I was going to stay out of it. I really was. There really aren't that many people on AP who complain about Cassel. And most of them that do bring up some legitimate points about him. There are times that I wonder how he'll do the next time we face a defense that shuts down our run, or when we're down ten in the 3rd.
But I guess I have a lot to say after maintaining Cassel Silence for so many weeks, so I'm going to go ahead and put something out there. Also, as you can tell from my name, I reside in Vikings country, and I had a unique chance to get some perspective on Monday night, and some thoughts from an "outsider".
Now I know that Chiefs fans are the best in the world, but let me tell you, Vikings fans love their team with a nearly delirious passion. They are all about the men in purple around here (aside from the occasional Packers fan). And I can tell you another thing about Vikings fans... they are the most CRITICAL group this side of Eagles fans. I can't say I blame them. Their team has won as many Super Bowls as the child in my wife's womb. That has to wear on them. And this year... Well, it's been rough for these guys.
Well, this Monday I had a chance to be in a car with a buddy of mine who is a huge Vikings fan. We both love football, and he was giving me props on our (ahem) division leading Kansas City Chiefs. He talked about how good he thinks Dexter McCluster and Tony Moeaki look, and how improved our defense has been. He went on and on about these guys,
and told me that our draft looks like by far the best of 2010.
My buddy's a good guy, so he's pretty happy for me. But I could sense an edge in his voice. I myself know the pain of having to talk to the fan of a good team while my team is playing awful. So I tried to change the subject to something maybe not so good about our team (you know, to show him that it's not all sunshine and lollipops in Chiefs World right now. Misery loves company, right?).
So I said this exact sentence, "Well, it's not all great, man. A lot of fans are pretty unsure about Cassel, you know. He's looked all right, but we're not really sure if he's the guy that-"
I got to exactly that point in my sentence when for the first time EVER my friend (who is a pretty mild mannered guy) started hollering at me. I can't remember word for word, but I remember pretty closely...
"Are you kidding?! Are you KIDDING?! You guys are bugged about Cassel? He's thrown for way more TDs than picks, hasn't he? Aren't you guys 4-2? Didn't I see him in the top ten in quarterback ratings?!"
I nodded slowly, not sure how to respond to this very unexpected outburst, and not wanting to provoke him into assaulting me while I was driving (he had the "crazed fan" look in his eyes).
He then said, "You want to trade quarterbacks?! Ours has thrown TEN PICKS this year!!!! He's the reason we've lost at least two of our games! He literally lost us two games this year! How about Cassel?"
I had no idea what to say, so I told him that many of us blame Cassel for the IND loss. He then went off again, having watched that game live,
"Didn't Cassel throw for a touchdown to tie the game? But Bowe dropped it? Are you KIDDING?! That's not losing you a game, that's MAYBE just not doing enough to win. But our quarterback is ACTUALLY LOSING US GAMES! If we had your guy we'd be 4-2 right now!"
I was again at a loss for words. No one had ever, ever said anything like that to me before about Cassel. The best I'd ever heard any non-Chiefs fan say was that he was good enough for now. But here he was, a devoted Vikings fan telling me that he wished that his team had our quarterback.
After that, my buddy calmed down and apologized for losing it like that. He said it's just been tough this year, seeing a lot of this kind of thing
And nothing really even resembling this kind of thing
The last thing he told me (before we switched to a less delicate subject, politics) was that we should be grateful we've got a QB that at least keeps us in games (I'd never thought of Cassel as that kind of QB) and not one that can take away our chances of winning at any moment.
You know what? I have no idea if Matt Cassel can lead us to victory against stud defenses. I don't know what he'll be like if we reach the playoffs (against all odds, if you remember this offseason). I don't know if he'll keep improving (I really hope he does). But I do know that as far as QB issues are concerned, ours aren't really that big a deal. We're 4-2, leading our division, and our QB has helped us win and (maybe) just as importantly not shot us in the foot.
I asked him today what I should say if I used him as a post here on AP, and he told me to tell you crazy people (which, let's face it, includes all of us including me) this...
"Bad quarterback play is when your quarterback is the reason you lost, or at least a big part of it. Brett Favre has been bad. You guys haven't seen bad quarterback play this year."
I don't know if I agree with him totally on that statement, but I know I've got a lot more perspective on our quarterback now.