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Count Zarth
06-10-2009, 06:55 PM
http://kan.scout.com/2/871104.html

“The key to being a professional is doing it day-in-day-out. You’ve got to have consistency. That’s how you establish yourself in the league and establish yourself with your teammates that you can be counted on.”

- Trent Green, 2001

Where would the Chiefs be without Matt Cassel (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4210794)?

Obviously, they wouldn’t have a quarterback with more than one NFL win under his belt. But you can also come to a less obvious conclusion – without Cassel, the Chiefs might be without a leader.

Can a quarterback with less than 20 career starts really be the primary leader on a football team that claims several veterans over 30? If it was true in 2001, there’s no reason it can’t be true in 2009.

Yes, there are several intriguing parallels between Trent Green (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=3943217) and Cassel, including the fact they were drafted in almost the exact same spot (230th overall compared to 222nd overall). Before quarterbacking a game for the Chiefs, Green had only 19 starts in seven NFL seasons. Cassel had just 15 in four seasons. But the biggest similarity has to be their immediate leadership, especially in bleak situations.

When he arrived in 2001, the cupboard was practically bare at wide receiver, the Chiefs had a lousy defense, and Green was still busy rehabbing his left knee. But he did not shirk his responsibility as KC’s new starting quarterback. He shouldered the lion’s share of the leadership duty from the beginning. He was a five-days-a-week fixture at Arrowhead Stadium all throughout the offseason, even during rookie camp, when all he could do was stand on the sidelines.

Green took direct hits from the media all year long for the Chiefs’ poor record and his lousy statistics (24 interceptions). But each week, he faced the firing squad, sometimes with a grin on his face. It’s easy to lead when everything is going great, but real leaders show up when other players would rather hide.

Fast forward to 2009. Other than Dwayne Bowe (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4307406), the Chiefs don’t have much at wide receiver and still have a lousy defense. Cassel isn’t rehabbing any injury, but does have another headache – his contract situation. Despite all of that, he has been a consistent participant in offseason workouts with the Chiefs, and we recently learned Head Coach Todd Haley has to pretty much boot his quarterback out of the building most days.

Cassel has already taken a few hits from the media over whether or not he is worth a $15 million one-season rental, or if he was simply the product of Randy Moss (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4309679), Wes Welker (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4309694) and Bill Belichick. There is also no shortage of fans who would have liked to have seen the Chiefs pick Mark Sanchez (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4322198) in April’s draft. But Cassel has taken it all in stride, and if you watch his press conferences, yes, there is often a grin on his face (no word on whether or not he’ll throw 24 interceptions this season).

Maybe you don’t think it’s all that noteworthy that Cassel has chosen to make Arrowhead his second home this offseason. Hey, he is the starting quarterback. But if leading by example is the best way to lead, what exactly are Brian Waters (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4307563) and Mike Vrabel (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4307561) doing? If you blinked, you may have missed them this offseason.

Both only bothered to show up for Haley’s mandatory three-day Mini-Camp before promptly disappearing back into the mists when the weekend was finished. Isn’t Waters supposed to be the veteran everyone looks up to? Wasn’t Vrabel brought in to teach the Patriot Way?

How can either player take a leadership role when they’ve barely even taken the time to strap on a red helmet this year? The absence of Waters and Vrabel should only make us appreciate Cassel’s efforts even more. Especially since you can argue he actually has a reason to hold out – his contract situation.

There are several players around the league that have skipped voluntary workouts due to contract squabbles this offseason. The most notable of course, is Arizona’s Anquan Boldin (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4249282), but Green Bay’s Nick Collins (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4209014), Cleveland’s Josh Cribbs (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4209164) and Arizona’s Darnell Dockett (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4249300) have also held out. An unreported-but-assumed contract dispute in Cleveland with kicker Phil Dawson (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4209165) has also resulted in his absence from offseason workouts.

Cassel arguably has more leverage than any of those players. For one thing, he’s a quarterback (slightly more important than kicker or safety), and of course Kansas City is in desperate need of a true franchise quarterback. Yes, an open competition with Tyler Thigpen (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4307555) has been advertised, but the Chiefs didn’t give up a second-round pick to make Cassel a backup.

The Bears, Colts and Dolphins, three potential playoff contenders, have all had nearly perfect attendance at voluntary workouts this offseason. None of their team leaders (except Reggie Wayne (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4217542), who works out at Miami) have gone missing.

Since Waters and Vrabel apparently have no apparent contract squabbles, what exactly is the issue? Are they just going through the motions? Do they want to be traded or released? Are they simply collecting one last paycheck?

No one can say for certain. So it certainly appears that Cassel is the only leader the Chiefs truly have for the present. At least no other player is having praise heaped upon him (http://tinyurl.com/rdeshp) in USA Today (except Trent Green, eight years ago (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/nfl/psink/2001-10-02-chiefs-green.htm)).

“You step into the role as a quarterback as the known leader. You have to show that first by going out there and demonstrating it in workouts and your day-to-day activity. You have to show everybody by example rather than what you say.”

- Matt Cassel, 2009

DaFace
06-10-2009, 07:08 PM
Decent article. Surprised you could write it being so far from practice and all.
Posted via Mobile Device

KcFanInGA
06-10-2009, 08:46 PM
Totally agree Claythan. Waters talks about being a leader, Cassel does it. As for Vrabel, IMO he should have attended voluntaries simply because it is a new team. Good post sir. LOL @ DaFace.

BigRock
06-10-2009, 08:59 PM
How do you guys keep churning out columns every week when there's very little worth talking about?

You could also replace "how" with "why".

BigChiefFan
06-10-2009, 10:08 PM
That's actually a pretty good article. It's a fluff piece, but it still brings up some talking points.

$14 million is PLENTY of incentive, but there's no denying, he's going the extra mile with his preperation. Cassell is doing all the things it takes to become a star in the league. Let's hope it pays off for him and the team.

BarrySPAMAID
06-10-2009, 10:18 PM
Good read. Leading by example is what makes a leader. Matt Cassel fits the profile.

DaneMcCloud
06-10-2009, 10:33 PM
$14 million is PLENTY of incentive

Not for nothing but wouldn't he get the $14 million if he decided to sit on his ass until mandatories and training camp?

I don't think that Cassel "succeeds" until the rest of the pieces are in place but it's certainly not from a lack of effort on his part.

JD10367
06-11-2009, 08:18 AM
When Belichick kept Tom Brady as the fourth QB (under Drew Bledsoe, Friesz, and the long-forgotten Michael Bishop) all the Patriots fans wondered why. Obviously Belichick saw something in Brady, some intangibles of leadership and desire. Brady certainly wasn't highly regarded coming out of college, and didn't look the part of a quarterback.

When Belichick elevated Brady to the backup, all the Patriots fans wondered why, for the same reasons.

Then injury gave Brady a chance to play, and we saw some good stuff from the kid, culminating in a playoff run and a magical Super Bowl.

When Belichick kept Matt Cassel around for a few seasons in a row, even though Cassel had shown nothing in camp, all the Patriots fans wondered why. Obviously Belichick saw something in Cassel, some intangibles of leadership and desire. Cassel certainly wasn't highly regarded coming out of college, and didn't look the part of a quarterback (although he looked physically more like a quarterback than Tom Brady).

When Belichick elevated Cassel to the backup, all the Patriots fans wondered why, for the same reasons.

Then injury gave Cassel a chance to play, and we saw some good stuff from the kid.

Here's where the script varied, because the Pats didn't make the playoffs thanks to losing a tiebreaker with Miami. But, IMO, if the Pats had made the playoffs... who knows what Cassel might've shown?

So, to make a long story short, I think Cassel's for real because I think he MUST have those intangibles of leadership and desire. Or else why would Belichick have kept him around? His path and Brady's are almost identical, save for that final deviation.

Cassel bided his time, studied behind Heisman QBs and behind one of the great coaching minds in Belichick, saw Brady leading the team in the manner a QB should (both on and off the field), saw how a locker room should be conducted... It's all there for him. Now he just needs Pioli to surround him with some pieces to the puzzle.

Compare that to Sanchez, who got a ridiculous contract for a kid who's yet to toss a ball in the NFL.

This is the reason I think the Chiefs were smart to take a shot at Cassel. With the cap room they have, it was a no-brainer to give him a try, even if they don't sign him long-term this year. If he's for real, he'll get paid accordingly after the season.

Arm strength and college experience is overrated. Leadership is underrated. Hence the reason guys like Chad Pennington and Kyle Orton are still kicking around the league while rifle-arms like Jeff George and Drew Bledsoe didn't, and why "sure things" like Ryan Leaf and Rick Mirer flamed out.

Chiefnj2
06-11-2009, 08:27 AM
I don't say it much, but - good job Wendler.

DTLB58
06-11-2009, 10:12 AM
I agree 100% about Cassel taking a leadership role and all but the issue about his contract and him possibly sitting out when he is going to get $14 million this season I think is a little far fetched. Take that part out of it and you got a good article imo.

whoman69
06-11-2009, 10:23 AM
Plenty of players skip the voluntary workouts because they keep in better shape on their own, and really don't learn much from them. I wouldn't say anyone is a not a leader because they skip the voluntary workouts. How many voluntary workouts you think Brett Farve took part in?

JD10367
06-11-2009, 10:23 AM
I agree 100% about Cassel taking a leadership role and all but the issue about his contract and him possibly sitting out when he is going to get $14 million this season I think is a little far fetched. Take that part out of it and you got a good article imo.

Cassel has been riding the pine his whole career. He's now guaranteed, worst-case scenario, to make a cool 14 mill in one year while FINALLY getting undisputed leadership of a team. If he sits out, he's the biggest idiot on the planet. No way he passes that up. If he does what people think he will, then he'll get an even bigger reward at the end of the year--if not from the Chiefs, then from some other team.

(And if he's as well-adjustead as he appears to be, he's actually probably fine with the idea of taking the one-year pay and probably relishes the opportunity to prove to the Chiefs and the rest of the NFL that hs IS for real. And in this economic climate, IMO the smarter move for K.C. is to pay him the one year price and see what he's got. Why pony up for a long-term deal for a guy who might not pan out? That's the mistake of the Chiefs of the past, and it's the mistake other "bad teams" do.)

JD10367
06-11-2009, 10:25 AM
Plenty of players skip the voluntary workouts because they keep in better shape on their own, and really don't learn much from them. I wouldn't say anyone is a not a leader because they skip the voluntary workouts. How many voluntary workouts you think Brett Farve took part in?

You just answered your own question. Brett Favre is not the leader people think he is. More and more people are seeing the "true" Favre. He's a shitbag who really thinks of nothing but himself. There are a lot of "leadership farces" in the NFL, and Favre is the biggest. (Some say another is Tedy Bruschi, who plays up the persona but isn't as much of a leader as people think. Some also say Vrabel might've been the same way. I wouldn't doubt it if it's also true about guys like Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis and a lot more players than we think...)

Chiefnj2
06-11-2009, 10:27 AM
Plenty of players skip the voluntary workouts because they keep in better shape on their own, and really don't learn much from them.

Vrabel was brought in to be a leader and help introduce and teach the new scheme to the younger players. Similar to what Thomas is doing. If Vrabel isn't present he can't help teach. It isn't about Vrabel learning the system.

Brock
06-11-2009, 10:27 AM
Plenty of players skip the voluntary workouts because they keep in better shape on their own, and really don't learn much from them. I wouldn't say anyone is a not a leader because they skip the voluntary workouts. How many voluntary workouts you think Brett Farve took part in?

Bad example.

Deberg_1990
06-11-2009, 10:29 AM
You just answered your own question. Brett Favre is not the leader people think he is. More and more people are seeing the "true" Favre. He's a shitbag who really thinks of nothing but himself. There are a lot of "leadership farces" in the NFL, and Favre is the biggest. (Some say another is Tedy Bruschi, who plays up the persona but isn't as much of a leader as people think. Some also say Vrabel might've been the same way. I wouldn't doubt it if it's also true about guys like Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis and a lot more players than we think...)

Which BTW, not sure if it got posted here, but it was reported that Favre had surgery a week or two ago on his arm.


He DEFINATELY wants to be a Viking.

JD10367
06-11-2009, 10:31 AM
Vrabel was brought in to be a leader and help introduce and teach the new scheme to the younger players. Similar to what Thomas is doing. If Vrabel isn't present he can't help teach. It isn't about Vrabel learning the system.

Yes, but it's still involuntary workouts being discussed here, not mandatory minicamps (let alone training camp). Those are where Vrabel will (hopefully) be able to help out, not to mention on the field during the season. Vrabel may or may not be the leader people think, but I'd be willing to bet, when it's time to put the helmet on again, he'll be there when he's supposed to be, saying what he's supposed to say, and doing it on the field.

Cassel can be the leader, along with other players on the team who will get the idea (like how Bowe seems to be starting to). Vrabel can be a "mini-leader", even if his heart's not fully into it. He'll still want to show people he can play the game.

JD10367
06-11-2009, 10:32 AM
Which BTW, not sure if it got posted here, but it was reported that Favre had surgery a week or two ago on his arm.


He DEFINATELY wants to be a Viking.

That's too bad. I like the Vikings. I was hoping Favre wanted to be a Charger or a Colt or something. :D

chiefzilla1501
06-11-2009, 11:03 AM
Plenty of players skip the voluntary workouts because they keep in better shape on their own, and really don't learn much from them. I wouldn't say anyone is a not a leader because they skip the voluntary workouts. How many voluntary workouts you think Brett Farve took part in?

One thing the article didn't bring up was Cassel's role WHILE at voluntary workouts. He's been a workout machine and it sounds like the team as a whole is interested in following his lead. Many are saying his work ethic is comparable to Brady's. That's not just on the field and in the weight room, but also after hours in the film room.

That's the main reason that I'm getting real excited about him being the Chiefs' QB. There's the element of leading by example, there's the element of improving because you put in your time to do it, and there's the third element of being a guy the team wants to rally around. Cassel seems to have all three. So that makes him an appealing QB, even if we're unsure of how much ability he has.

JD10367
06-11-2009, 11:20 AM
So that makes him an appealing QB, even if we're unsure of how much ability he has.

Well, half the "ability" of a QB consists of the very things you talked about.

In terms of on-field ability, IMO a QB needs decision-making, and escapability. The last thing defined by the kind of stuff Brady usually does; he's not the most mobile QB, but he seems to sense the pressure coming in and collapsing the pocket. This is something Cassel didn't show much of in the first game or two but displayed more and more as the season went on. Also, his read progression improved, as did his ability to deliver the pass at the last minute and his ability to look off a receiver. Really, the only thing he never fully worked the kinks out of was the long ball, and when you're throwing to Randy Moss it's hard to say if the fault was yours or his (since Randy sometimes runs the wrong way or quits on a route).

The good thing about Cassel is that he IS more mobile than Brady, so he should be able to move around a bit and evade some hits until your O-line meshes. As long as the guy's got three or four seconds of pass protection, and some guys with hands who can get open (either by speed or by shiftiness a la Wes Welker) he'll be golden.

RustShack
06-11-2009, 11:25 AM
How many voluntary workouts you think Brett Farve took part in?

ROFL

Was that really your example?

JASONSAUTO
06-11-2009, 11:36 AM
. Really, the only thing he never fully worked the kinks out of was the long ball, and when you're throwing to Randy Moss it's hard to say if the fault was yours or his (since Randy sometimes runs the wrong way or quits on a route).
.

THANK YOU, finally someone says something other than " he has no arm"

JD10367
06-11-2009, 12:41 PM
THANK YOU, finally someone says something other than " he has no arm"

You also have to view all of last season as a steady progression for Cassel. The fist game in, he looked mostly like shit. But with each game, everything improved (the reads, the footwork, the decision-making, the accuracy). I liken it to not having sex for a few years and then suddenly a supermodel walks up to you and asks you to throw her down right there; you're gonna be rusty at it for a while until you remember how to do it to the best of your ability. :D

(And if he never hits the deep ball like Peyton Manning, well, hey... If the book on Cassel ends up being, "great team leader, hard worker, leads by example, good footwork, tremendous accuracy on short- to intermediate-range passes, looks off his intended receiver, has escapability, makes solid decisions... but isn't great on the deep pass", well, I think most fans of a team could live with that.)

orange
06-11-2009, 01:20 PM
If the book on Cassel ends up being, "great team leader, hard worker, leads by example, good footwork, tremendous accuracy on short- to intermediate-range passes, looks off his intended receiver, has escapability, makes solid decisions... but isn't great on the deep pass", well, I think most fans of a team could live with that.)

Not happening - not unless that book also says "... led the Chiefs to a Superbowl championship."

whoman69
06-11-2009, 09:28 PM
Bad example.

ROFL

Was that really your example?

Is it really? You may question his petty motives right now in wanting to get back at the Packers, and his loyalty (as if there is any in this business), but you can't question the winningest QB in NFL history with every career record in the book and his leadership.

Want another example, how about Junior Seau, Ray Lewis, Marshall Faulk, Jerry Rice. You think they might have skipped a few non mandatory practices?

These camps are not so much about implementing your gameplan, but in making sure the players are in shape and know the fundamentals. Its one thing for a QB with a new team feeling the need to be there and get together with new recievers, another for a linebacker to go through endless drills making sure he knows how to move on the football field. Leave it to the coaches to teach at these mini camps weed out the bad players. Not sure veteran leadership will teach them how to do mundane football drills.