The quarterback controversy rears its head again - but with less juice this time. Chiefs head coach Todd Haley quickly threw his support behind Matt Cassel following the quarterback's worst game to date in his short career. A simple "Yes" to Cassel being the starter shot down anything to the contrary.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Haley talked a little more about his decision that is ultimately causing me to write the words "quarterback controversy" a few times this week.
"Benching" Cassel is intended to be a lesson of sorts.
"In my opinion," Haley said, "the experience he had to go through coming out of the game and watching his backup play is more important than him being in there for that last quarter."
Like he has in the past, Haley noted his quarterback's toughness and ability to face adversity and said in those situations "how they respond will tell a lot about guys playing that position." Cassel apparently responded well in Haley's eyes considering he was already back at it early yesterday morning preparing for Buffalo.
Chiefs head coach Todd Haley had plenty of opportunities (and reasons) to take a shot at his quarterback but didn't bite. He's clearly in Cassel's corner and said he was "well prepared" and said the receivers have to catch some of those balls.
"We had a couple throws we made that the guys catching the ball need to make in order to really have a chance to win the game or be in a better position in that game," he said.
Haley said Cassel played well enough for the Chiefs to be tied or leading at halftime. After the disastrous third quarter, the coach said, "I know he's disappointed in a couple plays he made in that stretch (third quarter)."
Overall, the protection on Sunday seemed to be tighter and more apt to that of a productive offense. Even with that offense, Cassel didn't get things going, which has been one of the biggest knocks on him in recent weeks. Again, though, Haley didn't bite and singled out the receivers as a group that needs to gt better.
"The receivers that are playing have to get open," he said. "That’s their job, whether its receivers, backs or tight ends. As a whole, we did a pretty good job protection-wise, but that doesn’t mean that somebody is open or there’s a guaranteed completion out there."
I know there are some currently looking for that "There are no sacred cows" quote from Haley but hold on a second. While he did say that, can we all agree that the quarterback position is a little different than others? You can demote and promote receivers, safeties and all other positions week in and week out with not much change. Except quarterback.
I think the psyche of a quarterback can ultimately affect his play, and maybe Haley feels Cassel needs support right now. It wouldn't surprise me if that was the case, especially considering Haley's emphasis that the benching was not meant to single out any one person, instead it was the offense collectively.
If that is the case, then I wonder if some players in the locker room feel Cassel is a sacred cow.