Matt Cassel needs to deliver for the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football

Matt Cassel needs to step up against the San Francisco 49ers

Sunday’s matchup with the San Francisco 49ers is important for the Kansas City Chiefs, and particularly for Matt Cassel.  The Chiefs are 2-0 for the first time since 2005, when they went on to be 10-6 on the season.  However, the Chiefs are relying on a much less dependable quarterback in 2010 than the one playing in 2005. Through the first two weeks, Cassel has just 244 passing yards. Trent Green had significantly more than that in 2005, racking up 420 yards in his first two games. If the Chiefs want to stay above .500, Cassel will have to learn how to throw like an NFL quarterback.

Cassel currently has an abysmal 55.8 quarterback rating. Let’s just say that if he finishes the year with statistics that are this bad, I see little chance he plays quarterback for the Chiefs in 2011.

Yet, the Chiefs are in first place of the AFC West at 2-0, and with 2-0 comes an opportunity to be 3-0 heading into the bye week.

Enter the 49ers, who are much better  than their 0-2 record might indicate. San Francisco provides an awfully tough matchup for the Chiefs; their run defense is phenomenal, they have one of the best running backs around in Frank Gore, an elite tight end in Vernon Davis, and a passing attack that has been much more effective than anticipated that is led by quarterback Alex Smith. This is a 49ers team that, on paper, is much more talented from top to bottom than the Chiefs. But so were the San Diego Chargers.

With a win on Sunday, Kansas City can turn talk of a surprising 2010 start to legitimate discussion of a playoff race. Undoubtedly, the fans at Arrowhead Stadium will give the Chiefs a better chance to win this game… but they won’t win this game. Not unless Matt Cassel steps his game up in a big way.

The Chiefs won’t get much going on the ground with Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles against Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis and the rest of the 49ers defense. No one does. Thus, the big plays will likely have to come from the passing game, which so far has been pretty much worthless.

The Chiefs coaching staff have babied Cassel this year. While other players clearly have been criticized by the coaching staff (including Chris Chambers, who took the blame for an interception that was badly underthrown by Cassel), when asked about Cassel’s struggles, we get the response that the passing game is “an eleven-man operation.” After the Browns game, when asked about Cassel’s performance, Todd Haley thought it’d be unfair to criticize Cassel when he hadn’t watched the tape yet. This is a complete joke. Haley is a smart guy, and in my opinion a good football coach. He knows that his quarterback sucks, he can tell when his players are playing well or not playing well without watching the tape; he just doesn’t want to talk about it or admit that his boss, Scott Pioli, made a huge mistake in giving a career backup such a large contract. When the Chiefs won against the Chargers, but Cassel sucked, the coaches said that he took care of the ball. Which is true. Hooray for not throwing interceptions. When the Chiefs won against the Cleveland Browns, but Cassel sucked AND turned the ball over, the coaching staff points out that winning is winning. I like Todd Haley and the rest of the Chiefs coaching staff, but they should stop making excuses for Cassel. If the Chiefs lost, but Cassel threw for 300 yards, I seriously doubt they’d be criticizing his performance. But as much as the coaches have babied him, number 7 will have to man up on Sunday because his team will need him to perform well.

This is not a must win for the Chiefs, but it would be huge if they pull it off. Don’t expect the Chiefs to do much against the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, but if they can get out of that stretch 3-2, they will be in a phenomenal position to win the division, given their very easy schedule.

I don’t think the Chiefs win this one because I don’t have any confidence in Cassel. I predict the 49ers beat Kansas City 17-14, and I hope Matty C steps up and proves me wrong.

Oh, and free Jamaal Charles.

11 Comments Say Something
  • The Chiefs got away with a lot vs. the Browns (and the Chargers for that matter). They will have to let JC free and they will have to have a crafty game plan if they are going to put some points on the board.

    The Chambers play wasn't all of anyones fault. Cassel did underthrow it but CC still should do something to prevent an interception. I'm not saying he has the size to go up and get the ball but he should have done something.

  • Tom, I agree… If the Chiefs, particularly Cassel, don't step up in the passing game tomorrow against the 49ers, weeks 5 and 6 against Indy and Houston will be murder.

    You would figure the Chiefs would try to get their passing game going against Cleveland, a much lesser opponent, rather than wait until the stretch that includes 49ers, Colts and Texans, all teams which will be much more aggressive and successful in their offensive game plans.

    The Chiefs chance of winning against Indy and Houston go from about 30% to 5% without a passing game that can even HOPE to keep up with these high powered offenses.

    I would be happy with 3-2 after 5… The problem, the Chiefs must get to 3 first…

  • Josh- I'm not saying it was all Cassel's fault. but it was clearly underthrown, and Chambers took all the blame for it. ridiculous.

  • Matt Cassel needs to step up against the San Francisco #49ers #NFL #KC #Chiefs Blog by @tomfehr

  • I hear you, Tom. For me, I still think Cassel can be a good QB but he just isn't cutting it. I wouldn't feel comfortable with the game in his hands in the last minutes of the game. That's not good. He may be able to do it but I just don't think he reads the field that well. That means he probably can't be fixed. Maximized maybe but he probably isn't a long term starter in this league.

    At least Pioli didn't give him baseball money. I think Cassel was an ego signing for Pioli. He found Cassel and, in his system, the QB doesn't have to throw long passes but he could have waited a year to write up a contract.

    I want to see Weis call a good game and give Cassel the best chance to win the game whenever that opportunity presents itself. I am tired of hearing the excuses as well. If only that Culter for Cassel trade that Josh McDaniels wanted went through.

  • Who wants to drive to Iowa with me to recruit Jeff Garcia from the Barn Stormers?

  • RT @ChiefsCommand: Matt Cassel needs to step up against the San Francisco #49ers #NFL #KC #Chiefs Blog by @tomfehr

  • Pioli signed a "career backup" that he saw lead his team to a 10-5 record – 11-5 if you want to count his relief stint against the Chiefs in the opener – the year before he got here. Cassel's numbers were pretty good, better than 60 percent completion percentage, 21 TDs, 11 INTs. 270 yards rushing.

    Meanwhile, the Texans essentially do the same thing. They bring in a 'career backup' in Matt Schaub. He throws 24 TDs and 19 INTs his first two seasons in Houston.

    Then, something magical happens. He introduces himself to Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter.

    Here's the deal though. D-Bowe is not Andre Johnson. I'm not sure he's Kevin Walter. Derek Anderson has Larry Fitzgerald, he's woeful. But he might get better.

    I want to see what Cassel can do with actual weapons. Mainly because he's actually PROVEN he can do some things with quality weapons.

    Here's my question. Why is everyone calling out Cassel not calling out Bowe? Bowe's a No. 1 pick that gets excused for everything he does.

    Prediction: If Bowe gets his head out and actually plays well, Cassel will have a good season. If not, I say replace the receiver and see what happens.

  • Oh, and you can thank Cassel for Cutler being out of Denver and – as a result – Marshall being gone. So, he kinda helped make Denver worse. That should be a positive right? haha. Just a joke guys.

  • I simply don't understand why the Chiefs wouldn't bring in a proven veteran to backup Cassel… Are they worried about hurting his feelings?

    As far as Bowe goes, I'm done with him… He has done nothing to show me he is a #1 WR, then again it doesn't seem as if Cassel can read a defense, so Bowe maybe wide open, while Matt Cassel waits and takes a sack.

  • I would have been happy swapping Cutler for Cassel as soon as the Chiefs traded to acquire him… I mean the Broncos really wanted Cassel.

    I don’t buy into the “you don’t trade within your own division” mind-set.

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