Ok, a few things to keep in mind while you read this. 1) This is a long term view when I say multiple, like 5-10 years. 2) I said can. Not will. Meaning barring injuries or this team not getting the chances I mention below. 3) I usually write up an outline for these and then follow that. I am writing straight from the hip, so be ready for a long one, with a random tangent or two. 4) I don't really deal much in numbers, because regardless of popular opinion, numbers do lie. Don't believe me? Go ask your local science professor what the mathematical pH is of concentrated HCl. While you are at it, ask him/her what would be an accurate definition of an acid. Speaking of too long, my opening is too long to make sense before the jump, so follow me.
It is a common thought in this league that you need to have an elite QB to win a Super Bowl. So who are the elite? John Clayton has 13 QBs listed. Wow. I bet he also thinks the Olympics should give out medals to the top 15 countries or something. There is also Tony Dungy's definitions, as lined out in LadyChief's recent article. Bill Simmons goes as far as saying teams can be ranked by how good their QB is. (If you have the time, go ahead and look through this article, as I will reference it again later. And he picks the Chiefs to win on Monday.) He is more selective and only shows 3 QBs as top tier. I tend to agree with him more here, so we will look at who he lists, in no particular order. Lets take a quick second to outline my definition of what an elite QB is. For me, you can't just be good, but you do have to be at the top of all of those "starter characteristics" given by Dungy (honestly I group all of his characteristics as starter, and I did say you have to be at the top of all of these lists). So what makes one elite? You have you have one quality, in such a high quantity, that you can win any game, any where.
First up is Tom Brady. Forget Matt Ryan, Tom Brady is the Ice King, all the way down to being married to a nordic princess. If you don't believe me, watch the 2 minute drive at the end of his recent game against the Cowboys. He just goes out and does it. He doesn't seem to feel any pressure. Does he hustle? Yeah, but no anxiety whatsoever. He is like Ben Stein, but with hair. Second on the list is Peyton Manning. This guy has to be the smartest QB to have ever played, maybe even the smartest player overall. Sure he has a lot of good physical skills, but all he does is walk up to the line of scrimmage, look for the mismatch, and then throw it there. It would be a fun interview for someone to walk through one of his games and see how many times he doesn't throw to the receiver he selected before the play. I would bet it is less than 5%. Last up is Aaron Rodgers. Honestly I haven't been able to figure out what he does, or how he does it, only that he does. He isn't a huge runner, but he can, and he does it often enough that you have to watch him. He can toss the long ball, or he can dink it on ya. His biggest advantage may be that teams don't seem to know how to beat him yet, other than to literally knock him out (two concussions last year).
So how does Matt Cassel become elite? The short answer is that he doesn't. I like the guy, but not everyone can be the best of the best of the best of the... well you get the picture. So how does a non-elite QB win a Super Bowl in a time when you need that elite team to get one? IMHO this time is leaving us (Thank God). Brady and Manning are getting old, and someone will find the antidote to Rodgers. Cornerbacks and Safeties are getting quicker with better hands, and defensive coordinators are coming up with more creative ways of putting the QB on his back. Backlash from all of the recent pro-offense rules has been huge, and like all things, football will be swinging back to a more conservative style.
The way this affects us is that Scott Pioli is a genius. The first thing to address is the cheap owner thing. A cheap owner does not pay 63 million for a backup QB. Yes that number was inflated a bit because the Patriots knew they could, but still. Cheap owner bullcrap dealt with. So what has the Don brought us? Time to start with a quarterback that he knew. Matt Cassel is no man's bitch. Think Rocky IV. " Come at me, bro" is the perfect way to describe him. Cassel doesn't care what the score is, how hard he just got hit, or who else is on the playing field with him. He will be there waiting for the snap. Anyone want to refute that? No? Ok, lets move on to something that is debatable.
One of his detriments is that he can't toss a long ball. How do you account for this? They are called possession receivers. We have two of em. And a third guy that just loves crossing routes. And (when he is healthy) a pass-catching TE. And a RB that is a classic scat back. Get the picture? Oh and one more thing... because of JC's injury, this season is a bit of a mulligan, so Cassel gets to use actual playing time as practice to get in sync with all of these guys.
I am going to hijack someone else's post again and pull a video from BJ. remember this one? At first glance, it seems a mistake is made. Bowe doesn't run a route past the marker on 3rd down, which is bad right? Look at it again. See it? Doesn't it seem like Bowe falls on the ground really awkwardly? Here is my theory. What I know is that Bowe checks on the CB at the last second. What I believe is that Bowe cuts the route short, and does it leaning into the hit that he knows is coming, so he can spin off and take off for another amazing TD run. For whatever the reason, the CB doesn't, but Bowe still finds a way to get that first down anyways.
This leads me to my final point. Cassel's QBR (new and old) will always be about average, and maybe even a touch low, so (especially starting next season) just ignore it. Because of his less stronger arm (truthfully, calling any NFL QB's arm weak would be like saying TJ is slow. He may not be able to keep up with the rest of the NFL, but I doubt anyone on here, short of a track star, could beat him at the 40), and our WRs being monsters at YAC, our offense will surely be based on just that. High percentage routes like slants will become the norm. You know how Cassel keeps getting knocked for locking onto one person? Ever think it might be partly the system causing that? A receiver on a slant will be open, sometimes it just takes a bit longer for them to make it through traffic.
Ok, to close this monstrosity of (possibly) monstrous garbage is my thesis. Matt Cassel can lead us to Super Bowls because Pioli has surrounded him with quality people that highlight his best features. I really don't care about the sexy, always popular, long ball. Give me a good, solid QB who will never quit or the guy who whines when he can't hear the announcers talk about him (I don't even need to say who I'm talking about there) or someone who is just a reincarnation of supposed "monumental changing of the guard" guys who still hasn't done anything new. Notice that is 4 different links, and none of those guys have won the final game, with only 1 actually reaching it.
Now for the cherry, since 1400 words isn't quite long enough, a poll.