From the FanPosts. Nice conversation topic and nice post schraggy. -Chris
During what is the probably the greatest lull in KC Chiefs football news, I was prepared to write a FanPost to argue that the Chiefs shouldn't draft a offensive lineman with Mel Kiper's 6th overall pick. However, the more I started to look into things, I became more preoccupied with the question:
Why didn't Matt Cassel get better?
Columnists, analysts, coaches, and fans who want to impress their buddies toss around phrases similar to "good protection," "running game," "timing," "accuracy," and "arm strength" to describe the factors a QB needs in order be successful. Obviously these are not the only factors and I'm not pretending to enumerate or elaborate on the qualities of a good QB. What I'm struggling to figure out is why with a better running game, more time to establish WR timing, more time to understand the offense, and better protection, Matt Cassel's production declined.
I know that many of guys and gals (there are at least enough female readers to lead to a KY ad for female sensation) are much better with stats that I am. And I don't think that stats tell the whole story (ie: if Jamaal Charles gets 15 or more carries the Chiefs are 3-4). Nonetheless, I want a lay out a few things.
First, Jamaal Charles saw a drastic spike in his carries beginning in week 10 against Oakland. This means that Cassel had basically 7 games featuring 2.7 and 8 games featuring Charles. In the weeks that Charles was featured, Cassel was sacked on average about 1.8 times a game or 15 times. Without Charles, Cassel went down with the ball in his hand 27 times for an average of about 3.85. With Jamaal Charles featured, the Chiefs won 3 out of 8 games. With 2.7, the Chiefs only picked up one victory in 8 attempts. With Jamaal Charles the Chiefs ran for 1170 yards in 220 attempts (5.18 average). Without Jamaal Charles (as the feature back) the Chiefs managed only 769 yards on 219 attempts (3.5 average). With Jamaal Charles, Cassel had a QB rating of 63.5. Without Jamaal Charles, Cassel had a rating of 78.8. What?
So why didn't Cassel get better? He had a better protection. He had a more effective rushing attack. He had more time in the offense. He had more time to establish timing with his wide receivers.
To be honest, I don't know. I'm hoping some of you can contribute your thoughts on Cassel's late season decline. Nonetheless, I have a few theories, but all of them are loaded with holes.
First, no Dwayne Bowe for much of the second half. I think this was important. Bowe is a big body and a good possession receiver (assuming he catches the ball). So without Bowe, Cassel had new wide receivers, which results in less time to establish a repertoire with his receivers. However, the Chiefs were playing receiver roulette all year. Whether it be Chambers, Copper, Wade, or Lance Long (can we please stop comparing every white slot receiver to Wes Welker), Cassel appeared to have a new target every week. Therefore, it is hard to justify no Bowe as the reason for Cassel's declining second half.
Second, the QB Rating is a worthless statistically enigma. QB ratings are worthless if the team is scoring touchdowns. For example, Cassel was 15/30 against Pittsburgh for 248 2 TD and 1 Pick. The result was about a 100 passer rating. He goes 13/24 for 207 with 0 TD and 1 pick against Denver. The result was a 65 passer rating. He had a better completion percentage against Denver. Nearly the same yards per pass average too. The 45 point difference in QB ratings was only because the Chiefs scored by running the ball. If we go by QB rating, his best game was his 14 for 18 for 90 yards against the Eagles. A game that I have already suppressed from memory. I have no recollection of that weekend. Regardless, one could argue that QB ratings are a bad indicator.
I've been a big supporter of Cassel. I think it meant something when Josh McDaniels would have taken Cassel over Cutler. I'm still a supporter of Cassel. I still believe that we need an OT too. However, his second half decline is disappointing. Reason would seem to indicate that he should be getting better. Maybe it is simply because he became more comfortable in the offense and took some more risks and it cost him. Honestly though, I don't know why Cassel didn't get better. I'm hoping that you guys can help.