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View Full Version : Chiefs Maximizing Matt: Shotgun triggered Casselís second-half surge


Von Dumbass
05-10-2009, 10:18 PM
This article was written a few weeks before you guys traded for him, it is a good read though....
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=A9mSvd4ImAdKn1EALCR3hAx.;_ylu=X3oDMTExcXNkdHFhBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2lyZAR2dGlkAwRsA1dT MQ--?slug=maximizingmattshotguntri&prov=tsn&type=lgns
Maximizing Matt: Shotgun triggered Cassel's second-half surge
By Greg Cosell - SportingNews
Feb 15, 3:26 am EST

Considering that before this past season Matt Cassel had not started a game since 1999, when he was a senior in high school, he produced the NFL's most impressive individual performance in 2008.

Now let's turn the page. Though Cassel recently signed the New England Patriots' franchise tender, the only way he will be on their roster in September is if Tom Brady is not prepared to play. Cassel will not be the backup to a healthy Brady because the salary-cap numbers are too large. Bill Belichick won't devote that many dollars to the quarterback position.

With that as background, let's break down Cassel's 2008 season and look ahead to 2009. When evaluating a quarterback, it is essential to assess his play based on the way he was utilized within the framework of his team's offense. The two cannot be separated.

There are myriad elements to consider. For instance, did he take the majority of his snaps under center or was he primarily in the shotgun? As a corollary point, what was his comfort level in each formation? Did he throw the ball predominantly out of three-step drops, five-step drops or seven-step drops? How prevalent was the team's play-action pass game? These are just a few of the many components that encompass a meticulous assessment of not just Cassel, but any quarterback.

Keep in mind that the Patriots knew Cassel's strengths and weaknesses when he took over for the injured Brady in Week 1. Belichick and his staff had been with him almost every day since he was selected in the seventh round of the 2005 draft.

Though there is always uncertainty when a player gets an opportunity to be a starter for the first time, the Patriots' staff clearly had a solid handle on how best to maximize Cassel's strong points and minimize his limitations.

Early in the season the Patriots ran a conventional NFL offense, with Cassel primarily aligned under center. They used the shotgun only as an occasional changeup or, as many teams do, in long-yardage situations.

It became evident Cassel was not particularly comfortable dropping back from center. He often seemed rushed and hurried, with a tendency to quickly lose his reading definition. That's why he ran so frequently. He was not seeing the field with clarity, and his instincts compelled him to leave the pocket whether it was necessary or not.

I remember breaking down Cassel's third start, the Patriots' victory over the 49ers in early October. He was very mechanical and robotic in his progressions and reads. If he could determine his throw based on the pre-snap read, he made it. If he couldn't, and he had to process information as he dropped, he struggled. As a result, he did not show a lot of patience in the pocket, often moving directly into the pass rush. That's the main reason Cassel was sacked so often in the first half of the season.

In addition, Cassel wasn't demonstrating the willingness to pull the trigger on tighter throws at the intermediate and deeper levels. Those are the kinds of plays that work off five- and seven-step drops with the quarterback under center.

What the Patriots learned as the season progressed was that Cassel was far more comfortable and relaxed playing in the shotgun. Their overtime loss to the Jets in mid-November solidified that belief. The Patriots fell behind 24-6 in the second quarter, and from that point on, Cassel was exclusively in the shotgun.

That defeat was the first of six consecutive games in which 88 percent of Cassel's pass attempts came out of the shotgun. The shotgun spread, often with three wide receivers, stretched the field horizontally. And the ability of the Patriots' outstanding coaching staff to dictate with formations, shifts and motions allowed Cassel to get rid of the ball decisively. It was predominantly a short passing game, with the throw defined quickly and the ball coming out fast.

Cassel had more rhythm to his drop and set from the shotgun. He was poised and comfortable, and he saw the field with more clarity. This led to more patience in the pocket, with less of a willingness to take off and run prematurely.

The other critical element that resulted from the widespread use of the shotgun was the functional space it provided Cassel in the pocket. There was more immediate distance between Cassel and the bodies in front of him, and that gave him room to step up and deliver.

Cassel is not an efficient passer when the pocket gets "muddied" or constricted. The velocity of his throws, slightly above average at best, decreases dramatically when he lacks that functional space.
In the last seven weeks of the season, the Patriots were primarily a shotgun passing team. They did not call a lot of drop-back plays. Why? Because Cassel was simply not very good at it.

When the Patriots wanted to get the ball deeper down the field, they put Cassel under center and went play-action. In those situations, they always used seven- or eight-man protection schemes to make certain Cassel had time and space. The emphasis on play-action also helped Cassel because it is almost always an either/or read; you throw the ball based on the positioning and movement of one defender, usually one of the safeties.

If Cassel becomes available in a trade before the 2009 season, it is imperative that interested teams perform a methodical and systematic breakdown of his play and tendencies from this past season. They must have a complete understanding of what Cassel is and what he is not, what he does well, and what he struggles with.

Always remember that if you do not see it on film, there's a reason for it. If Cassel is the guy you want, you must structure your offense based on his strengths and not force him to overcome his limitations.

Greg Cosell of NFL Films analyzes coaching tape and is executive producer of State Farm NFL Matchup. He is a frequent contributor to Sporting News.

StcChief
05-10-2009, 10:22 PM
Pioli saw something in Cassell..... I'm going with that.

RustShack
05-10-2009, 10:25 PM
Most first year starters do operate from the shotgun more often.

DA_T_84
05-10-2009, 10:29 PM
'member how your coach wanted Cassel? That was neat. He must be bummed.

Oh, well at least you have two first round draft picks next year.

wait.

'member how you traded a first round pick next year for a 5'9" corner? That was neat.

FD
05-10-2009, 10:37 PM
Interesting article. Does anyone know the stats on snaps from shotgun that Brady took the year before, or for Kurt Warner last year in Haley's offense?

Just Passin' By
05-10-2009, 10:38 PM
Pioli saw something in Cassell..... I'm going with that.

The author ignored a lot of important facts and played up the ones he wanted to focus on. For example, the offensive line struggled at the beginning of the year, and it was not all because of a lesser QB under center. The best run blocker on that line is Neal, and he was out. His replacements struggled on passing downs even more than on running downs. Furthermore, Cassel was just getting his feet wet in the beginning of the year. Another thing the author overlooked is the amount of shotgun the Patriots used the year before. I don't have the numbers right in front of me but, if memory serves, over 70% of Brady's passes in 2007 came from the shotgun.

DA_T_84
05-10-2009, 10:40 PM
Most first year starters do operate from the shotgun more often.
Plus, who cares when you win 10 games?

Granted, no playoffs, but still... first year...

and yes, I know he had a great supporting cast, but come on. So what.

Von Dumbass
05-10-2009, 10:57 PM
'member how your coach wanted Cassel? That was neat. He must be bummed.

Oh, well at least you have two first round draft picks next year.

wait.

'member how you traded a first round pick next year for a 5'9" corner? That was neat.

If McDaniels really wanted Cassel, he had the ammunition to get him.

talastan
05-10-2009, 11:09 PM
If McDaniels really wanted Cassel, he had the ammunition to get him.

Acceptance that you have a problem is the first step to recovery my donkey-loving friend.:D

T-post Tom
05-10-2009, 11:20 PM
If McDaniels really wanted Cassel, he had the ammunition to get him.

ROFL

Pablo
05-10-2009, 11:30 PM
If McDaniels really wanted Cassel, he had the ammunition to get him.Yeah, that's why he got him.

Neckbeard's totally gonna win the division for y'all this year. Cutler's not that good anyways, right?

Von Dumbass
05-10-2009, 11:33 PM
Yeah, that's why he got him.

Neckbeard's totally gonna win the division for y'all this year. Cutler's not that good anyways, right?

I don't know how many wins Denver will have this year, it depends on how much the defense improves. I know Denver will probably score more points than they did last year...

Cutler was good but Orton, Knowshon, Ayers, Alphonso Smith, and Richard Quinn are better.

Tribal Warfare
05-10-2009, 11:34 PM
If McDaniels really wanted Cassel, he had the ammunition to get him.

and now Cutler is playing for the Bears

-King-
05-11-2009, 12:10 AM
'member how your coach wanted Cassel? That was neat. He must be bummed.

Oh, well at least you have two first round draft picks next year.

wait.

'member how you traded a first round pick next year for a 5'9" corner? That was neat.


ROFLROFLROFLROFLROFL

-King-
05-11-2009, 12:12 AM
I don't know how many wins Denver will have this year, it depends on how much the defense improves. I know Denver will probably score more points than they did last year...

Cutler was good but Orton, Knowshon, Ayers, Alphonso Smith, and Richard Quinn are better.

LMFAO! So you'd rather have your pass 1st offense be led by Orton than Cutler? ROFL

Von Dumbass
05-11-2009, 12:21 AM
LMFAO! So you'd rather have your pass 1st offense be led by Orton than Cutler? ROFL

Who says it is going to be a pass first offense? Only Minnesota, Atlanta, and Baltimore ran the ball more times than New England did last year. Actually New England has been in the top 10 in rushing attempts for the past 3 seasons....

jAZ
05-11-2009, 12:42 AM
If McDaniels really wanted Cassel, he had the ammunition to get him.

Holy shit.

Pablo
05-11-2009, 12:47 AM
I don't know how many wins Denver will have this year, it depends on how much the defense improves. I know Denver will probably score more points than they did last year...

Cutler was good but Orton, Knowshon, Ayers, Alphonso Smith, and Richard Quinn are better.No they really aren't.

Pro Bowl QB >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Neckbeard and draft picks

Von Dumbass
05-11-2009, 01:19 AM
No they really aren't.

Pro Bowl QB >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Neckbeard and draft picks

I am really going to miss going 9-7, 7-9, and 8-8 with that Pro Bowl QB. :rolleyes:

If the defense is in the middle of the pack next year Denver will have 10 wins in 2009.... I am not worried about the offense. Orton never had the best offensive line in the league, the second best WR core, a great group of Tight Ends, and the best play caller in the NFL before. He has all that here PLUS a STUD running back who is the most complete back to come out since LaDanian Tomlinson.

If McDaniels can make Matt Cassel look like a good QB, I'm sure he can do the same with Kyle Orton. I bet Orton will put up a QB Rating higher than the one Cutler had last year(86.0).

DA_T_84
05-11-2009, 01:32 AM
I am really going to miss going 9-7, 7-9, and 8-8 with that Pro Bowl QB. :rolleyes: If the defense is in the middle of the pack next year Denver will have 10 wins in 2009.... I am not worried about the offense. Orton never had the best offensive line in the league, the second best WR core, a great group of Tight Ends, and the best play caller in the NFL before. He has all that here PLUS a STUD running back who is the most complete back to come out since LaDanian Tomlinson.

If McDaniels can make Matt Cassel look like a good QB, I'm sure he can do the same with Kyle Orton. I bet Orton will put up a QB Rating higher than the one Cutler had last year(86.0).

Oh.... My....

Look man, I was poking fun, but seriously? I have like 15 quotes to go off of here, and I am ashamed at myself for not knowing how to put multiple quotes into one post.

Lets see if I remember right-

1. So, McDaniels had the ammo? Sounds like sour grapes to me. I would have asked Megan Fox out to dinner, but Brandon Walsh from 90210 asked her first. I had the ability to do it, tho. If I really wanted to.

2. So guys who haven't played a single NFL play + Kyle Orton are better than Cutler? mmmk. If ever you want to play Monopoly, I will trade you 10 bucks and Baltic Avenue for Park Place, Board walk, and all 4 railroads. Bitch.

3. The most complete back since LT?!? Were the Broncos the only team who got this memo? Moreno as a prospect is more complete than, oh, I dunno, Adrian Peterson was? Or Bush was? or McFadden was? Please. Go tickle a goat's prostate.

Oh, thanks for the article by the way.

DA_T_84
05-11-2009, 01:38 AM
ROFLROFLROFLROFLROFL

N00b's like +rep also..... just sayin'....

Von Dumbass
05-11-2009, 01:41 AM
Oh.... My....

Look man, I was poking fun, but seriously? I have like 15 quotes to go off of here, and I am ashamed at myself for not knowing how to put multiple quotes into one post.


Lets see if I remember right-

1. So, McDaniels had the ammo? Sounds like sour grapes to me. I would have asked Megan Fox out to dinner, but Brandon Walsh from 90210 asked her first. I had the ability to do it, tho. If I really wanted to.

McDaniels had 4 first round picks the next two years he could have used to get Cassel from KC. I'm sure if he was desperate for Cassel he could have gotten him.
2. So guys who haven't played a single NFL play + Kyle Orton are better than Cutler? mmmk. If ever you want to play Monopoly, I will trade you 10 bucks and Baltic Avenue for Park Place, Board walk, and all 4 railroads. Bitch.
You are right. They haven't proven themselves.

I was just going by Mike Mayock who said that Ayers will be the best defensive player in this draft 3 years from now and that if Alphonso Smith was 2 inches taller he would have been a top 10 pick.

3. The most complete back since LT?!? Were the Broncos the only team who got this memo? Moreno as a prospect is more complete than, oh, I dunno, Adrian Peterson was? Or Bush was? or McFadden was? Please. Go tickle a goat's prostate.

Positives: Tight-skinned athlete with good overall musculature. Good quickness to the hole. Reads the defense and anticipates where the hole, including cutback lanes, will appear. Exceptional lateral quickness and elusiveness in tight quarters. Very rarely tackled by the first defender. Good acceleration past the initial wave of defense and into the secondary. Good spin and stiff arm, and has phenomenal leaping ability to jump over tacklers. Attacks the line of scrimmage and is a tougher interior runner than given credit for. Can drop his shoulders and has good leg drive. Runs through a lot of tackles due to his competitive drive and toughness. Keeps his legs churning and will spin away from tackles. Soft hands for the reception. Natural receiver who poses intriguing possibilities to be split out wide. Good quickness and effort as a route-runner; isn't just a threat on dump-offs in the flat or screens. Provides a pop in pass protection. Extreme competitor who can put the team on his shoulders. Wants the ball with the game on the line.

Negatives: Questionable top-end speed. Lacks the prototype size and bulk some teams are looking for in a bell-cow runner.
http://www.nfl.com/draft/2009/profiles/knowshon-moreno?id=79619#profiles-tabs:players-analysis

Yea......... I would say that is a pretty complete RB.
Oh, thanks for the article by the way.

No problem :rolleyes:

DA_T_84
05-11-2009, 01:55 AM
1. He could have gotten Manning and Brady, and Peterson, and Fitzgerald, too, IF he was desperate.

2. Neckbeard: Subtraction by addition.

3. Only pretty complete now? Not the MOST COMPLETE SINCE LT ???

chiefzilla1501
05-11-2009, 02:22 AM
McDaniels had 4 first round picks the next two years he could have used to get Cassel from KC. I'm sure if he was desperate for Cassel he could have gotten him.

You are right. They haven't proven themselves.

I was just going by Mike Mayock who said that Ayers will be the best defensive player in this draft 3 years from now and that if Alphonso Smith was 2 inches taller he would have been a top 10 pick.


Positives: Tight-skinned athlete with good overall musculature. Good quickness to the hole. Reads the defense and anticipates where the hole, including cutback lanes, will appear. Exceptional lateral quickness and elusiveness in tight quarters. Very rarely tackled by the first defender. Good acceleration past the initial wave of defense and into the secondary. Good spin and stiff arm, and has phenomenal leaping ability to jump over tacklers. Attacks the line of scrimmage and is a tougher interior runner than given credit for. Can drop his shoulders and has good leg drive. Runs through a lot of tackles due to his competitive drive and toughness. Keeps his legs churning and will spin away from tackles. Soft hands for the reception. Natural receiver who poses intriguing possibilities to be split out wide. Good quickness and effort as a route-runner; isn't just a threat on dump-offs in the flat or screens. Provides a pop in pass protection. Extreme competitor who can put the team on his shoulders. Wants the ball with the game on the line.

Negatives: Questionable top-end speed. Lacks the prototype size and bulk some teams are looking for in a bell-cow runner.
http://www.nfl.com/draft/2009/profiles/knowshon-moreno?id=79619#profiles-tabs:players-analysis

Yea......... I would say that is a pretty complete RB.


No problem :rolleyes:

Umm... yeah, if you ignore the negatives that say he doesn't have top-end speed and lacks bulk. Or the fact that in a ridiculously weak draft class, he still fell way out of the top 10, whereas McFadden and Peterson were top 10 picks.

Moreno will be a decent RB. But I doubt he'll be a great one, especially in Josh McDaniels' system which isn't nearly as friendly to RBs as Shanahan's.

chiefzilla1501
05-11-2009, 02:26 AM
The author ignored a lot of important facts and played up the ones he wanted to focus on. For example, the offensive line struggled at the beginning of the year, and it was not all because of a lesser QB under center. The best run blocker on that line is Neal, and he was out. His replacements struggled on passing downs even more than on running downs. Furthermore, Cassel was just getting his feet wet in the beginning of the year. Another thing the author overlooked is the amount of shotgun the Patriots used the year before. I don't have the numbers right in front of me but, if memory serves, over 70% of Brady's passes in 2007 came from the shotgun.

I think that's part of the explanation.

Here's the greater part of the explanation. New England's o-line isn't nearly as good as advertised. Tom Brady is so good that he makes that o-line better by making lightning quick reads--it's the same thing Brees does in New Orleans. You simply cannot sack a Quarterback that can smell a blitz from a mile away and can read defenses so quick that he gets rid of the ball instantly. To add a cherry on the top, he also has arguably the best pocket presence in the game.

If you watch footage of Cassel, you'll see that the pocket collapses very quickly. That shouldn't happen with a supposedly all-world o-line. Yes, that means that he's a lesser QB than Brady, but so are 99% of the QBs in the NFL.

Von Dumbass
05-11-2009, 02:43 AM
Umm... yeah, if you ignore the negatives that say he doesn't have top-end speed and lacks bulk. Or the fact that in a ridiculously weak draft class, he still fell way out of the top 10, whereas McFadden and Peterson were top 10 picks.

Moreno will be a decent RB. But I doubt he'll be a great one, especially in Josh McDaniels' system which isn't nearly as friendly to RBs as Shanahan's.

Knowshon weighs 217 pounds, the same exact weight as Adrian Peterson. The only reason McFadden and Peterson were top 10 picks instead of 10-20 is because of their 40 time.

Denver is keeping the zone blocking scheme. The only offensive coaches McDaniels kept was our offensive line coach and our running back coach... who have both been here for 15 years. Knowshon played in a Zone blocking scheme at Georgia he should have no problems playing here.

kcchiefsus
05-11-2009, 04:17 AM
I don't know how many wins Denver will have this year, it depends on how much the defense improves. I know Denver will probably score more points than they did last year...

Cutler was good but Orton, Knowshon, Ayers, Alphonso Smith, and Richard Quinn are better.

Denver will score more points with Orton at the helm instead of Cutler?

ROFLROFLROFLROFLROFLROFLROFLROFLROFLROFLROFL

LaChapelle
05-11-2009, 05:58 AM
So THIS is why they kept Gailey on. Thigpen II.