Great… Chalk it up as another loss for the 0-3 Vikings.
For the last three years, there has been a lot of criticism of starter Christian Ponder (fractured ribs) flying around. For those of you Vikings fans who thought Ponder wasn’t the answer under center, get ready for a unpleasant surprise when Cassel takes the field on Sunday in London.
Put simply, Cassel isn’t a good quarterback. Playing against an above average defense like Pittsburgh is only going to make him look worse.
The current owners of the No. 3 pass defense in the league, the Steelers are going to have no trouble keeping Cassel and his skittish passing in check. They’ve allowed only 182.7 passing yards per game and have given up only two touchdowns through the air on the year.
The Steelers defense has struggled a bit against the run this year, but with Cassel starting, there will be plenty of eight-man fronts ready to slow down Adrian Peterson. With a subdued running game, the Vikings will be forced to go to the pass to pick up yards – not exactly their strong suit.
The Vikings are already second in the league in turnovers (10), and Cassel isn’t exactly known for taking care of the football. In his last 17 games, he’s thrown 22 interceptions and lost nine fumbles. Now that’s the type of ball security that can get the Vikings their first notch in the win column.
Cassel also doesn’t offer the athleticism to effectively scramble the way Ponder can. And when you’re playing behind the offensive line that Minnesota fielded last week, the ability to create more time in the pocket is crucial. Unfortunately for Cassel, he doesn’t possess that ability.
Apart from 2008 and 2010, Cassel has had a rough NFL career. Don’t expect him to pull a rabbit out of his hat and magically turn this Vikings offense around – you’ll be disappointed if you do. He doesn’t have the New England Patriots offense from 2008 to carry him and 2010 was a fluke.
Cassel is nothing more than a semi-capable backup, and that’s what the Vikings signed him to be. Just remember that he’s starting due to Ponder being injured, not because Ponder played himself out of the starting job.
If you thought Ponder was bad, you’ve got another thing coming.