Brew: Cassel’s time to shine
- Aug. 15, 2012
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Matt Cassel has never really earned the approval of Kansas City Chiefs fans. Some fans continue to debate his ability to play quarterback. After throwing for 3,116 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2010, Cassel followed the season with a dismal performance. The eight-year veteran threw for 1,713 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also throwing nine interceptions in nine games of action.
This year could be different. In the first preseason game, the Chiefs defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-17. Cassel looked very sharp, completing five of his six passing attempts and throwing for a touchdown on the first drive.
That opening drive is a good sign for Cassel, but now that brings expectations. There are no excuses for him to struggle.
The Chiefs and Cassel lost key members in the offense last year for the season. Runningback Jamaal Charles and tight end Tony Moeaki both watched from the sidelines as the Chiefs offense struggled, finishing the season as the 27th best offense in the National Football League.
Now, those two players return and they join a slew of offensive threats. If wide receiver Dwayne Bowe signs his franchise tender, the receiving corps would be solid with Bowe, Jon Baldwin, Steve Breaston and Dexter McCluster. The Chiefs added tight end Kevin Boss to go with the electric Moeaki. Also, the Chiefs added running back Peyton Hillis to complete the one-two punch with Charles. Even the offensive line improved with the signing of right offensive tackle Eric Winston to provide more protection for Cassel, who was sacked 22 times last season.
To complete the supporting cast of offensive weapons, the Chiefs hired offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. In Cassel’s monster year in 2010, the coordinator was Charlie Weis, who worked with Cassel for many years and used the same offense in Kansas City that was used when they were both in New England.
Many quarterbacks can have the best talent in the world, but if they aren’t in the right system, they tend to struggle. That’s where the hiring of Daboll becomes important. Daboll has a history with Cassel from New England and this should help Cassel feel comfortable within the offense.
Cassel’s time in Kansas City has been a roller coaster. He started slow in 2009, performed well in 2010 and fell flat in 2011. With all these additions and the offensive help around him, Cassel has no choice but to perform well. If he doesn’t become a leader and control this team, the Chiefs could go in another direction at quarterback. Expectations are high in Kansas City and Cassel will be a big reason whether the Chiefs make or miss the playoffs.
—Edited by Ethan Padway
Pat Strathman is a journalism major from Seneca, Kan. Read more from Pat Strathman.