Can An Average QB Become Elite? AKA Matt Cassel



Wouldn't that be nice to see again?  A super bowl winning QB on the roster.  Yes it would Chiefs' fans!  We as fans have waited far to long.  A life time for the most of us.  Due to my age, I didn't get to see Len Dawson on the field for Kansas City and that makes me very sad that I didn't get to experience that.  The best QB play that I can remember seeing is Joe Montana and Trent Green and those were very fun years to be a Chiefs fan for the most part.

 While watching Matt Cassel this year and the Chiefs very slow start, I wondered if Matt Cassel could become that QB that we all want him to be.  I did quite a bit of research into what makes an QB elite and how they become that way. So, AP let's take a look at the characteristics that make a quarterback elite and what makes a QB a starter in the NFL.

According to Tony Dungy, there is starter characteristics and elite characteristics . Let's examine the starter characteristics first.

1) Intelligence.  The smart QB that makes all the right decisions most of the time.  He can read defenses and understand their weakness' and exploit them.  He also understands and picks the hot route that his receiver runs. From watching Cassel he does some of these things well some of the time.  I wish he was more consistent.

2) Poise Under Pressure.  The ability not to panic under pressure.  He also should be able to sense pressure and respond to it accordingly and keep your eyes down the field when hurried and don't let it distract you from making the wrong decision.  Okay, Matt  YOU panic to easily.  YOU also get happy feet when their isn't any pressure.  I guess you must be a fan of Queen!

3) Accuracy. The ability to get the ball to his target down the field by either using short or long passes in other words choose the play that would give his target the best result. IE. touchdown or move the chains. I think that improvement is needed in this area.

Next, let's look at the characteristics that make a quarterback elite.  For this section, I will use Dungy's list for this too.

1) Mobility.  This of course is the ability to use your legs to get in or out of the pocket when trouble is on the horizon or to buy some time.  Cassel does this some of the time and at that not very well.

2) Arm Strength. We all know what this is.  Matt Cassel just doesn't have the ability to stretch the field, in order to make the passing game more of a threat.

3) Touch.  This is the ability to make all of those tough passes right in your receiver's hand and make the defender look like crap and the fans wondering How in the hell did he do that?  All elite quarterbacks have this ability.  I have seen Bowe make spectacular catches.  But is this due to a poorly thrown ball?  My guess: probably.

Besides characteristics that make a QB a starter or elite there are other contributing factors that will make him successful in the NFL.  These are the things that scouts and general managers may look at when making their quarterback selection.

1) Personality/Brain Typing.  In !992, a man by  the name of Niednagel developed a system for "brain typing" in which it would be used as a tool for figuring out which athletes will be elite. Brain typing is correlated with personality traits and success of the athlete.  The best type of "brain typing" for a successful NFL quarterback is BSTP (extraverted, sensing, thinking, and perceiving).  The quarterbacks that have these traits are as follows: Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas, Dan Marino, and Terry Bradshaw. This brain typing was used by the Colts when they drafted Peyton Manning.  At the time, the Colts were interested in Ryan Leaf too. Niednagel had consulted with the Colts on this issue.  Evidence also suggests that environment also played an important roll in Manning's development. (Spieler,p24)

2) Practice. Researchers have discovered that an athlete needs to log in over 10,000 hours of practice in order to have full mastery of a particular set of skills.  This is most important after the age of 12 and it comes even more important at the ages of 20-23.  Why the ages of 20-23?  That is the most likely age that mastery of a skill occurs with males. (Spieler, p28)  I think this is a important fact to consider with discussing Matt Cassel since he was not the starting quarterback in college and a back up in New England.  However, Roger Staubach did not become a full time starter until the age of 29! and at that point of time he was used as a care taker. (Byme, 2008)

3) Coping With Adversity.  Researchers have also found this is important predictor of success for an athlete.  An athlete that has experienced adversity many times can handle it better in a more emotionally positive manner. This coping skill can be developed through dealing with personal strategies or competing for the starting position.  (Spieler,p29)  For example, Matt Cassel and Brett Favre playing while dealing with the death of their fathers.

In conclusion, I still don't know if Matt Cassel can become that elite quarterback.  I did not find any definitive proof that this could happen.  In many articles that I read the closest I came to was Tony Dungy's thoughts on the subject.  Most articles would state more research is needed or that there was too many variables.  My gut instinct says he can't because some of the factors that I have discussed.  So, AP take the poll and tell me what you think

Sources for this post:  Quarterback Characteristics According to Dungy from the SB Nation Blog Dawgs By Nature
The Definitive List: Top 10 NFL Quarterbacks by Kerry J. Byme  from the website Cold Hard Football Facts
Predicting Athletic Success: Factors Contributing to the Success of NCAA Division 1 AA Collegiate Football Players by Martin Spieler, Daniel R Czech, Barry Joyner ,Barry Munkasy, Noah Gentner and J. Long from Athletic Insight The Online Journal of Sport Psychology

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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