Does the much maligned Matt Cassel deserve an apology from Chiefs fans? The Star’s Sam Mellinger feels he does after we got to see what a bad QB looks like in Derek Anderson along with what Cassel has done for Kansas City the last 8 games.
He doesn’t kill drives with fumbles or forced passes. He mostly hits open receivers. When running plays got stuffed twice in a row from 1 yard out in the first quarter, Cassel hit Bowe for the short touchdown.
Cassel’s sack rate is down by one-third, and even considering an improved offensive line, advanced studies suggest sacks are more dependent on passers than blockers.
Again, concerns remain, particularly about being able to hit secondary receivers and throw downfield when the Chiefs need it. But it’s past the point we can intelligently say Cassel is holding the Chiefs back.
Criticism often comes with a price tag, as in, “for $63 million he should be more than some glorified game manager,” but by NFL standards, Cassel is being paid like an average or slightly above-average quarterback.
And isn’t that what he is?
Beating up on the worst team in the NFL’s worst division at home doesn’t prove much. Cassel needs to get better, still. The point is that he’s been getting better, and it’s time we all recognized that.
I like to consider myself right in the middle when it comes to Cassel. Last year it meant taking his poor performances with a grain of salt due to a lack of offensive weapons. This year it means calling him out when he’s terrible the way he was early on or when he puts up useless stats against the Broncos. It’s also important to give him credit when he perfectly executes a game plan the way he did on Sunday.
Mellinger brings up Cassel’s contract and it’s always a fair argument. But don’t get caught up on the big $63 million number. Right now the only number that matters to Cassel and the Chiefs is $7.5 million. That’s the bonus he is due in March when the Kansas City will have a good idea of which players will be available to them in the draft.
Judging by the way Todd Haley talks about Cassel and the way he conducts himself on and off the field, there’s little doubt that the Chiefs will write the check and have him behind center again next season. It is worth watching though, because once the Chiefs and Cassel get past that bonus there is very little financial commitment to the quarterback over the next two seasons — base salaries of just $4.75 and $5.25.