Well, I've already talked about why I feel that this upcoming game is huge for us. But there's one issue that I didn't delve into on that post. Maybe it was my habit of not talking about all things Cassel. Maybe I was in a hurry. Maybe I didn't eat enough fiber that day. I don't know, but I completely missed something pretty important (you're waiting with baited breath, right?)
This game is big for us so we can prove that we're a consistent team. Want to know what player on our team has the most to prove in that respect? If you don't know, then dear God please stop telling people you're a Chiefs fan.
Matt Cassel is our most talked about and scrutinized blah blah blah blah you all already know this. You also know (if you've been paying attention) that in 21 games with our Kansas City Chiefs, he has yet to post a passer rating of over 90 in two consecutive games. In fact, one could make the argument that he has yet to have two GOOD games in a row. I don't mean decent, I mean actually good games.
Last year after playing pretty well against Dallas he was at best mediocre against Washington. After a great ending in Jacksonville (for him, not the team) he played awful against Oakland. After a very nice Pittsburgh game he was below average while we got pounded in San Diego. After Cleveland and a solid game, he was terrible against Cincinnati.
Not one instance of two good performances in a row. I'm not here to talk about the line, or WR's, or the running game. I want to focus on what Matt Cassel can do this week against a bad Jaguars team.
To put it simply, he can do what he has yet to do for us; play well two games in a row. And I don't mean be OK, I mean be a direct contributor to a win (as he would have been last week had our D just managed one stop in the 4th). I want to see a performance at least nearly as good as against Houston or San Francisco. I want to see solid quarterback play.
The table is set. The Jaguars are struggling. They've had a short week. Their passing D is terrible. Our running game is clicking. Our defense will likely give him plenty of opportunities while looking to atone for last week. It seems like the coaching staff finally figured out how to use Bowe last week. He could not ask for a better situation.
When you look at Cassel's year in New England, you see that he really, really struggled out of the gate. In fact, he only had ONE game in which he threw more TD's than INT's before Week 11. Week 11! Then he went on an absolute tear (also as the coaches adjusted the game plan to fit his skills) and never looked back aside from a hiccup against the "we kill and eat quarterbacks" Steelers defense.
Now I thought about that, and I wondered to myself, "How much longer would it take for him to settle in here than in New England? Inferior receiving talent, a new system, a first year coach who was trying to do it all himself, the whole 2.7 debacle, a worse O-line. Has Matt just been settling in?"
Short answer: I have no idea. But what I CAN tell you is that if he has another good game against the Jaguars, that'll mean that 3 of his last 4 games have been good games. It would also mean that he'd FINALLY put two good games together in a row for us. It'll mean that teams will have to at least CONSIDER the pass when they play us.
I have to be honest, even though I will support Cassel either way (as our starting QB), I don't really know if I'll have much faith in him to ever turn it around if he can't string two in a row together at this juncture. Like I said, everything is lining up for him to play well. It's about as good a chance as he's ever going to get.
Now, it's crazy to pin all your judgement on a single game, so I'm not saying that if he plays poorly against Jacksonville that he'll never ever do so. What I AM saying is that my hopes of him doing so are going to be severely, severely diminished.
So in addition to this being a game where the Chiefs as a whole can show that they can be consistent, I'm now going to think of this game as "Cassel's Big Chance". Because (and I know this sounds defeatist and pessimistic)... If not now, when?