I've noticed a few posts about Matt Cassel and people thinking he is the man and others thinking he won't be able to cut it. I thought I would throw in my two cents and give my thoughts on Cassel.
First, I would like to disprove the "Cassel's 2008/2009 season proves he is good/bad" arguments that people use to analyse Matt Cassel's potential. It's my view that neither season can be used as an indicator of Cassel's ability. One season he had a stellar supporting cast, the next season he had a bunch of slouches.
Cassel's 2009 season
In Cassel's first season as a Kansas City Chief he went 271-493 for 2,924 yards. He threw 16 TDs and 16 INTs. Those numbers were a far cry from his season in New England. Cassel had a lot working against him in Kansas City. His WR's couldn't hold on to the ball, leading the league in drop passes. His number 1 WR led the league in drop passes and was suspended for 4 games. His offensive line had a shaky start to the season and couldn't protect him. He might as well have not had a RG they allowed that many sacks. For half the season his starting RB averaged 2.7 yards per carry. All those things don't bode well for QBs who, two weeks before the opening game, had their playbook replaced. Those things have to be factored in when analysing Matt Cassel's 2009.
Cassel's 2008 season
In 2008 Cassel had an extraordinary year. He completed 327 of 516 passes, throwing for 3,693 yard. He threw 21 TDs and 11 INTs. However in 2009 Matt Cassel had a lot going for him. He had a future HOF WR in Randy Moss. He had an up and coming great WR in Wes Welker. He had a Pro Bowl LT and Pro Bowl RG in Matt Light and Logan Mankins. He had a great coaching staff. He also had a defense that could keep his team in the game. A QB can't be given full credit for the team's performance when he had that much talent around him.
Now that we've disproved those arguments, how much improvement does Matt Cassel have to show this season for the Chiefs to get where they want to go in the future?
Everyone knows that nine times out of ten you need to have a Pro Bowl-caliber QB to win a Super Bowl. The "Dynasty" teams; 49ers, Cowboys, Steelers, Patriots, all had Hall of Fame QBs during their dynasty years. Then there are the other Super Bowl Champions, the teams that win them on occasions. The Colts have had Peyton Manning, possibly the greatest QB, and have only won one Super Bowl. The Broncos had John Elway for so long but only could win those two Super Bowls, quite literally, at the end of their QBs career.
Granted, more is needed than just a great QB. A good defense helps get you through the playoffs. But without a good QB a team will struggle to get to the playoffs, let alone progress through them. If Matt Cassel cannot fulfil what is expected of him through his $60 million contract, Kansas City will have to go back to the drawing board and figure out where to get their next QB from. But if Cassel can show that it was him who led the 2008 Patriots to an 11-5 record, then the future is bright for the Kansas City Chiefs. An improvement this season to around a 3,500 yard season with more TDs than INTs goes a long way towards returning the Kansas City Chiefs to being a respectable team in the NFL. With continued improvement to the defense and the rest of the offense, Matt Cassel could turn into the second coming of Trent Green. Only this time the Chiefs will have the defense to get them through the playoffs
My view is that he probably falls short of where he needs to be based on his contract. To be paid $60 million you must be among the top 3 QBs. He wasn't quite in 2008. He most definitely wasn't in 2009. A big improvement is needed and he doesn't quite have the receivers or the offensive line to make him that good, and with his contract the Chiefs can't afford to be too patient with him. If he can improve to 3,500 yards and get a better TD-INT ratio then I would probably keep him for another year. Otherwise, he will probably be gone. Let me know your thoughts.