two games. The Chiefs have had 14 receivers catch at least one pass in each of their pre-season games. There are seven backs, five tight ends and 10 wide receivers on the roster, a total of 22 targets. In two games, 19 of them have caught at least one pass.

The only guys shutout so far have been TEs Tony Moeaki and Jake O’Connell and WR Terrance Copper.

“We got into every game with an idea of how we want to get the ball in the hands of certain receivers,” said Cassel. “We got those things done in this game tonight.”

SPREADING THE WEALTH/PART II

The Chiefs do not have many positions of depth, but one of them is running backs. They are averaging 141 rushing yards per game and they have five of the league’s top 100 rushers after two games. Against the Bucs, Jackie Battle ran for 59 yards, Thomas Jones 29 yards, Jamaal Charles 26 yards and Williams 10 yards.

They all present a different style. Jones is the classic, hard-nosed style. Charles is the 21st Century-type NFL runner, with the ability to plan his foot and roar up the field. Battle is a slasher and the guy who gets the short yardage and goal line run plays. Williams has been the biggest surprise, as the second-year back has shown speed, quickness, moves and power when necessary.

Throw in Kestahn Moore who did not play against Tampa Bay because of injury and the Chiefs are going to end up cutting a running back who can play in the league.


6 Responses to “Leftovers From Tampa”

  • August 23, 2010  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Thanks Bob. What you report should be a warning for both the owners and players. If they are foolish enough to delay the season significantly the fans should let them know that the sport is not sacred. I’ve said before and will repeat that I’ve been a football fan my whole life but if they do something like change revenue sharing significantly (as some of the owners want) and thereby alter the competitive balance of the game I will not spend another dime on the sport and will find other things to do in its place.


  • August 23, 2010  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Thanks Bob. What you report should be a warning for both the owners and players. If they are foolish enough to delay the season significantly the fans should let them know that the sport is not sacred. I’ve said before and will repeat that I’ve been a football fan my whole life but if they do something like change revenue sharing significantly (as some of the owners want) and thereby alter the competitive balance of the game I will not spend another dime on the sport and will find other things to do in its place.


  • August 23, 2010  - chris says:

    Are the years mislabeled?


  • August 23, 2010  - Petey says:

    That’s a hell of a throw-away, all the way to Houston’s bench :)


  • August 23, 2010  - Donald says:

    I was thinking the same thing Petey. That’s quite an arm! :)


  • August 23, 2010  - Tim says:

    I watched one of the game replays…into the 3rd qtr. anyway. One thing was glaring to me: Tyson Jackson has no clue how to disengage in order to deal with 2 gaps. Once he’s in contact with another, he can’t get off. He has few hand moves & seemingly very slow feet. He’s the profile type for the position, but something isn’t firing on all cylinders with him… I’d run at him every time.




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