"But you and I, we’ve been through that!" the Thief, he kindly spoke, "These preseason games, they’re but a joke…"
To paraphrase Dylan, Yes, these are but preseason games, but we are seeing some disturbing trends. Crennel is starting his first training camp with the Chiefs. We have a new OC. Our OL is significantly improved. We have what seems to be a serviceable RB tandem. Our receiving corps is the best it has been since the Vermeil era. We have three capable TE’s. Our defense was among the elite last year.
So why are we 1-2 this preseason? Yes, these games mean nothing. However, how we lose these games does mean something. First, our lone victory was against a team that had been away from its training facility for over a week when we played them. Our offense came out and took charge, and their offense sputtered all night long. What has happened since? The thing that jumps out at me is the QB. If you look at the stat sheets, Cassel’s off to a very good start. His completion percentage is very good. However, until the Seattle game, he hadn’t attempted anything deep. Even against Seattle, down two or three scores, most of his passes were underneath the coverage. Secondly, Cassel is still locking on to his receivers at least half the time. . I noticed this right away in the AZ game. He locked on to his TE, and NEVER moved his head to pull the defense away from his receiver. To cut to the chase, we appear to have the same mediocre QB we’ve had for the past four years.
The games against the Rams and Seahawks should serve as wake-up call to Crennel, and most importantly, to Pioli. This is the way this season will look; teams will be moving their corners up and locking on to our WR’s near the line of scrimmage (since Cassel doesn’t go deep). They will play the run tight with their front seven. It only makes sense. It is obvious the Chiefs plan to grind it out with a run-first offense. Cassel isn’t a "come-from-behind" QB. Both the Rams and the Seahawks quickly took leads of more than a TD. From then on, they just pounded on our D. The problem with our attack is that our offense didn’t keep the opposition offense off the field. Consider for a moment the ’10 season. How did it start? With an improbable victory on a Monday night. The team rode the emotion of that win for the next four weeks. I view this season in a similar fashion. We must win our opener against the Falcons! If we lose that game (and they are equipped to play us exactly like the Rams and Seahawks) I forsee us finishing the season below 500, and drafting in the top 10 next April. That is why it is imperative that a fire be lit under Cassel, or he be replaced by Quinn.
Consider the effect Tannehill has had on the Dolphins, the effect Wilson has had on the Seahawks, the effect Dalton has had on the Bengals. Actually, the list goes on;, Weeden, Gabbert (yes, he is showing improvement), Ponder, Locker, and Freeman. Each of the afore-mentioned QB’s has elevated their respective teams’ offense. Notice I didn’t mention Newton, Luck, RGIII, or Stafford. They were picked #1 or 2. It was assumed they would elevate their teams’ offenses. It would seem that, with the way colleges train their QB’s today, there should be 3-4 QB’s in any draft that could elevate our offense. My point is, i\the time for the Chiefs to move past Cassel will soon be here, if this team falters.