The Kansas City Chiefs wake up this morning as the undefeated leaders of the AFC West. But as Sam Mellinger writes in The Star, the Chiefs will need much better out of Matt Cassel if they want to continue winning.
Here’s a depressing sentence: The Chiefs have scored 13 points on 20 possessions that started on their half of the field this season.
And here’s the depressing context: Today’s NFL emphasizes the quarterback more than ever before, and the Chiefs have no viable Plan B if Cassel’s production doesn’t match their hopes.
Quarterbacks have always made the most money, and huge contracts to cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha of the Raiders and Darrelle Revis of the Jets are nods to the NFL’s growing tilt toward the passing game.
Last year, the teams with the league’s top six passers went 72-24. Teams with the league’s top six rushers went 46-50. The references about Trent Dilfer being good enough for the Ravens in 2000 are as outdated as fears about the Y2K bug.
And if not Cassel, then who? What alternative would the Chiefs have? We’ve seen Brodie Croyle. Cassel wouldn’t bring much in a trade. He’s due a roster bonus of $7 million in March, which is before the draft or free-agency, so the options would be limited.
No one is saying that you shouldn’t be excited as a Chiefs fan. I certainly was pumped and still have an extra jump in my step this morning. There is nothing better than knowing that the team you root for is undefeated and is heading home with a chance to extend their winning streak at an invigorated Arrowhead. But that doesn’t mean you ignore the reality of the situation, which is that Todd Haley’s crew has been very lucky.
More often than not, the offense is going to have to put points on the board to stay in games. The Chargers in the slop and Browns … well, as the Browns aren’t going to be on the other side of the ball every week. The Niners are coming to town this week and we’ll see what their offense looks like tonight, but I feel confident saying they will be tougher than Cleveland.
Again, there is a lot to be excited about. As a fan, keep pounding your chest throughout the week. We can only hope that the Chiefs don’t do the same thing and instead get to work on Cassel’s happy feet and sailing passes.