This off season has been dominated with talk about the future of quarterback Peyton Manning, future stars to be in quarterbacks Robert Griffin and Andrew Luck, and in Kansas City the question of who to bring in to compete and or replace Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel.
Speculation has been that Chiefs GM Scott Pioli is tied to Cassel and that he believes Cassel is the guy to lead the Chiefs to the Superbowl. The Chiefs threw their hats in the Peyton Manning circus which is understandable and to me requires no need for any justification, Manning is Manning plain and simple. Kyle Orton is now a Dallas Cowboy which leaves Cassel and Ricky Stanzi as the only two quarterbacks on the Chiefs roster. I’m sure the Chiefs will bring in another quarterback at some point this off season but make no mistake Cassel deserves to be the Chiefs starter this years’.
Cassel By The Numbers
The three year stint by Cassel in Kansas City has had its highs and lows. In his first year as a Chief Cassel threw 16 touchdowns to 16 interceptions, with a quarterback rating of 69.9 in 15 games. This being his first year lets not discount the firing of his offensive coordinator Chan Gailey right before the first game of the season. What stands out the most about the 2009 season was that Cassel was sacked 42 times. In 2010, Cassel threw a career high 27 touchdown passes to 7 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 93.0 in 15 games. I credit the improvement partially to the then new offensive coordinator Charlie Weiss, but what stands out the most is that Cassel was sacked only 26 times which was exactly half from the previous year. Which brings us to this past wacky 2011 season. Cassel had 10 touchdowns to 9 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 76.6 in only 9 games due to injury. In those 9 games he was sacked 22 times which would have put him on pace to be sacked 43 times had he played the entire season. I believe horrible offensive line play was a huge factor in his 2 down years along with having a carousel of offensive coordinators while in Kansas City.
The Obvious Is Obvious
The injuries that the Chiefs had last season made the biggest impact on both sides of the ball. Losing Tony Moeaki for the season took away the tight-end position for the entire season. Leonard Pope, Anthony Becht, and Jake O’Connell did not contribute to the offense in any way shape or form all year. The loss of Jamaal Charles was the biggest contributing factor to Cassel having a sub-par year. When there is no threat of a running game the defense plays the pass by default. This is also the reason Dwayne Bowe had a significant decrease in his numbers from the previous year. It is simple football 101, you need all of your strengths as a football unit to benefit from all of your strengths as a football unit to keep the engine turning in perfect time.
Enjoy The Show
As I hope you can see now Matt Cassel alone is not to blame for the woes of last season . He deserves this season to show what he is capable of. One thing I have seen in Cassel is his fiery competitiveness, I truly believe he wants to win. Yes, for the fourth consecutive year he will have a new offensive coordinator, however there will not be a Todd Hailey to cause crazy insane happenings at Arrowhead. If Pioli truly believes in Cassel and its safe to say that he does, he will address the offensive line via free agency or the draft. Cassel will once again have healthy weapons around him and it is now up to him to take this team to the next level. If he fails it could be the end of his and maybe Piolis time in Kansas City.