Following their poor performances against the Indianapolis Colts, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe were on the receiving end of fan’s vitriol Monday. Todd Haley wasn’t about to fuel that fire as he came to the defense of his players, reports the Star.
“Dwayne Bowe did so many good things in that game, so many good things,” Haley said. “He played smart, he understood the game plan and what he was supposed to do, and he did it at a high level in the run game and the pass game. It just so happens that he had an opportunity to make a big play, which is part of his job description . . . and he didn’t make it. That ends up being a not-so-good thing, but Dwayne Bowe’s arrow is going up. There isn’t a doubt in my mind.
“We have won with Dwayne, and we will continue to win with Dwayne.”
Haley also aggressively defended quarterback Matt Cassel, who hasn’t taken the Chiefs to a touchdown in either of their two road games. He was 16 of 29 for 156 yards against the Colts.
“He went on the road (Sunday) against a very good team . . . No sacks, no interceptions,” Haley said. “I think there’s only two quarterbacks in the league right now with (fewer) interceptions than Matt, and their names are Manning and Brady. That’s what I’m asking of our quarterback first and foremost, to protect the football, to give us chances to win. That’s what he’s doing. That’s how he’s going about his business. He showed great composure. I thought he did a terrific job of leading the team.
“The quarterback position is one of those that I’m really excited about. I’m excited about the progress Matt’s made.”
Forget for a second that Haley was playing loosely with the numbers (1 sack, 9 QBs with at least 100 attempts that have less INTs) if you can. Instead, focus on Haley sounding silly when he stands up there and calls that performance “terrific”.
I will never claim that I know more about football than Haley, but where I come from 16-29 for 156 yards and a fumble is far from terrific. No one expects a head coach to rip their quarterback apart, but there’s no reason to go above and beyond to say how fantastic they played after a terrible football game.
Obviously Haley has a problem even if he does decide that Cassel isn’t good enough with Brodie Croyle as the only other option. We’ve all seen Croyle and know he isn’t the answer. So if you’re Haley, maybe your best hope is that if you prop Cassel up enough during his roughest patch that it will help him come around. Not exactly the best plan in the world, but the only one that seems to make sense.
As for Bowe, Haley is right on. As terrible (!!!) as the dropped touchdown was, he was having a good game up until that point. Don’t take a lack of stats by a wide receiver to mean he wasn’t having an impact. Bowe was holding on his blocks most of the game, doing the dirty work that he has so long been criticized for avoiding.
Very simply, you need to catch game changing touchdowns. But that doesn’t mean you ignore the rest of Bowe’s game. By that same measurement, Haley can’t say Cassel was good because he didn’t turn the ball over and not acknowledge how bad he was in every other aspect of the game.