Chiefs Bye Week Breakdown: Quarterback

Peter Aiken

Over the next four days we'll be running a series here on Arrowhead Pride that will break down each of the positional groups for the Kansas City Chiefs through the first six games.

Welcome to Bye Week Breakdown here at AP. All throughout the weekend and into Monday, we'll be exploring the expectations heading into the season and the results so far for the Chiefs. Of course, it's easy to say something negative and point to the 1-5 record, but our hope to is uncover more about why the Chiefs are where they are as well as expose some highlight areas.

Let's get started with the Chiefs quarterbacks.

Expectations
There were decent-sized expectations coming into this season for Matt Cassel and the offense because of the 'upgrades' that were brought in during the off-season. It may be hard to think way back to a few months ago but the signings of Kevin Boss, Peyton Hillis and Eric Winston were met with optimism that this Chiefs offense had surrounded Cassel with enough talent that the offense could succeed.

Matt Cassel has thrown 11 interceptions and has four fumbles through the five games he's started this season. I don't think the expectations were abnormally high before the season for the Chiefs offense, and even the biggest Cassel critics couldn't have seen a drop-off like this with the personnel that was brought in around him this off-season. To be fair, some of those interceptions and at least one of those fumbles (Gray) may have been charged to Cassel, but the responsibility lies with another player.

Highlights
Welp, the 'highlight' of the season for the QB position for the Kansas City Chiefs is a 3rd and 5 pass play in the only game the team was won this season. It was a nine-yard completion to Dwayne Bowe from Matt Cassel in overtime against the New Orleans Saints that set up the game-winning field goal for Ryan Succop.

Yep, that's the highlight for me. A third down completion of nine yards. Sure, there have been other great plays resulting in better looking highlight reels, but take away that one completion and you might be taking away the only victory the Chiefs have this season and when it comes down to it victories are the only thing that matters.

Lowlights
It hasn't been pretty at quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs this season. Whether it was Matt Cassel for the first five games or Brady Quinn last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, things have looked bleak. There are probably several plays that everyone could think of as far as a 'lowlight' so far for this season but there's one that really stands out to me more than the rest.

The Cassel fumble on the 1-yard line against the Baltimore Ravens. It doesn't get any worse than fumbling what could have potentially been a game-winning touchdown on the 1-yard line on a QB sneak on first down. Ugh.

Synopsis
The way the Kansas City Chiefs team was built it was imperative the quarterback doesn't do one certain thing, turn the ball over. A team built on a running game and playing field position with a once-thought, above-average defense should be enough for the team to be successful. The problem is the team couldn't stop turning the ball over and let's be fair about this, not ALL of those turnovers have been on Cassel.

Criticism of Cassel's play is warranted but that doesn't mean a free pass is given to others not doing their jobs. Jamaal Charles has fumbled the ball, Dexter McCluster has now had TWO plays where balls have bounced off his hands and ended up returned for touchdowns by the defense. Dwyane Bowe has had balls go through his hands into a defenders and so has Tony Moeaki.

It's definitely been the most frustrating position for Chiefs fans to watch and it'll also the most interesting to follow for the remainder of the season. Does a healthy Matt Cassel come back as the starter or do they stick with Brady Quinn? Doesn Ricky Stanzi get any time later in the season if the Chiefs are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention?

It's definitely the story line to follow for the rest of the season and even into the off-season as the idea of a QB being drafted high for the Chiefs seems almost inevitable at this point.

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