Thursday, November 3, 2011
Cassel: King for a day
Let's be honest, Matt Cassel has never really wowed us. He's more of a middle of the road quarterback - a player with a good arm that isn't always on target, or on time. We saw these flaws during Monday night's game, especially with a few overthrown balls and some poor communication with both team mates and the sideline. As a result, the Chiefs first two drives, which did include some third down conversions, amassed only three points.
But there's something about Cassel and these Chiefs. At least when they play at Arrowhead, with the crowd rocking like its an ACDC concert. Throw on the lights of Monday night, a few salivating maniacs in Halloween costumes, and you've got yourself a recipe for an AFC classic. Cassel threw some tidy balls Monday: there were a few lasers over the middle, a couple of textbook play actions, some effective lobs out to the flat, and even a few bombs. His first quarter 39-yarder to Jon Baldwin was a beauty.
When Cassel settles in the pocket, loads, steps up and follows through, he looks like Tom Brady. Of course, that doesn't always happen, and it does help to have Jackie Battle ripping holes from the backfield. Good backs can make inept QBs look good. But certainly Cassel can impress when it counts. Maybe it's time we took former Patriots understudy more seriously. He did complete 19 of 32 passes, after all, and rallied the Chiefs to hit 50 per cent on their third down conversions. That meant an additional 20 points and equated to two more key down conversions than Phillip Rivers, who looked a shadow of his former self.
Cassel also kept his eyes down field, sensing the Charger corners pushing up on his receivers and accurately finding aerial paths to launch the ball into. At times, his passes looked high, or too far to the right, but then on second glance they were thoughtfully placed away from swiping hands of defenders.
Cassel isn't perfect, we know this. But he inspires confidence in his peers and is gutsy. His penchant for challenging coach Todd Haley is testament to this. But more importantly, he's a young quarterback who seems to be ascending. He doesn't need to wow us really, as long as he keeps the win column ticking over.