This a follow up to my What the Chargers Game Means For the Future post. This game, by itself, wasn't that interesting, but is worth writing a post about simply because of how the Chargers game came out. That post, in short, noted that Cassel did extremely poorly in the first 10 quarters of the year, and then caught fire and dominated the second half. I thought that the play calling up to that point had been very conservative, and then it opened up, and that that was the driving force behind the sudden improvement.
This meant the Vikings game was interesting by default. Would Cassel go back to struggling, or would he continue to perform well? I never thought he would be able to perform at the same level as the second half of the Chargers game (If he could, he'd be one of the best QB's of all time), but if he came into the vikings game and did even fairly well it would indicate good things to come in 2012, even if Stanzi takes his place. So how did Cassel do? Was my optimism justified?
To factor out the fact that the Vikings are a relatively weak opponent, I compared Cassel to the other three QB's the Vikings had faced up to this point. The Vikings' previous three games were against Rivers, Freeman, and Stafford. Rivers is elite, Freeman is very good, and Stafford, according to seemingly everybody, is "OMG look it's Stafford he's so amazing!!!!" good. So if Cassel can play at the same level as these guys it would be very encouraging indeed. So, here are the NY/A of the four QB's who played the Vikings. See if you can spot Cassel:
(Note: I use NY/A because it is the best stat for measuring how good a passing attack actually is. To see a more detailed explanation, check out the link to my last post above)
The answers are 1. Freeman, 2. Cassel, 3 and 4. Rivers and Stafford.
Overall, this looks pretty good. Actually, it exceeded even my expectations. Last year, the best passing team was San Diego with 7.8 NY/A, and they were blowing the #2 team out of the water. The average last year was 6.2 NY/A and Cassel's average was 6.2.
Usually, you would expect his numbers to go down without Charles, because now defenses can focus on stopping the pass. But since half time at San Diego Cassel has actually improved his numbers. Of course, we'll be facing tougher defenses in the future, so I don't expect Cassel to average 7.7 NY/A for the rest of the year, But if he can finished the year above 6.5 it would be a very, very good sign for the future.