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Tribal Warfare
09-11-2010, 11:36 PM
Chiefs QB Cassel has questions to answer this season (http://www.kansascity.com/2010/09/11/2216424/chiefs-qb-cassel-has-questions.html)
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star

Matt Cassel is improvising now, the way good quarterbacks sometimes have to — because the plan has changed, and he has to scramble.

These are the times that you get the truest sense of a quarterback. Not the façade of outer toughness and unflappable poise that he’s been coached to be, but something more real.

Cassel stands behind a lectern, answering questions about his skills and future during his weekly meeting with reporters. Most of the time, he is emotionless, delivering stock responses that, like so much else, have been coached into him.

Then the conversation turns to Cassel’s critics and whether he’ll prove them wrong. How fans’ doubts intensified after an unimpressive preseason. Whether he can become the man to direct the Chiefs toward better days.

Cassel has answered this before, but rarely like this. His eyes well, and his tone is direct.

“I don’t play this game for the people that are against me and think that I can’t do it,” he says, and his candor is as surprising as it is refreshing. “I play the game for the people that have always believed in me. I play the game for my family, for my wife, for my mother, so it really comes down to that.”

Another question comes, but Cassel is finished. He walks out.

• • •

Past the same door Cassel left through, beyond a set of double doors and to the left, there are plenty of men in the Chiefs locker room who say publicly that they’re among the people Cassel plays for.

Some things have never been in doubt with Cassel. His passion, leadership and determination are impressive, and those have helped him earn his teammates’ respect. Ask them about Cassel, and these are the things they say about him:

“Matt is a wonderful person,” running back Jamaal Charles says. “A nice person.”

“He has a great work ethic,” wide receiver Chris Chambers says.

“As a person,” left guard Brian Waters says, “he’s definitely more comfortable and definitely more confident.”

But what about his skills? Succeeding at this level, in this league, at this position is about ability more than anything. Cassel’s preseason was forgettable; he threw two interceptions and fumbled twice, overshadowing his three touchdown passes.

With that in mind, does Cassel’s talent match his character? Those same teammates, given a chance to endorse their quarterback’s ability, instead dodge the question. They’re in offensive meetings with Cassel, and they watch game and practice footage of their quarterback.

But asked directly if they see an improvement in Cassel’s play — not his personality — and the players hesitate.

“Every game’s not going to be perfect,” Charles says.

“He overall has a grasp of the concepts,” Chambers says.

“I’m probably the wrong person to ask,” says Waters, who changes the subject and again redirects the conversation to Cassel’s character.

Beyond these walls, it has become clear that Cassel is entering a pivotal season for his team and himself. The Chiefs believed last year that Cassel could become their franchise quarterback, signing him to a six-year, $63 million contract. It was a gamble, and the question of whether Cassel can fulfill the Chiefs’ expectations will likely be answered in the next three months.

Rich Gannon is a former NFL quarterback who is now a game analyst for CBS Sports. He has watched, studied and spoken with Cassel. Gannon says what others say: Cassel is a good guy, but it’s unclear yet whether he can become a good player.

And, Gannon says, Cassel doesn’t have much time to prove himself to those outside his unconditional support system.

“There’s a sense of urgency. I think he realizes this is an important year,” Gannon says. “I’m just trying to be realistic. I think he’s a fine player. Do I think he’s a Pro Bowl-caliber player right now? Well, no. He’s got to get better.

“As you look at him in the preseason, it’s still a work in progress. That’s the frustrating thing for a lot of people.”

Faith is a delicate thing in the NFL. It can change by the week; sometimes by the day. Players are wired to project confidence in their teammates, but it’s difficult to know what’s true and what simply fits the team’s message.

But few argue that this is a quick-fix league, and faith at this level is black and white: Is a player the best option or not? Teammates and coaches might believe in a player today and, after a bad performance, begin eyeing his replacement tomorrow.

Gannon says that another so-so year for Cassel in 2010 might lead the Chiefs’ faith to waver and begin looking toward someone else in 2011. Waters says he believes in Cassel. But like everything in the NFL, that is subject to change.

“I have full confidence that we can be a playoff team with him,” Waters says. “If not, then he shouldn’t be at quarterback.”

• • •

The Chiefs spent the past eight months removing obstacles for Cassel. They signed running back Thomas Jones, re-signed Chambers and improved the offensive line. Coach Todd Haley hired offensive coordinator Charlie Weis to work with Cassel.

For all the talk last year that Cassel was new to the system, that the Chiefs were a mess, and that he was just trying to get his bearings, much of that has changed. With that in mind, the Chiefs now want to see what reporters saw when Cassel walked out of that room: something genuine. This season, Kansas City will get the truest look yet of its quarterback, for better or worse.

“There are no excuses with Matt Cassel,” Gannon says.

Haley is as aware as anyone of the importance of a team’s quarterback. He has worked with good passers and questionable ones, and he has been part of staffs that had to make the decision that the young, well-paid quarterback wasn’t the best option.

Haley was Arizona’s coordinator when the Cardinals benched former first-round pick Matt Leinart for veteran Kurt Warner, who led the team to the Super Bowl, which led to Haley being considered for head coaching jobs.

Now Haley is in charge, and he has to decide over the next 16 games whether the real Cassel is the same as the one the Chiefs think he can be, the one everyone saw lead the Patriots in 2008 when Tom Brady was hurt. Haley says that Cassel’s decision-making has improved and that, even if things go poorly, his quarterback sees the entire field. Warner shared that quality, too.

“Generally,” Haley says, “it’s pretty spot-on what he sees. That’s a real good trait, something that Kurt was phenomenal at.

“A quarterback has to have great vision; that tells me that Matt sees what’s happening.”

Haley has said that he believes in Cassel, and that perhaps he can become great. But Gannon and others say that Cassel’s footwork and accuracy must improve before that’s a consideration. Whatever happens this season, the Chiefs will learn whether their gamble — and the investments they’ve made to get an accurate view of Cassel — was the right one.

For now, there are still too many questions.

“I know so much about him,” says former NFL personnel director Gil Brandt, “but so little.”

• • •

Before he walked out of the media room, Cassel said he believes he improved in these last eight months. And he said that this season is no different from any other, and that he learned about the same this past offseason with Weis as in past years. But as always, it’s hard to tell which Cassel is saying that: the one who is supposed to say it or the one who actually believes it.

“Every year is important. Every game is important,” he says. “Specifically for this team, where we are in our stage of growth … it’s important for us to get off to a terrific start, and it is important for us to try to have some success.

“It always starts with the quarterback.”

Cassel has at least been committed to preparation. He can control that much, and that’s among the things that have his teammates’ attention.

“I don’t know if he always works like that,” Chambers says, “but right after the season, he was here that next week, working out, getting ready for the season. I was on the couch.

“That’s the type of guy he is. He wants to be a good quarterback in this league.”

As the Chiefs begin a new season, their second with Cassel in the starting lineup, the time has come for Cassel to define himself. His team needs to know that, more than wanting to be a good quarterback, he can become one.

“You’re always going to be tested,” he says, “and there is always going to be scrutiny and there is always going to be somebody saying, ‘Hey, he’s not good enough. He can’t do this, he can’t do that.’

“Once you start winning ballgames and you start playing well, and the team starts playing well, that takes care of itself. … I have a job to do, and right now my job is to be the quarterback of this team. I’m going to go out and work hard and do everything I need to do.”

McCLUSTER ‘DOUBTFUL’ FOR OPENER
Rookie receiver Dexter McCluster is listed on the injury report as having an unspecified illness, but he did practice during the portion of Saturday’s workout that was open to the media

Chiefs Pantalones
09-11-2010, 11:38 PM
OMG are you kidding me? Another "duh" article. WTF

KCrockaholic
09-11-2010, 11:42 PM
DERRRRR.

Sure-Oz
09-11-2010, 11:45 PM
Kent Blahh........

Count Alex's Losses
09-11-2010, 11:45 PM
“Matt is a wonderful person,” running back Jamaal Charles says. “A nice person.”

“He has a great work ethic,” wide receiver Chris Chambers says.

“As a person,” left guard Brian Waters says, “he’s definitely more comfortable and definitely more confident.”

http://i50.tinypic.com/30u5kpg.jpg

boogblaster
09-11-2010, 11:51 PM
babble on thru da fog

DeezNutz
09-11-2010, 11:52 PM
“Matt is a wonderful person,” running back Jamaal Charles says. “A nice person.”

“He has a great work ethic,” wide receiver Chris Chambers says.

.....................................................................................

“Every game’s not going to be perfect,” Charles says.

“He overall has a grasp of the concepts,” Chambers says.

“I’m probably the wrong person to ask,” says Waters, who changes the subject and again redirects the conversation to Cassel’s character.


LMAO. :facepalm:.

Sure-Oz
09-11-2010, 11:57 PM
ugh

pr_capone
09-12-2010, 12:05 AM
KENT BABB

He gets paid for this?

http://img808.imageshack.us/img808/6737/boothisman.gif

SNR
09-12-2010, 12:07 AM
At least the players aren't sucking his nuts and know what a piece of shit he is.

-King-
09-12-2010, 12:10 AM
All writers should be columnists.

DaneMcCloud
09-12-2010, 12:33 AM
My taint hurts from reading this drivel

Direckshun
09-12-2010, 12:35 AM
You guys are missing the forest for the trees here. Christ.

The positive to take from this isn't that This Article or That Article is bad... it's that very gradually, an anti-Cassel narrative is taking hold in the KC media. Virtually none of this criticism aired in 2009.

The sooner that happens, the better off the future of this team will be.

I would be encouraging of stories like this, not dismissive.

Bump
09-12-2010, 12:37 AM
okthxbai

petegz28
09-12-2010, 01:09 AM
Wow, this was an orginal article. What is this, like the 4th article about question and Cassel from the Star now?

Tribal Warfare
09-12-2010, 01:26 AM
Wow, this was an orginal article. What is this, like the 4th article about question and Cassel from the Star now?

Honestly, almost thought this was repost but I checked the date of the article to confirm it.

Shogun
09-12-2010, 01:42 AM
http://www.oldnewspublishing.com/samp2.jpg

DaneMcCloud
09-12-2010, 01:54 AM
Taint. Still. Hurts.

It'll probably still hurt after Monday night's game but I've got friends coming in to share my pain.

Tequila, Vodka and beer should soothe the inevitable pain.

For this week.

BossChief
09-12-2010, 02:59 AM
With that in mind, does Cassel’s talent match his character? Those same teammates, given a chance to endorse their quarterback’s ability, instead dodge the question. They’re in offensive meetings with Cassel, and they watch game and practice footage of their quarterback.

But asked directly if they see an improvement in Cassel’s play — not his personality — and the players hesitate.

“Every game’s not going to be perfect,” Charles says.

“He overall has a grasp of the concepts,” Chambers says.

“I’m probably the wrong person to ask,” says Waters, who changes the subject and again redirects the conversation to Cassel’s character.

...
not good

the Talking Can
09-12-2010, 05:02 AM
With that in mind, does Cassel’s talent match his character? Those same teammates, given a chance to endorse their quarterback’s ability, instead dodge the question. They’re in offensive meetings with Cassel, and they watch game and practice footage of their quarterback.

But asked directly if they see an improvement in Cassel’s play — not his personality — and the players hesitate.

“Every game’s not going to be perfect,” Charles says.

“He overall has a grasp of the concepts,” Chambers says.

“I’m probably the wrong person to ask,” says Waters, who changes the subject and again redirects the conversation to Cassel’s character.

holy mother of goldmines

ROFL

i am so sick of the fans....and the kc media...and the national media...and Charlie Weis...and all of Cassel's teammates bitching about Cassel [/pioli zombie]

Fish
09-12-2010, 09:21 AM
Could it possibly be any more obvious that nobody outside of the True Fans™ actually believes in Cassel?

OnTheWarpath58
09-12-2010, 10:16 AM
Could it possibly be any more obvious that nobody outside of the True Fans™ actually believes in Cassel?

And even they are slowly beginning to turn.

On a side note, where the fuck were you yesterday?

FAX
09-12-2010, 10:20 AM
Not the typical pap and vacuous rhetoric. Cassel finally showed some fire in a presser? Color me shocked.

Then color me in denial, then color me angry, then color me bargaining, then color me depressed, then color me accepting because I'm grieving over our quarterback situation.

FAX

threebag02
09-12-2010, 10:48 AM
My taint hurts from reading this drivel

Shove a BIG 'OLE cucumber in one of the adjacent holes. That should relocate the pain.

Coogs
09-12-2010, 10:53 AM
Then the conversation turns to Cassel’s critics and whether he’ll prove them wrong. How fans’ doubts intensified after an unimpressive preseason. Whether he can become the man to direct the Chiefs toward better days.

Cassel has answered this before, but rarely like this. His eyes well

That alone tells me quite a bit.