The offseason roster review of the Kansas City Chiefs comes to the most visible position today as we stop in at quarterback. We’ve already covered both lines, tight end and the secondary and the links to individual posts are below. As in those posts, the purpose is not just evaluate the Chiefs’ player, but to do in light of what other AFC West teams have on hand.
Quarterback is an offseason issue, at least in some degree with most franchises, and Kansas City is no exception. Do you go with Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton or neither? Head coach Romeo Crennel has all but said that it’s likely to be Cassel, if only because Orton’s coming free agency will drive up his price tag.
The answer to whether Kansas City can win with Cassel is obvious—they already have won with him, as Crennel pointed out. Whether the wins come because of him or in spite of him is another question entirely. The AFC West has been the division that seems bound and determined to challenge conventional wisdom about quarterback primacy. The last two division winners—the Chiefs in 2010 and the Broncos this year—did it with defense and the running game.
Cassel is coming off a year that was rocky throughout and ended in injury, and the numbers reflect that. His completion percentage (59.5) ranked third in the division, ahead of only Tim Tebow—though in fairness, Cassel was only 3.4 points behind first-place Philip Rivers, while leading Tebow by thirteen percentage points. The Kansas City starter is clearly more comparable to Rivers or Carson Palmer in Oakland than he is to the oft-maligned Tebow. And Cassel’s 6.4 yards per pass is tied with Tebow, even though Denver’s offense has a reputation for going over the top more often.
Rivers remains the class of AFC West quarterbacks, even on a year that was decidedly not his past. He finished with a QB rating of 88.7, but at age 30 there’s a lot of good years left in him and his demonstrated ability to make the offense work with virtually anyone at receiver will keep San Diego’s attack on the move.
Oakland is set going into next year with Carson Palmer, but at 32, with a track record of injury problems, the Raiders can’t be to cavalier. They got Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft and it would be ideal if Palmer could give them a 2-3 year window where they could both win games and develop the future.
I’ve always liked Cassel, going to back when he was stepping in for Tom Brady in 2008 and of the three years he’s been a starter in the NFL, two have been good ones. When you combine bringing Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki back on offense, and put a healthy Cassel into the mix, I think he’ll be fine.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS ROSTER REVIEW