Matt Cassel Is Quietly Proving He Can Carry the Chiefs’ Offense
[picappgallerysingle id="10209532"]Kansas City Chiefs fans have always been fickle about their quarterbacks. The minute a Chiefs’ quarterback throws an incomplete pass on a critical third down, fans spend the entire next week calling for the backup.
Last season, when the Chiefs traded for Matt Cassel from the New England Patriots, many questioned the move to acquire such an inexperienced quarterback. After all, Cassel had started just 15 games since high school, and Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli was convinced that the team’s offense could be built around this guy.
This season, well under the radar of the rest of the league, Cassel has quietly silenced all of his critics…for now.
Since beginning the season with a shaky outing on Monday Night Football against the Chargers (10 of 22 for 68 yards and 1 TD), he has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league.
Cassel ranks ninth in the NFL with a 94.5 quarterback rating, ahead of last year’s two Super Bowl quarterbacks Peyton Manning (93.9) and Drew Brees (91.7). He is also outplaying other big name signal-callers like Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Matt Schaub, Jay Cutler, and Joe Flacco.
His 16 touchdowns through the team’s first eight games matches his total for all of last season. Why has Cassel’s game improved so much? One reason is the rapport he’s developed rookie tight end Tony Moeaki and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Cassel is helping Bowe have the best season of his career, including catching touchdowns in five consecutive games, tying the record for Chiefs’ receivers.
With the Chiefs offense being challenged lately by defense’s stacking eight or nine players in the box to stop Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles, Cassel’s ability to hit Bowe and his other receivers in one-on-one coverage will be crucial to the team’s offensive success in the second-half of the season.
If Cassel can continue his strong play in the coming weeks, the Chiefs will have an offense capable to getting them into the playoffs.