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Tribal Warfare
09-26-2010, 02:25 AM
Cassel remains steady in face of criticism (http://www.kansascity.com/2010/09/25/2250642/cassel-remains-steady-in-face.html)
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star

The most criticized quarterback of an undefeated team picks up the phone. Matt Cassel needs a laugh. The voice on the other end is Wes Welker, the Patriots’ Pro Bowl receiver and one of Cassel’s best friends.

“What’d you throw for, 70 yards?” Welker says. “Way to go. I’m not playing you in fantasy next week.”

Cassel laughs, then calls his 5-foot-9 friend a horse jockey. If only all the criticism came this good-natured.

The Chiefs’ quarterback insulates himself as well as possible. No newspapers, no websites, no radio, no ESPN. But the outside world is hard to avoid, so Cassel knows what people think by the questions he hears in press conferences and by the neighbors who say things like, Hang in there, I know they’re killing you.

This is all so strange. Cassel is the starting quarterback of a 2-0 team in a city starved for good vibes, but the story lines have become more about what the Chiefs aren’t doing — like giving Jamaal Charles the ball or having any success throwing the ball.

Cassel gets it. He understands the business, that accepting the job and the $63 million contract means also accepting the criticism when he ranks 30th in passer rating and the general feeling around town is that the wins are coming in spite of the franchise’s chosen quarterback, not because of him.

Cassel is fine with that. Those shoulders are strong. He’s studied for this test most of his life, 28 years of doing what nobody expected in circumstances they figured would be too much. Most of the time, he’s done it smiling.

“He’s really a rare kind of person,” says Tom Brady, the future Hall of Famer and another close friend. “He’s not a guy who loses his confidence.”

• • •

You probably remember Matt Cassel’s proudest football moment. Two years ago this month, Brady went down with a knee injury against the Chiefs in the season opener, and in comes Cassel with a game undecided for the first time in nearly 10 years — since high school.

His first pass? A 51-yard gain down the sideline to Randy Moss. His first drive? Ended with a touchdown pass.

“Outwardly, you stay cool,” he says. “But really, I’m like, ‘I knew I could do it!’ ”

Cassel played well enough that season to rank 10th in passer rating and have the Patriots give him the franchise tag before trading him to Kansas City.

He is now a millionaire many times over, a wife and baby girl at home, and the story of how he got here is so much deeper than the lifetime backup quarterback finally getting a chance after the MVP’s knee snapped.

• • •

Did you know Cassel survived a massive earthquake?

He was 11, and the ground in suburban Los Angeles shook enough that all the water in his family’s pool dumped into the house and collapsed the roof. Matt hid under a table, and when the earth stopped moving, there were 72 dead and $25 billion in property damage.

That summer, he helped “the Earthquake Kids” to the championship game of the Little League World Series. He’s been through his parents’ divorce and temporary financial troubles, losing out on the quarterback job he thought he earned at USC, and then needing the day of his life at a pro workout just to have the opportunity to beat out four others to be Brady’s backup.

Matt Cassel, starting NFL quarterback, should not be happening. This weird story could’ve ended with that earthquake. Or with his college coach’s offer to play tight end. Or by giving it up when the Oakland A’s drafted him as a pitcher, or with a less impressive pro workout or, really, any number of trying moments in between.

Sure, Cassel has struggled this season and is being called out for it. But you know what’s harder than that? Planning your father’s funeral before one game, then burying him before the next during your first season as a starter. Cassel did that, and threw for 563 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception in two wins for the Patriots.

Having bad personal numbers for a 2-0 team nobody expected doesn’t feel so difficult.

“Everybody has to deal with something,” he says.

That’s true, and Cassel’s problems aren’t necessarily more difficult than yours, or your neighbor’s, or some of his teammates.

But the difference is he’ll be remembered forever — at least here in Kansas City — for how he deals with this.

• • •

Will Shields got on the radio the other day and became another voice of doubt. There’ve been plenty of doubts already, including right here, but it’s different when a 12-time Pro Bowl lineman is doing the doubting.

“I don’t really see Matt Cassel playing with swagger yet,” he said on WHB 810 AM. “He seems a little hesitant with the pass and trusting where his wide receivers are going to be.”

The criticism is piling up by now and has the attention of the Chiefs, from the top on down. They believe in their guy, and want people to know it. Coach Todd Haley, in particular, is usually effusive in his public support of Cassel even if the criticism can come heavy away from the public.

Haley gets on other guys during news conferences, but rarely the quarterback. The two have a strong mutual respect that’s developed into a close bond. They’re not friends, exactly, but it isn’t the classic boss-employee relationship, either.

Each week, they meet for hours, the door shut behind them, and it’s part Coach and Quarterback, but it’s more Todd and Matt. They’ll go golfing after the season’s over.

• • •

This is the way Haley knows. It’s worked in the past. Kurt Warner came by this summer to see his old coach and laugh about old times, and speaking of Warner, Haley will tell you he sees a lot of Warner’s same qualities in Cassel. Tony Romo and Vinny Testaverde, too.

Haley has coached good quarterbacks before. He likes to say they come in different shapes and sizes and personalities, and that’s fine, but the good ones need to have an obsessive work ethic and constant need to improve. He says Cassel has that, same as those other guys, and different than the bad ones he’s seen.

Haley is asked about Cassel a lot these days. People want to know if he’s really this happy with a quarterback that’s completed just 52 percent of his passes and hasn’t yet led a sustained touchdown drive. Haley understands. He won’t say any of the criticism is unfair.

But he is also adamant that Cassel has been “a very big part” of both the Chiefs’ wins. The team didn’t need anything more, Haley says, because they won. Haley is consistent in his message that Cassel is improving.

“From a competitive standpoint, I don’t know that I want to get into that,” he says when asked specifically what Cassel has improved. “This process we’re in as a team, Matt’s in the same process. What I’ve been excited about, and continue to be excited about, is the progress. I’m not measuring it any other way than visually seeing a quarterback improve.”

• • •

Tom Brady doesn’t do many one-on-one interviews, especially not for out-of-town newspapers, but he returned this phone call because of his respect for Cassel.

Brady says he is sure Cassel will succeed because of his attitude. Long before this season’s struggles, long before the big contract, and even before Cassel got to play for the Patriots, he was the insignificant backup who treated every moment with significance.

“I’m telling you,” Brady says, “he always had energy for practice, for games, for meetings. Just a great guy to be around. He’d always add something, no matter what.”

This is the attitude that ultimately will make or break Cassel’s time in Kansas City, and by extension, could make or break this whole Chiefs movement. The talent around Cassel is much better than last year, even if the receivers could get more separation and the blocking is inconsistent.

Haley and general manager Scott Pioli are jumping all-in with Cassel, and there have been flashes. Welker knows Cassel as well as anyone, and says the talent is there “to be one of the top five quarterbacks in the league, absolutely.”

Cassel completed eight of 12 passes for 116 yards in the second half last week against Cleveland. Last year, he led two fantastic scoring drives late in an overtime win over the Steelers.

Today will be Cassel’s 33rd start in the NFL, and the league’s history is full of quarterbacks who blossomed later than this. Scouts like to see at least 30 starts from a prospect before the draft, so in some ways we’re all still learning what he is. Hell, he’s figuring it out, too.

But there are few businesses as bottom-line brutal as the NFL. You can say Cassel is inexperienced, but he’s also older than 15 quarterbacks who will start this weekend.

Cassel answers when asked specifics of what he’s improved. He mentions his footwork and reads and ability to stay calm and confident under pressure. Those are good qualities, ones he’ll need now, because there are so many of us skeptical of how this will end.

Cassel has dealt with doubts before, always with a smile, always taking the last laugh. This time it’s for keeps. He admits it pisses him off. But he knows no other way.

“Life’s too short to be miserable and upset,” he says. “Everybody goes through tough times, but why be miserable? I’m working on it, man.”

BossChief
09-26-2010, 02:27 AM
I'm gonna have A TON of respect for this guy if he ever turns things around (and even more for Charlie Weis)...but I don't think he will.

Count Alex's Losses
09-26-2010, 02:30 AM
Mellinger is more palatable when he sticks to features. Well done.

“Everybody has to deal with something,” he says.

Yeah, Matt. We have to deal with you being our QB. It sucks.

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 02:30 AM
I'm ah...feeling a little nauseous. If you'll be so kind as to excuse me for a moment...


:Lin:

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 02:31 AM
Mellinger is more palatable when he sticks to features. Well done.



Yeah, Matt. We have to deal with you being our QB. It sucks.

Did you know Cassel survived an earthquake, Clay?

:Lin:

Smed1065
09-26-2010, 02:32 AM
Yeah kinda sad. I root for him but he has shown shit.

I will get blasted but I get flashbacks to humm HE. No internet, no news, no other perspective but moms. IMO.

Knows he sucks and shields himself from reality.

Count Alex's Losses
09-26-2010, 02:32 AM
“I’m telling you,” Brady says, “he always had energy for practice, for games, for meetings."

Well shit, at least Cassel doesn't have chronic fatigue.

Pro Bowl material right there.

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 02:33 AM
I wish we had a QB that would make out with Haley behind closed doors, and then go golfing in the offseason.

:Lin:
(http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/images/smilies/barf.gif)

Count Alex's Losses
09-26-2010, 02:34 AM
“Life’s too short to be miserable and upset,” he says. “Everybody goes through tough times, but why be miserable?"

BECAUSE YOU ARE THE QUARTERBACK OF THE CHIEFS, HOBO MASTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WE'RE FUCKING SUICIDAL!

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 02:35 AM
Well shit, at least Cassel doesn't have chronic fatigue.

Pro Bowl material right there.

I once heard tell that his Gatorade-making skills at USC were unmatched...:Lin:

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 02:37 AM
"He's really a rare kind of person"

-Tom Brady.

I agree; suck is SO HARD to find in this league.

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 02:38 AM
Did you know that Haley gets on other guys, but not Cassel? In public?

ChiefsNow
09-26-2010, 02:40 AM
Did you know that Haley gets on other guys, but not Cassel? In public?

breakout game coming

Smed1065
09-26-2010, 02:42 AM
Did you know that Haley gets on other guys, but not Cassel? In public?

This is what makes me concerned. I know everyone has a different motivator but time for tough love.

Way past due. IMHO.

So is it Haley or Pioli.

I fell it is Pioli with the QB.

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 02:43 AM
This is what makes me concerned. I know everyone has a different motivator but time for tough love.

Way past due. IMHO.

The killer is the never ending talk of creating competition within the ranks, and then the guy that needs it the most gets a Hall Pass...

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 02:45 AM
breakout game coming

We can only hope. But how do you "fix" such suck? And in his case; is a "breakout game" really just the winds of fortune in light of his usual skills?

Smed1065
09-26-2010, 02:47 AM
The killer is the never ending talk of creating competition within the ranks, and then the guy that needs it the most gets a Hall Pass...

I agree and I know we do not agree often.....

Nothing but the facts mam..

I liked both GM and coach at first but have to say GM suks so far. Coach is looking much better and GM is sucking much more in year 2.

IMHO.

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 02:57 AM
I agree and I know we do not agree often.....

Nothing but the facts mam..

I liked both GM and coach at first but have to say GM suks so far. Coach is looking much better and GM is sucking much more in year 2.

IMHO.

After this draft; I like both to be honest. But I just can't stand the blind obedience/shut lips/HUGE break and cover up they are affording Cassel. It's ridiculous.

Smed1065
09-26-2010, 03:01 AM
After this draft; I like both to be honest. But I just can't stand the blind obedience/shut lips/HUGE break and cover up they are affording Cassel. It's ridiculous.

I agree. I am guessing but do you think if it was Haley, there would be no mention, competition, etc? Or might be told to shut up and someone else? Just a theory so far from me.

Could add more to make my point but why?

Conspiracy theory.

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 03:08 AM
I agree. I am guessing but do you think if it was Haley, there would be no mention, competition, etc? Or might be told to shut up and someone else? Just a theory so far from me.

Could add more to make my point but why?

Conspiracy theory.

Pioli is the Dragon Head. And right now, the Dragon Head wants to hear "Stand By Your Man" on the jukebox, plain and simple.

I just hope it's the Blues Brothers version so we can eventually move on.

Smed1065
09-26-2010, 03:14 AM
Pioli is the Dragon Head. And right now, the Dragon Head wants to hear "Stand By Your Man" on the jukebox, plain and simple.

I just hope it's the Blues Brothers version so we can eventually move on.

I agree.

Here is to a win tomorrow.

Ugly or not...LOL

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 03:26 AM
I agree.

Here is to a win tomorrow.

Ugly or not...LOL

Damn straight! :rockon::toast:

Thig Lyfe
09-26-2010, 04:28 AM
tl;dr

bring back tyler

Sweet Daddy Hate
09-26-2010, 04:36 AM
tl;dr

bring back tyler

You are a wonderful anomaly to me, Sir.

Fritz88
09-26-2010, 05:48 AM
I miss Jason Whitlock.
Posted via Mobile Device

boogblaster
09-26-2010, 07:23 AM
I feel for the guy .. but he needs to step-up his play .. he did have a better second half last week ....

DeezNutz
09-26-2010, 08:22 AM
I'm gonna have A TON of respect for this guy if he ever turns things around (and even more for Charlie Weis)...but I don't think he will.

We need to be patient. For many QBs, it all doesn't click until they're 35.

milkman
09-26-2010, 09:04 AM
We need to be patient. For many QBs, it all doesn't click until they're 35.

When you're a back up in college and 4 years in the NFL, then that just might well be the actual timeline for a QB to get it.

But even with as little faith as I, and most of us, have in him, it is not out of the realm of possibility that it could all just suddenly click for him at some point.

DeezNutz
09-26-2010, 09:06 AM
When you're a back up in college and 4 years in the NFL, then that just might well be the actual timeline for a QB to get it.

But even with as little faith as I, and most of us, have in him, it is not out of the realm of possibility that it could all just suddenly click for him at some point.

Honestly, I think it's completely out of the realm of possibilities, depending upon one's definition of "it all clicking." Could he become average? Ok, sure, if "it clicks."

But his skill set and, most importantly, instincts are mediocre at very best.

Short Leash Hootie
09-26-2010, 09:07 AM
When you're a back up in college and 4 years in the NFL, then that just might well be the actual timeline for a QB to get it.

But even with as little faith as I, and most of us, have in him, it is not out of the realm of possibility that it could all just suddenly click for him at some point.

God I wish...

but the guy is fucking awful...

Literally.

I would take 40 year old Trent Green over him...please....can we sign him off of NFL Network? Please?

OnTheWarpath58
09-26-2010, 09:15 AM
His proudest moment is coming off the bench and beating a 2-14 team?

Yeah, that speaks volumes.

milkman
09-26-2010, 09:20 AM
Honestly, I think it's completely out of the realm of possibilities, depending upon one's definition of "it all clicking." Could he become average? Ok, sure, if "it clicks."

But his skill set and, most importantly, instincts are mediocre at very best.

I've noted before that when he's decisive and has confidence in his decision, he does actually have decent zip on his throws.

He does have a weak arm,, but not as weak as he displays with his lack of confidence he shows in his decsions.

I have liittle faith that he will get it.

But Charlie Weis seemingly believes he is starting to get it, so I will not dismiss the possibility out of hand.

milkman
09-26-2010, 09:23 AM
My biggest concern is his total lack of pocket presence.

I don't know that I've ever seen a QB actually develop that.

It's instinctive, and he just has never displayed any instinct.

grandllama
09-26-2010, 09:25 AM
I think they just keep the frame work for this article in a swipe file on the Star servers...

You could insert any maligned Chiefs quarterback in this article and recycle... and they have.

I swear I've read the same article about Kenney, Blackledge, Bono, Grbac....

Pasta Giant Meatball
09-26-2010, 09:28 AM
Get er done Cassel

Coogs
09-26-2010, 09:30 AM
breakout game coming

I'd be fuggin' thrilled with a repeat of the second half of the Browns game. Add in a couple of rushing TD's, and I like our chances today.

DeezNutz
09-26-2010, 09:31 AM
My biggest concern is his total lack of pocket presence.

I don't know that I've ever seen a QB actually develop that.

It's instinctive, and he just has never displayed any instinct.

Exactly.

I think it can be developed, but I don't think this can happen at the highest level. Can't go from high school to the NFL, in terms of playing time, and expect to have any feel for the game.

DeezNutz
09-26-2010, 09:34 AM
Chris Carter just identified the Chiefs as a "pretender" because of Matt Cassel. Carter said, "I labeled him a high school QB, and if you watch him, he makes about 5-6 decisions per game that make him look like a high school QB."

chief4life
09-26-2010, 09:38 AM
Chris Carter just identified the Chiefs as a "pretender" because of Matt Cassel. Carter said, "I labeled him a high school QB, and if you watch him, he makes about 5-6 decisions per game that make him look like a high school QB."

Wasn't he the one that said we were going to win our division this year? No matter what he says and anyone else says i am still going to root for him to succeed and hopefully he will have a lot of people eating crow.

milkman
09-26-2010, 09:38 AM
Chris Carter just identified the Chiefs as a "pretender" because of Matt Cassel. Carter said, "I labeled him a high school QB, and if you watch him, he makes about 5-6 decisions per game that make him look like a high school QB."

Interesting.

Mooch labeled the Chiefs as pretetnders because of the ineffectiveness of the passing game.

But I don't think either are telling us anything that we didn't already know.

milkman
09-26-2010, 09:39 AM
Wasn't he the one that said we were going to win our division this year? No matter what he says and anyone else says i am still going to root for him to succeed and hopefully he will have a lot of people eating crow.

My greatest hope.

I want to be eating a shit ton of crow by season's end.

DeezNutz
09-26-2010, 09:39 AM
Interesting.

Mooch labeled the Chiefs as pretetnders because of the ineffectiveness of the passing game.

But I don't think either are telling us anything that we didn't already know.

Nope. It's only noteworthy in so far as the national perspective is getting in step with the local one.

smittysbar
09-26-2010, 09:40 AM
I feel for the guy .. but he needs to step-up his play .. he did have a better second half last week ....

Why the hell do you "feel for the guy"?

jspchief
09-26-2010, 09:43 AM
Steady in the face of criticism....

Too bad he can't stay steady in the face of a phantom pass rush.

jspchief
09-26-2010, 09:50 AM
My biggest concern is his total lack of pocket presence.

I don't know that I've ever seen a QB actually develop that.

It's instinctive, and he just has never displayed any instinct.Oh they develop it. They develop it by playing in college. Something Cassel hasn't done.

I don't know how the hell he's supposed to adjust to the speed of the NFL when he never even was asked to adjust to the speed of NCAA division 1 football.

It's no mystery why he looks like a rabbit surrounded by wolves out there.

OnTheWarpath58
09-26-2010, 09:53 AM
Steady in the face of criticism....

Too bad he can't stay steady in the face of a phantom pass rush.

Oh they develop it. They develop it by playing in college. Something Cassel hasn't done.

I don't know how the hell he's supposed to adjust to the speed of the NFL when he never even was asked to adjust to the speed of NCAA division 1 football.

It's no mystery why he looks like a rabbit surrounded by wolves out there.

Good posts.

milkman
09-26-2010, 10:01 AM
Oh they develop it. They develop it by playing in college. Something Cassel hasn't done.

I don't know how the hell he's supposed to adjust to the speed of the NFL when he never even was asked to adjust to the speed of NCAA division 1 football.

It's no mystery why he looks like a rabbit surrounded by wolves out there.

I should have been more clear.

I have never seen it developed on the NFL level.

By the time they reach the NFL, it's instinctive.

OnTheWarpath58
09-26-2010, 10:02 AM
I should have been more clear.

I have never seen it developed on the NFL level.

I knew what you meant, and I'd bet jsp did too.

bevischief
09-26-2010, 10:07 AM
Hope...

DeezNutz
09-26-2010, 10:08 AM
Exactly.

I think it can be developed, but I don't think this can happen at the highest level. Can't go from high school to the NFL, in terms of playing time, and expect to have any feel for the game.

Why were the reposts more interesting than the original? :)

DeezNutz
09-26-2010, 10:10 AM
And I'm done "hoping that I'm wrong about Cassel" because I'm not. It would be more productive to hope for a hamstring pull in order to see if Brokie can stay upright and produce.

Count Alex's Losses
09-26-2010, 10:57 AM
Deez, wouldn't the second half last week be reason to hope?

DeezNutz
09-26-2010, 10:58 AM
Deez, wouldn't the second half last week be reason to hope?

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_6wi7Cq_0bTE/TA6G-XAQuZI/AAAAAAAAAWI/IgN-5Sa6YhU/s1600/4horsemen.jpg

Delano
09-26-2010, 11:00 AM
"Cassel looks like a high school player... He makes 5 or 6 high school level throws per game." - Cris Carter.
Posted via Mobile Device

Count Alex's Losses
09-26-2010, 11:04 AM
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_6wi7Cq_0bTE/TA6G-XAQuZI/AAAAAAAAAWI/IgN-5Sa6YhU/s1600/4horsemen.jpg

Ride on.

petegz28
09-26-2010, 11:20 AM
After this draft; I like both to be honest. But I just can't stand the blind obedience/shut lips/HUGE break and cover up they are affording Cassel. It's ridiculous.

The problem is if you rip your QB publicly it can break down your entire offense. That is a pitfall you have to avoid. It is not the same as chewing out a lineman for a penalty or missed block. It's a psychological thing. If the offense sees the coach ripping the QB they say "fuck, we got to go out there and play for him?".

It just isn't something I think should be done at this time.