For those of you who are already calling for Cassel's head: ease the noise. Matt Cassel is playing behind the 28th ranked pass blocking Offensive line, which is going to be a major adjustment for him to make given where he came from, and his playing style. There are two criticisms of Matt that I think are so far fair. 1) he reacts to pressure when it isn't there 2) his pocket awareness is off.
1) hes getting knocked around more than he had been used to, but mroe so, his time to make a play has been slashed. He is going to take a while to calm down from his current state of constant alarm.
2) Once he does the above, he wil settle and be more able to hang in the pocket when he does have time.
A criticism I do not feel is just is that he is a bad decision maker. Trent Dilfer dinged him on having difficulty making it through his progressions. I see why he is saying this, but I don't think that is what it is. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning progress throught options at light speed. Cassel is much more recursory and methodical. If his decisions were bad, he wouldnt have one of the best completion % in the league(08) and best TD-INT ratio. He is just very analytical about progression reads. Ben Roethlisberger is the same way. Even with a good line, Ben takes a lot of sacks. Cassel is the same way and thus got sacked a lot even with NE's line. It's just how he plays, and the offense should be adjusted to fit this. While like Ben, Matt Cassel takes longer to finish reads, and is very mobile, but he lacks the sort of arm strength ben has. Cassel is not a guy who is going to consistantly beat you deep. He is more of a mid range passer who hits guys in front of the defender. Since he has a poor line, Haley shold be drawing up plays that use a lot of hot routes, slants, crosses, and comebacks. Hot routes cut down the need for long reads and let him get the ball out of there fast. assuming it is executed well, he will be making a lot of 6-12 yd completions that keep us away from 3rd and long and the offense will speed up. Cassel can make those throws all day as he has shown. Even when guys are covered he can slip the ball right into the spot it needs to be. Cassel is very accurate passer with the ability to beat you underneath every time. So far both of his INTs were more so fantastic plays by the defender than out of place passes.
A good, detailed reader
mobile enough to get away or save/extend plays
He just needs to calm down and play to his strengths. Haley has also got to trust him enough to let him beat his opponent instead of calling draw plays on 3rd and 15. The thing that I fell makes calling for Cassle's head the silliest is that he has been thus hardly had anything asked of him other than make it to the end alive.
Let him loose Todd.