Well the academic semester is over so I can get back to the important things, like blogging about the Chiefs.
I have been, for quite sometime, a Matt Cassel proponent. I have now concluded that continuing to sing his praises would make me a Matt Cassel apologist.
My initial impression of Cassel was that he was an accurate, mobile passer. He doesn't have arm strength the NFL likes but that's easy to overcome if you're a good decision maker. Jamarcus Russel has a mega arm, but he's an awful QB. Rich Gannon had sub-par arm strength but found his way to a superbowl. That criticism aside, I've observed traits in him that cause me to doubt that he can be a legit NFL QB.
First, his decision making is not what it should be. This is very evident by his amount of sacks taken, and also his low INT rate. A low INT rate sound like an odd indicator for bad decision making, but I will explain. Cassel is less of a bad decision maker than he is a NON decision maker. He hold on to the ball to long and ends up getting sacked or runing a lot because he throws very safe passes. He's not willing to put the ball in a tight spot which every QB has to do sometimes. When the obvious completion is not there, he gets sacked. It it is there, he throws the pass for a completion or a drop. Cassel doesn't throw few INTs because he's accurate, it's because he only thows the obvious completions. His high completion % in NE was due to conservatism, not great accuracy.
Second, his fundamentals are just bad. Watch him throw and you will see a guy who is lunging his whole upper body forward as he releases. This is due to two things, I think. His arm strength is not that high, so he has to generate extra thrust on the ball by putting his weight into deep passes and fast passes. The other aspect is that Cassel is a pitcher. His throwing motion is completely that of a baseball pitcher. He lunges and releases low. Nearly all of his passes are line drives, which is bad for anything but a laser down the middle. Cassel is good a throwing straight down the middle, and that is why. His line drive passing gives the ball an awkward angle for downfield passes which contributed, IMO, to Bobby Wade's epic drop. I don't recall seeing him drop a pass into "the bucket" as most passers do. Good QBs have upright posture and high release. Watch how Manning and Brady stand when they are throwing, and that is what you will see. Brodie Croyle actually has very good passer posture as well, but he's obviosly no Manning.
Speaking of Croyle, that brings me to what to do if Cassel is indeed not the answer. I remember reading after we drafted him that Croyle had 1st round talent but dropped the the 3rd due to durability questions. We have watched Croyle fall flat(literally and figuratively) in games, but if the first half of that assesment of his talent is accurate, maybe he has developed some of that potential. I'm not saying Croyle > Cassle, i'm honesltly not sure who is better, but I'd guess the difference is not much either way. Do I think you could have put Croyle into the Pats offense and won 11 games? I do. I would not outright bench Cassel for Croyle, but if games get out of hand, I put him in and tell him that he has a chance to make Cassel's job less safe. Since I doubt Croyle would convince anyone he's the guy, you then bring in a guy in the offseason and lunch a battle for the starting nod. Go get a guy that isn't big on the radar, comes cheap, but has the tools to succeed. It had to toss a name out there that fits that bill, its Brian Brohm. He a smart player with good mechanics and a big arm. You may not know who he is, but he's alot like Matt Ryan.
There it it, I've done an about face on Cassel. I know he's got a bad line and WR's who drop like rain. That aside, i still think he would not be able to play consistantly at the pro level. I really, deperately hope I'm wrong. I would Love for the Chiefs to have a long term solution at QB on their hands, but I fear that they have again errored.