Around The Web: Cold Contagious, Coaching Tree, Raiders & LJ Predictions

Yesterday, Jason Whitlock took to his Kansas City Star column to express how he is starting to get cold feet about Matt Cassel since the Chiefs have not signed their new quarterback to an extension yet. coldfeet

No offense to Cassel, but he’s a college and NFL bench-warmer who had the luxury of playing quarterback alongside the greatest offensive force — Randy Moss — the league has seen since Jim Brown.

Last season Cassel stepped into a moving vehicle and did a good job of not running off the road. Kansas City’s offense has been stuck in neutral since Dick Vermeil left.  And now the one reliable tire left on KC’s car moved to Atlanta.

This smells like 15 TDs and 20 interceptions, doesn’t it? Or maybe seven TDs, 12 interceptions and a season-ending injury halfway through the season.  It’s not even June, and I can already hear the Tyler Thigpen chants in the distance. By October, the talk-radio shows will be filled with Grbac-Gannon analogies.

And this morning Nate Davis of USA Today is taking a look at Whitlock’s column and wondering if the Chiefs are positioning themselves to make use of their other quarterback options.

If Cassel flops, they get nearly $15 million off their salary cap and can take a longer look at Tyler Thigpen or draft a franchise quarterback next spring.  After all, backups who make good in their original surroundings — think Scott Mitchell and Rob Johnson — often fail to sustain that success in a new uniform.

During a time when there isn’t much going on, I take Whitlock’s column as a way to simply stir the pot as he is known to do.  And it’s only because of that same lack of actual news going on that Davis picked up on the Cassel-for-rent angle.  I fully expect a deal to get done during training camp.  Even if the Chiefs decide to sit on the franchise tender, they have the money to spend so why would a one year deal all of a sudden damage the Cassel trade?  There is no hurry to get a deal done when Cassel is unable to leave for another team without major compensation coming the Chiefs way.

mauricecarthon1Todd Haley’s golf pro-to-NFL coach story is well chronicled, but what about the new assistant head coach working under the Haley?  Over at Arrowhead Addict we get the skinny on Maurice Carthon.

Carthon is a former tight and running back out of Osceola, Arkansas and Arkansas State best known as Herschel Walker’s blocking back for the New Jersey Generals, a former USFL team owned by Donald Trump.  He subsequently won two super Bowl Rings with the Giants and became a favorite of Bill Parcells.

After retiring as a player in 1992, he began his coaching career in 1994 as running backs coach for the New England Patriots.  Maurice ascended the coaching tree, becoming the offensive coordinator for the Browns in 2005.  He was fired six games into the 2006 season after scoring a league low 88 points. Prior to joining the Chiefs, Maurice worked with Todd Haley as the running backs coach for the Arizona Cardinals.

One of the more intriguing stories in camp will be who exactly is calling the offensive plays for the Chiefs.  Todd Haley, Maurice Carthon or offensive coordinator Chan Gailey?  I think Gailey earned the chance to call the shots after what he did with Tyler Thigpen last season but last season means nothing to Todd Haley so the smart money is probably on Haley calling his own plays.

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt hosted a live chat yesterday and took a couple AFC West questions.

On the Oakland Raiders draft and offseason as a whole:

I am on record saying the Raiders will win the AFC West. I’m a little disappointed, though, in what I’ve seen this offseason from JaMarcus Russell. He showed up for OTAs looking overweight — and the Raiders need him to be in shape and ready to play if my pick is going to pan out.

If Larry Johnson can revert to form:

I think they will put a bigger emphasis on running the ball, and I think Larry Johnson has a chance to rush for 1,500 yards. KC will be an improved team.

Like a lot of Chiefs fans, I’ve been down on Larry Johnson for a while now.  And just when I was coming around to thinking he could have a rebound season, all the Vegas stuff came out and I’m back on the other side of the line.  Even if LJ makes the team and starts, there is no way he racks up 1,500 yards after totaling 1,693 all-purpose yards over the past two seasons (20 games).  As for Brandt’s prediction for the Raiders to win the AFC West, I will turn this site into raidersblog.com for a month if that happens.

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