Last night the Chiefs lost their final preseason game to the Packers 20-19. In typical Haley fashion, he surprised the Kansas City faithful and played the starters for a good portion of the game. Without further adieu, lets take a look at Matt Cassel's performance.
15 of 17 for 129 yards. 1 TD and 0 INT
Negative: While Cassel had an above average game, he still didn't throw the ball for a lot of yards. He didn't throw the ball down the field which still concerns me. I don't expect him to air it out, but Cassel needs to make the defense respect the deep ball. Hopefully when Baldwin gets back on the field this will change. He's the prototypical jump-ball type that a quarterback who struggles with accuracy would die for. We'll see how much he matters as the season starts.
Positive: As I mentioned before, Cassel struggles with accuracy. I know, I just dropped a bombshell on all of you. Now I realize he didn't make a ton of challenging throws, but 15 of 17 is still excellent. He accrued a good while not spectacular amount of yards before leaving with the wind knocked out of him. Cassel was under consistent pressure throughout the game with Ryan Lilja being out and Richardson being in. Yet he did exactly what Kansas City needs him to do going forward. He completed almost every pass and kept the chains moving. McCluster looks like he will really help the passing game in his new role, which is ironic considering he's now a RB instead of a WR.
Cassel was the quarterback last night that this team will need most games. He was a game manager that had the team moving and looking effective. Let's not lose perspective though. It was against the second team of the opposition and Cassel didn't exactly light it up yardage wise, which is why he didn't get an A.
I liked seeing the offense get into rhythm in some facets of their attack. That being said, the offensive line has to come together for this team to keep getting better. If Barry Richardson takes one holding penalty against Buffalo, Haley should send him to the other sideline. Heck, it seems like Richardson is getting paid by the other team anyway. None of this is an excuse for Cassel, just a simple fact. He's not Aaron Rodgers, he needs the team to perform at an optimal level in front of him.
The real test starts soon, really soon.