Former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann is a self-confessed Patriots fan, but he told WEEI New England gave away Matt Cassel when the Patriots dealt him and Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.
“I want to know if Bill’s got any more deals — on houses, cars, boats, planes. Is there anything else out there he might want to get rid of? For 500 bucks, maybe I can get a home out on Nantucket.”
He did acknowledge the move was consistent with the Patriots’ overall team-building approach: it doesn’t matter how good your two quarterbacks might be, $30 million is too much to wrap up in one position.
“I think they felt like franchising him at $16 million, it was going to be a ridiculous number anyway. So Matt had to basically be moved. And this was an opportunity for them to get a second-round pick. And when you look at the Patriots, they ended up with 12 picks total. This is what Bill does.”
Theismann is interested in seeing how Cassel performs this season with the Chiefs. He knows that the most difficult stage of the transition from backup to starter doesn’t necessarily come when the quarterback first takes control, but after you’ve taken your first spin around the league. After everyone sees you, you become a known quantity and defensive coordinators find it easier to formulate a game plan for you.
But Theismann said that shouldn’t be a problem for Cassel for a couple of reasons. First, he’s working with Kansas City coach Todd Haley, who has guided the careers of many successful quarterbacks and who Theismann calls a “great mentor”. And second, Cassel is smart enough to know that defensive coordinators already have tape on him from the 2008 season, and he can adjust if needed.
“He’s seen everything. It’s not like he took over for four weeks or six weeks. He played an entire season. People had a book on Matt Cassel after Week 10. It’s not going to be any different after Week 16. So in my mind, the book is sort of out the window because he’s not a rookie. He spent some time in the league. Yes, it’s the first time he’s played a lot, but the mistakes he made, he’s going to grow from as well.”
For all the speculation about how much of Cassel’s success is due to the Patriots system, it’s good to hear from a quarterback that went through the same situation. Theismann was a college football Hall of Famer and had all of his success with one team, but for him to see the value of Cassel and that he should be able to handle any adjustments the league will make to him means more than your typical NFL analyst.
Speaking of Cassel… Matt Bowen of National Football Post indentified his impact players from each AFC West team and the Chiefs quarterback was among them.
All eyes should and will be on Cassel this year in Kansas City because we want to see how he plays and what type of production he can engineer without the New England offense — especially WRs Randy Moss and Wes Welker.
Cassel is going to be a lot like Jay Cutler in Chicago — lots of hype, but still some lingering questions if they can produce without top-flight talent around them. Many coaches in this league believe a good quarterback makes a receiving corps that much better, and we’ll find out when the Chiefs take the field under new head coach Todd Haley and his vertical offense — which just might suit Cassel well.
I believe Cassel has the talent to continue to develop but he’s going to have to spread the football around, use RB Larry Johnson and try to involve multiple receivers outside of Dwayne Bowe so this group of wideouts can develop as well. As a quarterback, you want challenges, and they don’t get much bigger than the one Cassel will face in ’09.
It will be awfully tough to judge Cassel this season. If he gets off to a slow start, is it because the New England system made things that easy for him or because the Chiefs system has yet to give him a chance to show his abilities? We will all go week to week trying to get a read on Cassel, but barring significant progress along the offensive line and wide receivers I imagine we won’t see the “real” Matt Cassel until 2011.
Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop is currently taking part in “Irrelevant Week” in California. But he isn’t going through the festivities alone.
Succop’s family is assuredly along for the ride, and that includes his father, David, mother, Kathy and two sisters, Kelsey and Ali. Kelsey brought her friend and Ali has her boyfriend. Also along for the ride is 11-year-old Matthew Tindall who helped Succop train for his final season with Gamecocks. Succop also has his girlfriend, Paige Cooper, here for the week, along with his designated guests, Trey Crabill and his girlfriend.
Cooper may have the most interesting experience this week as she watches her boyfriend act as the life of the party. That includes bikini-clad women lining up to be chosen as Ms. Irrelevant, but that isn’t fazing Cooper.
“That’s fine; I’m fine with it. I’m just excited for him. I’ve always said, out of all the people this could have happened to, it happened to Ryan.”
Kathy Succop loves the concept of celebrating the underdog.
“It has been like a Cinderella story, we have been so blessed. I didn’t know what to expect when we got here. It’s better than our wildest dreams.”
If Succop makes the team, maybe Cooper will become Paige Succop and join the ranks of Kelli Croyle and Lauren Cassel as uber-attractive Chiefs wives. After all, there is an opening now that Tony Gonzalez’ wife Malia is residing in Atlanta.