Let's qualify that statement. This is not another one of the 5000 posts that were up all season long debating whether or not he is the QB of the future or not. I'm not going to quote a bunch of stats. So let's not go there. I just wanted to throw out my opinion of what I feel 2010 means for him. And subsequently, if you agree or not.
So for the sake of argument. Let's say it does not matter which camp your in with regards to Cassel being the QB of the future for us or not. Some say he is, same say no. But either way, here's what I think;
I think personally, that Todd Haley is probably just shy of being in love with Ben Roethlisberger. Oooorrrrr....pre-concussion soap opera, Ben Roethlisberger anyway. If what Haley say's is true. He loves a big physical QB. One who will scramble and take a hit and keep on going. He like's Cassel's fight. I imagine if that's all true. Then Haley's favorite QB is probably Ben Roethlisberger. Joel or Chris. You asked us what we would like you to ask Haley once before I believe. Well when you get the next chance to ask him something, ask him who his favorite QB in the league other than Matt Cassel is. I'd be interested to see. I think he's a Big Ben Homer.
He wants a team like the Steelers. He said that remember? He like's toughness. He says that a lot. How Matt never stops fighting. He said to Cassel once "I'd fight in the trenches with you any day". (or something close to that anyway). That being said here's the deal as I see it plain and simple.
Matt Cassel has one year, one season left to keep his job. Here's why;
Haley's handiwork is still showing itself over in Arizona. I know he's not there, but I think they still use a version of his style offense. His "fingerprint" if you will. And his fingerprint is a dynamic passing team. He's also been quoted as saying that he wishes he had a better RB to work with in AZ. So he wants a truly prolific offense. He likes to play the game, the chess game on the sidelines.
He likes that big strike, LOOK MA, NO HANDS type offense. He likes the stress. He out coached the Steelers defense in that game. He got the score and left only a little time on the clock. It was the defense that let them down. He almost got them in the End Zone after that on a couple of plays.
So the Cassel debate will become a moot point after 2010. Cassel either becomes that QB capable of leading a truly prolific offense, or he gets replaced. There's no way Weis is going to settle for anything less than a great Quarterback either. He's always found a way to make that position amazing. He relies on his QB far too much not to. His offense's truly demand a tough, quick thinking, fearless in the pocket QB. Good pocket presence is an earmark of his QB's. For sure. His NFL QB's anyway. I don't know college that well.
I guarantee you they will get a prolific QB in here somehow. I mean if you have to pick ONE common element between Haley's offense's and Weis' offense's, it would have to be the Quarterback's. They get amazing QB's. I just don't see either guy being comfortable with anything less. It's what they do. So, it's just my opinion that Cassel has 16 more games to earn his seat. I believe that. He needs to show marked improvement. And not over time. No. He's past the rookie at being a rookie stage. He's started with two teams and had enough time to at least show improvement. If your not going forward, your going backwards at this stage for him. HE specifically is one guy that has no choice. None. He MUST step up now and take command of this team. He must become a leader of men.
I think that lack of leadership is Cassel's bane. I don't feel that Cassel has OWNED his position yet. He hasn't taken firm leadership and inspired confidence in those around him on the offense he is in charge of. I'm not saying he won't become that type of Quarterback at some point. I'm saying he has to.
He is the field general. He HAS to instill confidence in his line and his receivers. It's his dance. That's all part of being a great QB in the NFL. It's more than just stats and numbers. It's about why Brett Favre and Matt Cassel can throw the same exact pass, to the exact same player, in exactly the same spot. And Brett would get a completion for a TD, and Cassel will get pic'd. I mean all other things being equal. The Favre's in the league have an uncanny ability to get in the heads of their receivers and instill confident play in them. All thing's being equal, the Manning's of the league are confident leaders of men. Their men look to them for leadership and trust them completely.
Again, I'm not debating if Cassel can, has the ability to, or ever WILL become that guy for us. Because that's crystal ball stuff. It hasn't happened yet, so he stil has to prove himself to be that guy. He has to hit the stat that matters most, he has to find a way to win no matter what. No matter what!! It's the difference between Manning playing or his backu Painter starting for the Colts. It's about being a game changer at QB for Haley and Weis.
That's what it's going to take. Because I think Haley wants a Ben Roethlisberger clone. He wants Cassel to scramble if necessary and not just take off running. He wants him to stay upright with his eyes down the field while he's running. To always be a threat to throw it accurately at the last second. Able to shed tacklers. Fearless. Very intellignt, and a fighter. So we either end up with Ben version 2.0 by the end of 2010, or we will be looking for another QB to lead this team.