Kansas City Chiefs: Matt Cassel

Cassel deserved better legacy with Chiefs

September, 27, 2013
9/27/13
11:15
AM ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Though legions of Kansas City Chiefs fans will disagree, it’s good to see Matt Cassel getting another chance. He will start for the Minnesota Vikings against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in place of the injured Christian Ponder.

Cassel
Cassel
Cassel didn’t work out for the Chiefs. No argument there. The Chiefs needed to move on, for his sake and their own, and credit to John Dorsey and Andy Reid for wasting no time in doing so.

As for his time with the Chiefs, I’m not sure there was a quarterback alive who could have done much more in a rotten situation than Cassel did. He quarterbacked one division championship team in four seasons and for a peek at how that season would have turned out without him, take a look at the one 2010 game the Chiefs played when Cassel was out with appendicitis. They were shut out in San Diego.

The atmosphere was hardly conducive to winning during those four seasons, the same years the Chiefs were guided by Scott Pioli. So many different agendas, so many people pulling in different directions, so many offensive coordinators (five) over four seasons. Then there was the irritating style of Todd Haley, who by the way is in the process of ruining Ben Roethlisberger. What might have happened had Haley not run off Charlie Weis, who left a job as an offensive coordinator for an NFL playoff team to become an assistant in college?

There’s a reason Peyton Manning, once he became a free agent last year, wanted no part of playing for the Chiefs. He’s no smarter than the rest of us, but it was impossible to mistake the signs of a hopeless situation.

No matter how solid the situation was, Cassel wasn’t going to be a Hall of Famer. He clearly doesn’t have that kind of ability. But even a Hall of Famer wouldn’t have been successful the last four seasons in Kansas City.
Gud Bradley, Andy ReidAP PhotoGus Bradley and Andy Reid are looking to get off to fast starts with their new teams.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Fans know a lot about their favorite teams, but they don’t have the same depth of knowledge of the 31 other teams in the NFL. That’s not going to be a problem any longer.

Each week the NFL Nation writers will team up Q&A style to help you get a handle on each team. Today, Kansas City Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher and Jacksonville Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco help break down Sunday’s matchup.

Michael DiRocco: Is Alex Smith really an upgrade over Matt Cassel?

Adam Teicher: He had better be or the Chiefs are in some trouble. Cassel and Brady Quinn turned over the ball far too many times last season. One thing we know about Smith is that he hasn’t thrown many interceptions. He threw just 10 in his last 25 starts with the 49ers. So he’s been a quarterback who protects the ball, and if he can just do that, he’s already an upgrade over Cassel and Quinn. Another thing: Andy Reid’s West Coast offense will succeed if the quarterback completes a high percentage of throws. Smith completed 70 percent last season. If he can get close to that number this season, he’s even more of an upgrade.

Teicher: How patient will the Jaguars be with Blaine Gabbert on Sunday and this season?

DiRocco: This is a make-or-break season for Gabbert, who must prove he’s capable of being a franchise quarterback. That’s the team’s No. 1 goal for the season, so there will be a certain amount of patience. It does no good to give him a half or one game and yank him because the team will essentially be where it was heading into the season. That being said, if Gabbert really struggles during the first two months of the season, then the team will have its answer and may turn to Chad Henne or the recently signed Ricky Stanzi for the remainder of the season.

DiRocco: What’s the biggest change Andy Reid has brought to Kansas City?

Teicher: It’s a change brought by Reid and John Dorsey, the new general manager. Everybody seems to be pulling in the same direction. The Chiefs went through plenty of infighting the past few years and it was dragging them down. People often had their own agendas or felt they had to align themselves with one person or another. Dorsey and Reid swept that out the door. Winning looks to be the only goal and it certainly appears everybody is on board with that. Of course, it’s easy for a new administration to have everybody on board when it’s undefeated. So it’s an issue to keep an eye on once the Chiefs start losing some games.

Teicher: What are the biggest changes Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell have brought to the Jags?

DiRocco: On the field, it’s on defense, where Bradley is implementing a more aggressive attitude and trying to rebuild the secondary with bigger, more physical cornerbacks -- essentially what he did in Seattle. Off the field, Bradley and Caldwell have changed the culture in the locker room. There’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm around the franchise even though everyone knows that the talent level needs a significant upgrade and the team likely isn’t going to reach .500. It was a much-needed boost, because the atmosphere around the team the past few seasons under Jack Del Rio and Mike Mularkey had become somewhat stale.

DiRocco: Some NFL experts have pegged the Chiefs as a playoff team just one season after finishing 2-14. What are a few things that have to happen for that to become a reality?

Teicher: They have many good players, but from the GM to the coach to the coordinators to the offensive and defensive system to the quarterback to 29 other players who didn’t play for the Chiefs last season, there’s a lot new here. How quickly Reid and his staff can pull everything together will be a key. The Chiefs have a favorable schedule the first half of the season and they need to take advantage because it gets more difficult after that. On the field, the Chiefs have to fix a turnover differential that was minus-24 last season. Their defense and special teams have to do a better job of providing better field position for the offense. This offense won’t make a lot of big plays, and if it has to go 80 yards on every possession, it will be a struggle.

Teicher: What are realistic expectations for the Jags this season in terms of number of wins?

DiRocco: I kind of let that slip in my earlier answer, but a six-win season would be the best-case scenario for the Jaguars. Four or five victories seems more likely, though, especially considering the team has back-to-back road games on the West Coast, plays San Francisco in London, and has to play at Denver, Indianapolis and Houston.

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