Be careful what you wish for.
Matt Cassel was not a good quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs his first 17 games with the team. In my opinion, he was one of the five worst. Many fans were calling for Cassel to be benched in favor of at least seeing what backup Brodie Croyle could do with this offense. Cassel, according to many experts, could be the one weak link preventing the Chiefs from making the playoffs.
All that has changed now. Cassel, helped by the emergence of Dwayne Bowe, has been a very solid quarterback for the Chiefs this year, throwing 23 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. He very well could be headed to the Pro Bowl this year. The Brodie supporters have been silenced, and rightfully so. Matt Cassel’s improved play is a big reason why the Chiefs are 8-4.
Now we’re in a predicament. Matt Cassel had an appendectomy on Wednesday. There is a very small chance he plays on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, and might not play next week against the St. Louis Rams. Whether we want to or not, we likely will get our chance to watch Brodie Croyle under center on Sunday.
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Oh yeah, and by the way: if the Chiefs win, they will, for all intents and purposes, have AFC West locked up and the San Diego Chargers will be eliminated.
Obviously, this Cassel injury could not have come at a worse time, but not all is lost. Yes, Brodie is winless (0-9) all time as a starter. But there is reason to be optimistic. He led the Chiefs to a solid outing against the heavily favored Baltimore Ravens the first week of the 2009 season. This, combined with Cassel’s abysmal preseason performance, led to Haley allegedly wanting to start Croyle over Cassel. That obviously didn’t happen, and Brodie has not played since. Also, people at the Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph said that Croyle looked significantly better than Cassel in practice. Let’s not forget that Charlie Weis and Todd Haley seemed to have “fixed” Matt Cassel; let’s just hope they have put time into “fixing” Brodie as well. Croyle has always been known for having a spectacular arm but also for being very injury prone. Luckily, the Chiefs only need him to last a week or two.
Despite Cassel’s injury, I still think the Chiefs have a great shot to win this critical game in San Diego. This offense has never been centered on the quarterback. The Chargers should expect to see a heavy dose of Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster who make up the number one NFL rushing offense. Hopefully, Brodie’s role in the outcome of this game will be limited, yet he can still make throws. In fact, most people say that Croyle can make more throws than Cassel.
The people, like me, that ripped Cassel for the most part of his tenure with the Chiefs will get to see Brodie in action on Sunday. But we don’t want to.
The Chiefs overcome Cassel’s absence in a close win. Chiefs 24, Chargers 21.