Week One is in the books. As we all know, the season didn't start out the way any of us had expected. The Chiefs were blown out 41-7 at home, their second largest margin of defeat at home in team history. However, this post is only about one man. Let's evaluate how he did.
22 of 36 for 119 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT
Negative: I can't state it any plainer than this: Cassel threw for 3.31 YPA. To illustrate how bad that is, he's the only quarterback in NFL history to complete 22 or more passes and not throw for at least 120 yards. Some may say that's the fault of the play calling, but we'll get back to that point. Cassel also threw an interception and other passes were forced into traffic.
My biggest problem with Cassel surfaced multiple times on Sunday. He absolutely refuses to look off his primary receiver. In the third quarter Cassel threw the ball to Jamaal Charles on a shallow cross. Charles was wide open, but Cassel took so long to throw the ball after staring him down that Charles took a vicious hit to the knees. Luckily he was okay, but those types of things are unacceptable.
Positive: Cassel had a higher completion percentage than he normally does. Granted, his throws were short but he still completed the throws he made. He did throw a touchdown pass and almost had two, but Pope couldn't reel in a circus catch. At times, Cassel looked poised and made good throws.
Overall Grade: 50
Cassel didn't do enough to give the team a chance to win when the game was within reach.
Great (and even very good) players turn the tide by making a play when your team is flat. Cassel never did that. I will grant that Bill Muir did quite possibly the worst job of play-calling this side of Mike Solari, but it's not an excuse anymore.
I watched a lot of football this weekend, and I have to admit I'm wrong about something. I've long said that Matt Cassel could get the Chiefs to a Super Bowl. I really thought he would progress into a better player this year and take the proverbial "next step". He hasn't.
Cassel simply doesn't go through his progressions. The Chiefs have weapons on the field, plenty of them, and Cassel doesn't take advantage of it. He has no deep ball, and never makes a throw that truly scares the opposing defense. When you watch the elite QB's in this league, they have the ability to put a team on their back when need-be.
I'm not saying this loss was Cassel's fault. It wasn't. The defense gave up 41 points and our coaching staff did an embarrassing job of getting the team ready. So bad that Bill Muir couldn't watch anymore and just went to sleep. My point is that Cassel did nothing to rally the troops. I still believe with a great team around him, the Chiefs could go to a Super Bowl with him, but never because of him.
The Chiefs are a very talented team. My stance on that hasn't wavered one bit. With Cassel they can be a good team at the moment. If Kansas City had an elite quarterback right now however, they could possibly be great (assuming the rest of the team played like we know they can, which apparently is a massive if). Cassel is a true professional. He works hard and leads by example. He's just not talented enough.