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Old 09-23-2009, 01:01 AM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Babb: Chiefs’ Cassel can’t count on starting if he doesn’t produce

Chiefs’ Cassel can’t count on starting if he doesn’t produce
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star

Chiefs coach Todd Haley liked some of what Matt Cassel did on Sunday, but there wasn’t enough of it for Haley to say that Cassel will be Kansas City’s starting quarterback for the rest of the season and beyond.

Haley said that, like all other positions, the quarterback job will remain available to the most proficient player — regardless of salary, name or background.

“You’ve got to ultimately do what gives your team the best chance to win,” Haley said Tuesday. “If that means another quarterback being in there other than Matt Cassel, then sign me up.”

Cassel played every snap for the Chiefs in Sunday’s 13-10 loss to Oakland. It was his first game back in the lineup after spraining his left knee in Kansas City’s third preseason game, and Haley said last week that he expected Cassel to show some rust. Cassel completed 24 of 39 passes for 241 yards. He also threw two interceptions and was sacked twice.

Haley said he was encouraged by Cassel’s performance, including the fearless way the quarterback scrambled out of trouble and rushed for 34 yards despite that bad knee.

“I like a lot about this guy,” Haley said.

But there are things that Haley said he likes about backup quarterback Brodie Croyle, too. Haley said that he wants to see both players improve each week and keep the competition between them at more than a simmer. Haley again praised Croyle’s poise in a loss in the regular-season opener at Baltimore, saying that the fourth-year quarterback gave the Chiefs a chance to upset the Ravens by playing a mostly mistake-free contest.

Haley said Tuesday that he doesn’t want any player getting too comfortable. That has been a common theme since the team gathered in July for training camp in River Falls, Wis., and Haley has said often that just because a player starts one day, he won’t necessarily start the next.

Haley has shaken up every other position group, sometimes to deliver messages to perceived starters and other times to get a look at an underused player. He said that was the reason running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Brad Cottam were inactive last Sunday: so the Chiefs could observe running back Dantrell Savage and rookie tight end Jake O’Connell without weakening other positions.

But as Haley tinkered with other positions, the one he left alone was quarterback. Haley didn’t announce Cassel as the starter until late in the preseason, but it was Cassel who took the first-team snaps in training camp and preseason games — and it was Cassel who shouldered the starting quarterback’s other responsibilities, such as a weekly meeting with reporters. It didn’t seem to hurt Cassel’s chances that he signed a long-term contract extension with the Chiefs and that he’ll make a guaranteed $28 million over the deal’s duration.

If Cassel was the one player with bulletproof job security, Haley delivered a message Tuesday that he’ll have to do like everyone else — work hard, be good and play smart — to keep his job.

“It’s a process of trying to get it right,” Haley said. “I just know this from the teams that I’ve been around and the ones I’ve paid attention to.”

He has watched other coaches make the unpopular decision of benching other communities’ preferred quarterbacks. While Haley was with the New York Jets, he watched coach Bill Parcells bench quarterback Glenn Foley, a local favorite, in favor of veteran Vinny Testaverde. The Jets won 12 games that year. Nearly a decade later, when Parcells brought Haley to Dallas, the young assistant again watched Parcells bench a popular quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, for an upstart named Tony Romo after Bledsoe started the 2006 season with three losses in six games. Romo led the Cowboys to the playoffs.

Then last year, while Haley was Arizona’s offensive coordinator, coaches chose veteran Kurt Warner as the starting quarterback despite the fact that Matt Leinart was a former first-round pick with a fat contract. Warner led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl.

“If we don’t go with what our gut tells us at that position,” Haley said, “we wouldn’t have been where we were.”

Haley said Tuesday that, in each of those cases, the head coach had to make a decision based only on instinct and in observing each quarterback’s sharpness — and ignore factors such as contract details and outside criticism.

“When we made that change,” Haley said, “there was a lot of negative feedback and, ‘What are you doing?’ and, ‘What about the future?’ There weren’t too many people saying much when we were in the Super Bowl.”

Haley wasn’t saying Tuesday that the Chiefs might finish this season in the Super Bowl — or even the playoffs. And he wasn’t saying that Cassel won’t finish this season as the Chiefs’ starter, either. He was saying that Cassel had better be on point — or, like so many other positions, Kansas City will turn toward someone who is.

“Our whole goal is to get competition at as many positions as we can, quarterback being one of those,” Haley said. “When there’s somebody pushing you, you have a better chance of being at your best. When you can’t handle that pressure, you’ll probably go by the wayside, and that becomes clear to everybody.”
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:11 AM   #2
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:46 AM   #3
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:48 AM   #4
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:02 AM   #5
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:06 AM   #6
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:26 AM   #7
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:29 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tuckdaddy View Post
Scott will not let Matt ride the pine.
You've been under Carl Peterson's thumb for too long.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KENT BABB
Haley wasn’t saying Tuesday that the Chiefs might finish this season in the Super Bowl — or even the playoffs. And he wasn’t saying that Cassel won’t finish this season as the Chiefs’ starter, either. He was saying that Cassel had better be on point — or, like so many other positions, Kansas City will turn toward someone who is.”
This is all that needed to be written in this article or JWhit's article.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuckdaddy View Post
Scott will not let Matt ride the pine.
Scott won't have to even get involved. Brodie Croyle isn't a starting NFL QB and never will be.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
Scott won't have to even get involved. Brodie Croyle isn't a starting NFL QB and never will be.
In the same interview Haley said that against the Ravens Croyle played like an NFL QB. What do you know that Haley, a former QB coach, doesn't?

That said, this whole thing is a media created QB controversy. Haley never said Cassel was in any danger of being benched, he just said what he has always said, that the player at every position that gives us the best chance to win will start. It just means that Cassel has to play well to keep his job, like every other player on the team.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:58 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by splatbass View Post
In the same interview Haley said that against the Ravens Croyle played like an NFL QB. What do you know that Haley, a former QB coach, doesn't?

That said, this whole thing is a media created QB controversy. Haley never said Cassel was in any danger of being benched, he just said what he has always said, that the player at every position that gives us the best chance to win will start. It just means that Cassel has to play well to keep his job, like every other player on the team.
Actually, Haley is a current QB coach....
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:02 AM   #13
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The headline is a no-brainer.

NO player should think that they're going to play for long if they don't produce.

Again, the media creating something from nothing.

Do they teach reporting or alchemy at j-school these days. Pathetic
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:24 AM   #14
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Actually, Haley is a current QB coach....
Yes, he is. Doesn't change my point.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:41 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by splatbass View Post
In the same interview Haley said that against the Ravens Croyle played like an NFL QB. What do you know that Haley, a former QB coach, doesn't?
Haley said in his press conference last week that he was happy that Croyle didn't turn the ball over. Haley knows what Brodie is, make no mistake about it.
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