Too Early To Scuttle Cassel … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

OK, so I’ve listened all week to those who want Chiefs QB Matt Cassel burned at the stake. At the very least, they want him benched as the leader of the K.C. offense.

And while I hate to repeat myself, it’s a must in this situation. If you are a Chiefs fan crying for the head of Cassel, and in the past you’ve moaned and groaned about the organization’s inability to develop a quarterback, then shame on you.

This is what it’s like when an inexperienced quarterback works his way up the ladder in the NFL. It can be exasperating, frustrating and it will produce blood curdling screams. What did you think was going to happen? Forget the $63 million for a moment. That won’t go down as a mistake by Cassel if he fails. That will be a decision GM Scott Pioli has to answer for if it falls apart.

It isn’t anywhere near falling apart. I’m not sure who, but someone declared this week that the only reason Haley is starting Cassel is because he’s being forced too by Pioli. There was something about the head coach really wanting to play Brodie Croyle.

 Let me assure you that whoever came up with that fairy tale has no facts to back up the situation. Let me also assure you that if he thought the Hunchback of Notre Dame would give him a better chance to win at quarterback, Haley would start the guy. Does Pioli want Cassel to play? Sure, his reputation is on the line. But for Haley, it’s his job on the line. If the Chiefs fall flat, the first change will not be made at GM. It will be made at head coach.

There is no doubt the best quarterback on the Chiefs roster – Cassel. Where does this love affair with Croyle come from? God bless Brodie … the young man has put up with a lot of physical pain and frustration in his football career. It would be hard to find a finer person or teammate. But Croyle is 0-9 as a starting quarterback and has been known to suffer an injury or two, or half-dozen.

Understand clearly what I’m saying here. Is Cassel playing well? No. But he isn’t nearly as bad as he’s being made out to be. Does Cassel have to improve? Oh my yes, in all areas. There is no facet of the game where he can’t improve; he must improve. Is he the quarterback to lead the Chiefs into the future? I’m not willing to say that yet. The Cassel-Haters aren’t going to like this, but he needs more time and the fans need an inoculation of patience.

I pulled up the tape of Sunday’s game against Indianapolis and looked at all the passing plays for the Chiefs offense. In total, there were 32 passing plays. Cassel had 29 attempts, he was sacked once and he ran out of the pocket one other time. There was also a completed pass that was wiped out by a holding call on LT Branden Albert. So here’s the raw data and a few observations. We’ll provide conclusions at the end of the numbers. An explanation is necessary on some parts of the grid. B, TE, WR stand for the number of backs, tight ends and wide receivers on the field for that play. UC and SG is under center and shotgun.

First possession

 

Q 

Pass

Play # 

 

Situation 

 

B 

 

TE 

 

WR 

UC/

SG 

 Result   Notes 

1

1

2-and-8

2

2

1

UC

+5 to Copper Quick 3-step pass

1

2

3-and-3

2

2

1

UC

+8 to McCluster Quick throw left

1

3

1-and-10

2

0

3

SG

Inc. to Charles Threw wide. On purpose?

1

4

1-and-10

1

1

3

SG

Inc. to Copper High throw in end zone

1

5

4-and-2

2

2

1

UC

Inc. to Bowe Throws into triple coverage

Second possession

 

Q 

Pass

Play # 

 

Situation 

 

B 

 

TE 

 

WR 

UC/

SG 

 Result   Notes 

2

6

2-and-6

1

2

2

UC

Cassel runs for +1 Boot R, then escapes

2

7

3-and-5

2

1

2

UC

+8 to McCluster Penalty wipes out gain

2

8

3-and-15

1

2

2

SG

+3 to Charles Screen pass instead of draw

Third possession

 

Q 

Pass

Play # 

 

Situation 

 

B 

 

TE 

 

WR 

UC/

SG 

 Result   Notes 

2

9

1-and-10

1

2

2

UC

+11 to Pope Boot right, throws on run

2

10

2-and-7

1

1

3

SG

+12 to Bowe Quick out, throws laser

Fourth possession

 

Q 

Pass

Play # 

 

Situation 

 

B 

 

TE 

 

WR 

UC/

SG 

 Result   Notes 

2

11

1-and-10

1

1

3

SG

+13 to Chambers Waited for 84 to clear

2

12

1-and-10

1

1

3

SG

+6 to Moeaki High throw on sidelines

Fifth possession/3-and-out, all running plays

Sixth possession

 

Q 

Pass

Play # 

 

Situation 

 

B 

 

TE 

 

WR 

UC/

SG 

 Result   Notes 

3

13

1-and-10

1

2

2

UC

+27 to Moeaki Perfect throw on drag

3

14

2-and-3

1

2

2

UC

+7 to McCluster Quick 3-step left

3

15

1-and-10

2

2

1

UC

+5 to Copper Quick 3-step right

3

16

3-and-10

2

1

2

SG

Inc. to Bowe Overthrown in end zone

Seventh possession

 

Q 

Pass

Play # 

 

Situation 

 

B 

 

TE 

 

WR 

UC/

SG 

 Result   Notes 

3

17

1-and-10

1

3

1

SG

Inc. to Bowe 82 drops TD pass

3

18

2-and-10

1

2

2

UC

Inc. to Bowe 82 drops again

3

19

3-and-10

1

1

3

SG

Inc. to McCluster 22 drops ball

Eighth possession

 

Q 

Pass

Play # 

 

Situation 

 

B 

 

TE 

 

WR 

UC/

SG 

 Result   Notes 

4

20

2-and-8

2

2

1

UC

Inc. to 82 Throws away

4

21

3-and-8

1

1

3

SG

Inc. to 22 Escapes sacks throws on run

Ninth possession

 

Q 

Pass

Play # 

 

Situation 

 

B 

 

TE 

 

WR 

UC/

SG 

 Result   Notes 

4 

22 

1-and-10 

2

1

2

UC

+5 to Charles Screen right

4

23

3-and-3

1

1

3

SG

Inc. to Charles Throws wide

Tenth possession

 

Q 

Pass

Play # 

 

Situation 

 

B 

 

TE 

 

WR 

UC/

SG 

 Result   Notes 

4

24

1-and-10

1

1

3

SG

+8 to Moeaki Nice throw right

4

25

1-and-10

1

1

3

SG

Inc. to Charles Short on left

4

26

2-and-10

1

1

3

SG

+10 to Chambers Quick pass left

4

27

1-and-10

1

1

3

SG

Inc. to Chambers Short on left

4

28

2-and-10

1

1

3

SG

+6 to Charles Dumped it left side

4 

29 

3-and-4 

SG 

-5 on sack  Fumbled ball 

4 

30 

4-and-12 

SG 

+21 to Bowe  Huge clutch throw 

4 

31 

1-and-10 

SG 

Inc. to Bowe  Throw to the right

4 

32 

3-and-13 

SG 

+9 to Moeaki   4 yards short of 1st

OK, what does all this tell us? Let’s break it down to positive and negatives.

POSITIVE

  • Led offense into position against the clock for a FG at the end of the first half and an attempted FG at the end of the game. His fourth-and-12 throw to Bowe was clutch.
  • Did not throw a ball that came close to being intercepted.
  • Got rid of the ball quickly and made decisive decisions. He threw away about a half dozen passes.
  • Escaped two sacks with his feet.
  • He threw several passes on the sideline that were perfectly placed, including the one dropped by Bowe for a TD.
  • He had a stretch of nine straight completions.

NEGATIVE

  • Second-half stretch of six straight incompletions and then seven of eight.
  • Tried to force pass into Bowe on fourth-and-two, when FB Tim Castille was open short for a first down.
  • Still tends to zero in on his target.
  • Fumbled and was sacked because of it, but Chiefs kept possession.
  • The Chiefs lost.

Matt Cassel is not one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks. Right now he’s in the lower half of the 32 starting quarterbacks. But understand that right now he’s handling the position in the manner that’s being asked of him. His turnovers are just three after four games. He’s been asked to cut down on the negative plays, and the Chiefs lead the league in the fewest negative plays right now with 17. Those minus snaps include sacks. After getting beat up for the last two seasons, with 40-plus sacks each year, he’s getting rid of the ball faster.

Fans are upset that he doesn’t throw down field often enough. Who is getting open down field? When Cassel threw a perfect pass to Bowe in the end zone, from 30 yards away it was dropped. Earlier this year, he threw downfield to Chambers. He threw it downfield and up for grabs, which sometimes is what happens on the deep throws. To keep the pass from being intercepted, Chambers needed to become a defensive back and break up the catch by the corner. He did nothing and that’s one of Cassel’s interceptions.

It’s time for Chiefs fans to give this quarterback a chance.

NFL PERSONNEL FILE FOR WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13

  • AFC – named Titans RB Chris Johnson offensive player of the week, Raiders S Michael Huff defensive player of the week and Jets kicker Nick Folk as special teams player of the week.
  • NFC – named Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman offensive player of the week, Redskins S LaRon Landry as defensive player of the week and Lions kick returner Stefan Logan as special teams player of the week.
  • BROWNS – acquired RB Mike Bell from the Eagles in exchange for RB Jerome Harrison.
  • CHARGERS – signed LT Marcus McNeill to a new contract that runs through 2015, and reported is worth $48.5 million, with $30 million over the first three years; placed LB Shawne Merriman on the injured-reserve list (calf), ending his season; signed LS Mike Windt, last with Bengals; released LS Ethan Albright.
  • BUCCANEERS – signed P Robert Malone.
  • EAGLES – acquired RB Jerome Harrison from the Browns in exchange for RB Mike Bell.
  • PACKERS – placed S Derrick Martin on the injured-reserve list (knee) ending his season; signed LB Rob Francois off their practice squad.
  • TITANS – placed LB Colin Allred on the injured-reserve list (neck) ending his season; re-signed LB Jamie Winborn.
  • VIKINGS – signed CB Frank Walker, last with the Ravens.

21 Responses to “Too Early To Scuttle Cassel … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • October 14, 2010  - Eric says:

    The main problem I have with Matt right now is that he seems to be getting rid of the ball a little to quickly sometimes. It’s like he is SO focused on getting rid of the ball and not tacking a sack that he is not taking the time to look at his 2nd or 3rd options. On the last play of the first possesion, the TE seemed to be coming open in the back of the endzone, but Matt got rid of the ball quickly to Bowe and threw into triple coverage. If he had waited just a second longer, it may have been an easy TD. There are many other times I have noticed that he has very little pressure but acts as if he has to get rid of the ball. If he can learn to trust the OL (which has played well) I think he will have more succes.


  • October 14, 2010  - RW says:

    I’ve arrived at the point where Cassel cannot be expected to realistically, consistently, win games for the Chiefs. He CAN be expected not to lose them with silly INTs or fumbles.

    On that expectation meter, he’s doing ‘Trent Dilfer’ okay.


  • October 14, 2010  - el cid says:

    You hit it, RW. Calling for Cassel to be traded or benched or lynched is a waste of time. Cassel is a manager of the game and that is about it. At this time, Pioli/Haley seem satisfied with that. Don’t like it, tough nuts. They do not want a QB who may lose a game by trying something he is not capable of. Cassel fits that description. That may be the failing grade of ’10, fear of failure leads to failure.


  • October 14, 2010  - Pat says:

    I think Croyle is a great second string QB. He’s got a good, accurate arm, but I wouldn’t trust him to hold up for very long–because he never has before. Thus, he’s not a good third string QB. If you’re down to your third string, you want someone who isn’t going to get hurt, I should think. But let’s face it, if they moved Croyle up the ranks, it would be less than one game before Cassel as the starter again and Croyle was on a stretcher.

    I do think they need to draft a good QB this year, but I don’t want to see them waste a high draft pick when there are still more glaring needs at other positions. I know it’s still WAY to early to speculate on the mid to later rounds of the draft, but, hypothetically, who might be a diamond in the rough QB option in those rounds? Pioli obviously has a record for finding such talent and getting good results, so it would be great if they could bring in someone who could compete with Cassel or, if necessary, replace him down the line.


  • October 14, 2010  - Edward says:

    LOL fans are never satisfied last yr he held on to the ball too long and took too many sacks according to fans and media this yr he’s getting rid of the ball too fast. And why does every one who always try to bring up something negative about this guy point to that one play where he tried to force it to Bowe on a 4 and 2 as if that was the only pass in the game. Why isn’t anyone talking about part of Cassel 7 straight incompetion 3 of them were drop passes one for a touchdown. Here’s the deal fans and media need to wake up and realize that this guy receivers are lettting him down. Its not an excuse its the truth. Chambers hasn’t done anything all yr. Bowe still hasn’t shown to be a #1 receiver. The only guy out there getting it done is Moeaki. Fans and media don’t want to here that because its almost like its program in their brain to blame the QB when passing game is struggling. If we had Boldin, Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, etc I would understand the frustration because it wouldn’t be any excuses but we don’t. We veteran receivers that is among the bottom in the league at the position and until they at the very least play at the level of Moeaki passing game is going to continue to struggle. The only thing as fans we can hope is a guy like Horne get a shot to get in the game at the position and provide a spark. Right now the play calling isn’t even in sync. I watch Weis call a fade route and we wasn’t in the redzone and I’m sitting there stunned because I’m like isn’t that a play you run in the redzone not on your on 30 yard line. So hopefully as season goes on Weis will get more creative and find ways to get Bowe and Chambers open or at the very least maybe Horne or Tucker can get on the field because they’re more up to speed with the offense and they can provide a spark.


  • October 14, 2010  - Edward says:

    Here’s the last comment I’m going to make about this subject. You can’t really even judge any QB until he has a good o-line and solid receivers. Right now the o-line is good but receivers are garbage so it doesn’t matter who’s throwing the ball if they can’t get open or hang on to the ball has is drafting a rookie QB going to change that. This team is too far along in the process to draft a rookie and we have to live with his mistakes as well as still not addressing the real problem which is finding a #1 receiver and a solid #2 receiver for that matter until it emerges on the current roster or until we address it in the offseason passing game is going to suffer no matter who’s at QB.


  • October 14, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    Edward, TOTALLY agree with you. People bitch and moan when he was holding onto the ball too long, now he is trying to get the ball out and they still complain……like a woman and never happy!! just kidding.

    Look, Im not happy with the play of our qb, and got frustrated last week, but his surrounding cast is a problem and I feel like we need to give Cassel and Wiess some time together, not 4 games…which I may add are 3-1. Like our man Bob said, its too early to judge at this point whether he is a bust or not.

    We have to get a reciever (or 2) next year. period. But for now I will set back and see how he is playing toward the end of the season before I deem him a waste.

    We ARE 3-1–top ot the afc west–best in league with least amount of negative plays–sacks way down–less turnovers–ect–ect–there is some good that he is doing and maybe we could focus on that for a change? But, whats the fun in that!


  • October 14, 2010  - leonard says:

    Bob: I agreee that it may be too early to judge Cassell. The problem is that it is hard to evaluate any improvement. That is what is frustrating fans. But lets not forget, the Chiefs are 3-1. Only loss is to the Colts. Now that is an improvement that is easy to see.


  • October 14, 2010  - el cid says:

    Interesting “last comment”, so what do the Chiefs do in 2010? I guess you are aiming for 2012? What you say is correct but, come on, there is a lot of football to be played. Being 3-0, meant we could forget about “the process”, “just wait til next year, or etc. But being 3-1, we have to rehash how the team is not complete and just wait for that rosy someday future. Sort of sad, really enjoyed the positive side of winning.


  • October 14, 2010  - bhive01 says:

    I was never ready to throw him on the street. I think it would be stupid to bench or trade him at this point, but I wanted to understand why our offense feels underproductive. I agree with Edward that we have two problems: getting open and catching.


  • October 14, 2010  - jim says:

    For all those wanting Cassell’s head, let me ask one simple question. How long does it take, and how long would you give a coaching staff, to DEVELOPE any other QB? One year, three, five? Just askin———

    Here is a fact that I’m SURE no one has ever thought about. A QB doesn’t develope over night, in this case 1 1/2 years. He’s only had a QB coach, O coordinator, the same offense, and the same O line, the same receivers (one which is AWOL, and one who drops most everything)for less than a year. (said sarcastically)

    I’d love a miracle too, but I never EXPECT one.


  • October 14, 2010  - Jimbo says:

    Matt Cassel right now is not a good QB. Blame the play calling, the WR’s, the O line or the man on the moon. Until he gets his reads right, makes quicker decisions & more consistent accurate passes we are doomed if we get 2 scores behind in a ball game.

    Maybe he does’nt lose games (yet) but he sure as heck has me worried about winning a game when you really need him.(I feel the same about D-Bowe) Sure, I’m all for giving him more time, this year & next year too & if he still has’nt improved, Ah heck, let’s give him one more year after that. Cry me a river people, we need him to improve today… Do you hear me Matty Boy?
    Go Chiefs.


  • October 14, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    Im torn right now I guess after reading the comments…but im still sticking with my guns…however it doesnt ever really matter who brady or manning or favre or rodgers, ect ect have as a receiving core, they always seem to produce, they seem to just get the ball to the receivers, fit it in that tight window when a receiver isnt really that open and they find a way to get the ball there…thats what great qb’s do and that is what Cassel is missing right now. Can it change? maybe some, I believe he will get better but just not in the top 5 rated qb’s. But most teams spend year after year after year trying to sign or develop a top 5 qb in the league and never get there…

    IMO, Cassel will be a Trent Green, Cassel is not there yet, or even close, but I think he will…and he will be viewed as a good qb (hopefully), but just not a great one.


  • October 14, 2010  - Kiowa says:

    Give Cassel the rest of the year and maybe next year and if he isn’t producing, then draft a franchise quarterback already! KC never drafts a franchise quarterback and its about time they do so! In all the great years this team has been around, they never draft a QB high and I just dont get it.


  • October 14, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    I don’t want a “great” QB, I just want one that can execute the game plan and be the Leader of the TEAM. When you have a “great” QB, it usually becomes about them and not the team (see peyton) and besides, how many “great” QB’s are there??? Look @ the NFL today, how many are “great”? It’s not like they grow on trees. The jury is still out on cassel and who knows how long they have a verdict, but for now, I will trust Pioli & co. and pray that a miracle happens in Bowe’s life anad Cassel continues to “improve” however he is being graded for improvement?
    And I will add that if we had a TEAM back in ’03, Green probably leads us to the super bowl, was he “great”?


  • October 14, 2010  - Tim says:

    Let’s see where he is at the end of the year. I believe its still too early. We should know by the end of this year. He HAS to get more comfortable in the pocket. To me, that’s the main thing. I believe this is what affects his accuracy as well.


  • October 14, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    dan in joplin,

    I didnt mean to to call Trent great, I meant he was a good qb and hopefully he can be a good qb like trent , but both werent great


  • October 14, 2010  - Nate says:

    Here is the deal – It doesn’t matter a lick what any of us think. Matt Cassel is going to be the QB for the entire season unless he gets hurt. And though Cassel drives me to drink when I am watching him the chiefs are 3-1 with him at QB. The only one whose opinion counts is Todd Haley and we know where he stands. So my only advise is have a cold one when Cassel has you gritting your teeth!


  • October 14, 2010  - Edward says:

    LOL that’s a good one Nate. Like i said I’m for getting rid of the guy if he cause us to lose games but we’re 3-1 with him at the helm. So why change. He did excellent job in second half driving team down field to take the lead in Browns game. 49ers he was lights out. Chargers he got key 3rd down throws to help seal that game. I read someone mention Brady Breeze and Manning makes great plays but all those guys have really good weapons. Manning has hall fame receiver in Wayne. Brady had Moss and Breeze has a collection of good receivers. Seriously if we had 3 Moeaki on this team at receiver Cassel would put the type of numbers we seen in New England. I don’t know what Moeaki is doing but Bowe needs to take his lead and pick up his play. All I read this offseason was how much he has improved hopefully with 13 games left we’ll get a chance to see it and if we do Cassel numbers will rise.


  • October 15, 2010  - Craig says:

    Yes it is too early to give up on Cassel but lets be honest with his stats! Not all completions are because he throws a great ball. Not all incompletions that are close to the receivers are the recievers fault. Our receiver have made some great catches on poorly thrown balls and some drops on well thrown balls. As an example, he hits mccluster on the slant in the numbers in stride we have a TD. Instead he throws the ball a foot above the grown and Dex makes a great diving catch.

    Yeah Croyle has never won a game, but he played behind the worst offensive line the chiefs ever put on the field without a running game. Yes he has appeared to be fragile, but most agree he out played cassel in preseason and put up great numbers in the first game last year he started for cassel. So lets give Brodie his due. If he was that bad we would have cut him.

    Lastly, I agree Haley will play who ever he believes will give his team the best chance to win, just look at the cardinals his last year there. So lets support all. We’re winning for the first time in a long time. Go Chiefs!!


  • October 16, 2010  - Edward says:

    Croyle at playing Cassel in preseaon. Seriously he’s going up against guys who may not even make an NFL roster he suppose to look better. I don’t remember no slant last game to Mcluster. The only passes to Mcluster I remember was a throw to him on WR screen which he dropped right after two consecutive drops by Bowe. Another one toward the sideline which it was a great throw and catch but was wiped out by a phantom holding penalty on Branden albert.

    Cassel has played good thus far this season. His receivers aren’t helping him with drops and gettign no separation on their routes except for Moeaki. If any thinks Cassel can’t win games with his arm go watch highlights of him in New England. That’s all they did was ask him to win games. Which he won 11 of them. Problem here is the talent/performance level of receivers in KC hasn’t been close to good. So seeing that Cassel is QB he’s catching all the blame. Like I said until Bowe plays like a 1st rd pick or at least like the guy we was hearing about in the offseason in real live games passing game is going to struggle. The reason Haley said we had to win ugly this season because I think he understands he doesn’t have receivers to be explosive not the Qb. People for get this guy was a receiver coach so he knows if he’s got good receivers or bad ones. Cassel proven in New England he can win games throwing the football. I Haley understands he doesn’t have the weapons or the weapons haven’t develop here yet to ask Cassel to try to do that.




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