In the first article of this weekly piece, I explained exactly how this report card works. Last week Cassel and the Chiefs lost to the St. Louis Rams 14-10. Cassel played most of the first half, and it wasn't pretty. Let's get to it.Right off the bat, Cassel's stats:
6-13 for 59 yards. 0 TD and 0 INT
Negative: Cassel looked absolutely lost at times. He was consistently trying to force the ball to covered receivers when he could have gone to his second read and/or checked it down. Many times quarterbacks get too much criticism about checking the ball down. Provided it isn't the first option it's always a smart play to let your play-makers get a chance.
However, Cassel was doing that as well. On a 3rd and 9 around midfield, Cassel took a quick drop, never looked away from McCluster and fired it to him gaining four yards. He has to do better than that. Kansas City doesn't need Cassel to throw for 300 yards but they need him to pick up those critical first downs. It was poorly done and not good enough for a team to be successful.
Cassel was ineffective throughout and never got the team moving. When Derrick Johnson gives you the ball at the opposition's seven-yard-line, you need to cash in. The Chiefs went backwards. Matt Cassel has to find a man and stick it in the end zone. That possession (for the entire offense, not just Cassel) was inexcusable.
Positive: Truthfully, there isn't much to say. In fairness to Cassel, Kansas City once again ran nothing but very vanilla offensive plays. Charles only touched the ball twice, which is a pretty big dent in the normal scheme of the offense.
One thing that must be mentioned is the lack of protection he received from his offensive line. I'm not making excuses, but if Barry Richardson doesn't get it in gear the Chiefs are in huge trouble. Richardson was an unmitigated disaster. I can't be any more blunt about that point. He looked like he had no business being on the field Friday night. Penalties are an absolute killer for an offense.
Cassel was flat out not good enough. He needs to make plays when Kansas City needs them. He will never be Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, but he has to be able to pick up crucial third downs. The Chiefs are a rushing team with a very good defense, but they need Cassel to step up.
I do feel Cassel will play much better in the regular season. I think much of his struggles of because of no game planning and a lack of Jamaal Charles. That being said, he still looked very bad.
I can't give him a passing grade from Friday night. He didn't earn it.