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Old 09-22-2011, 02:17 AM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Babb: Chiefs need Cassel to find comfort zone

Chiefs need Cassel to find comfort zone
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star

Last year, Matt Cassel emerged as one of the NFL’s more responsible quarterbacks — but not without a discouraging start.

He threw two interceptions in a win at Cleveland in week two, and then somehow, the picks all but disappeared. Cassel wasn’t flashy, and he didn’t possess one of the NFL’s more dazzling arms, but after the Browns game last season, Cassel threw just two interceptions in his next 10 starts, finishing 2010 with 27 touchdowns and seven picks.

What he did well was protect the ball. And if that was his quarterback’s specialty, coach Todd Haley said at the time, that was plenty. It also was enough to earn Cassel his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

Through two games this season, however, Cassel already has thrown four interceptions and just one touchdown. On Wednesday, Haley said it’s too soon to panic about Cassel’s early returns, but he did emphasize one fact that seems essential to the Chiefs’ ability to pull out of their early season nosedive.

“He needs to play better,” Haley said. “… That wasn’t what he did last year.”

Perhaps more so now than at any other time in Cassel’s three seasons as their starter, the Chiefs need their quarterback to be smart and sharp. Tight end Tony Moeaki and running back Jamaal Charles have suffered season-ending knee injuries, shifting the pressure onto Cassel to help steer his team out of trouble.

“We lost a great player in Jamaal,” Cassel said, “but that just means somebody is going to step up within that group, and it also means everybody else is going to have to raise their level of play — including myself.”

Cassel has been at his best when the pressure has been light. In four of the seven games last season in which Cassel’s passer rating was at least 100, the Chiefs also gained 200 rushing yards. Only in six of Cassel’s 15 starts did he pass for at least 200 yards, and the fact was that, with the league’s top rush offense, he didn’t need to be a hero.

With the injuries this season, that’s no longer the case.

“Right now,” Haley said, “the onus falls on him because he has to make good decisions; he has to throw the ball where it’s supposed to go when he’s throwing it; he needs to run the offense.”

Haley said the Chiefs need Cassel to play better but that he needs to do so without trying so hard. The coach indicated that Cassel’s struggles so far this season might be a result of him trying to spin the offense out of a funk, and in the process, Cassel is ending up making mistakes.

The most visible of those came late in the first half this past Sunday, when Cassel dropped to deliver a deep pass toward the end zone as time expired. He scrambled and looked deep, waiting for the perfect opportunity and the perfect receiver, Haley said Wednesday. Before he could throw, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh sacked Cassel. In the seconds before Suh brought down Cassel, a sour end to a sour half, Haley was caught by a television camera shouting for his quarterback to just throw the ball.

“Sometimes in those situations,” Haley said Wednesday, “guys press, and they want to make a play to turn the game so bad, or to get the season going the direction it needs to go, that they play outside of their capabilities.

“And that’s a tricky subject because you want guys trying hard and giving (their) best effort, but sometimes you can try to do too much, which then puts your teammates in a vulnerable position, and that clearly has occurred. That’s a bad thing, but it’s a good thing.”

The tricky thing now is for Cassel to feel comfortable, even when his surroundings — the injuries and losses already have mounted — are noticeably uncomfortable. Haley said one of the team’s priorities this week is to make Cassel understand that he’s responsible only for his own play — not for trying to keep up with a high-powered offense if the defense falters, as it did last Sunday in Detroit.

With Cassel, that’s easier said than done.

“There’s a fine line between taking risks and not playing smart,” he said. “You always want to play within the offense, but at the same time, you don’t want to be afraid to take chances.”

Cassel said the responsibility of filling the voids left from injured players will best come not only from him, but from everyone. Haley concurred, saying that if each player does his job — Cassel included — the Chiefs have a chance to do what their quarterback did in 2010:

Shake off early-season struggles and finish strong.

“That’s where we are. It’s not pandemonium or panic,” Haley said. “It’s: ‘We need to play better football.’ ”

CHIEFS AT CHARGERS
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:18 AM   #2
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:21 AM   #3
Count Alex's Losses Count Alex's Losses is offline
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:26 AM   #4
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Matt Cassel Q&A

Bless his little heart, commenting how well filled in for Brady in NE, and grading himself out perfectly again.
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:29 AM
Count Alex's Losses
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:29 AM   #5
Count Alex's Losses Count Alex's Losses is offline
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Q: Can you grade how you personally have played through these first two games?

CASSEL: “I don’t want to get into specifics or anything like that. I think that you do some good things [and] you do some bad things that you want to correct and work on, and that’s part of football. I think that it’s really more of a collective effort that we’re trying to concentrate on right now because it’s not one area or any specific area that this team needs to work on. We need to fix a lot of different things and we’re working to do that.”
Listen to that jackass. Way to shirk responsibility you overpaid piece of poo.
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tribal Warfare View Post
Matt Cassel Q&A

Bless his little heart, commenting how well filled in for Brady in NE, and grading himself out perfectly again.
He really said that?
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:34 AM   #7
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:36 AM   #8
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gif Horse View Post
Listen to that jackass. Way to shirk responsibility you overpaid piece of poo.
I love how the question was directed at him to discuss his play, but it somehow became about the team in his answer.

Just own up to it you twat.
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:43 AM   #10
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gif Horse View Post
Listen to that jackass. Way to shirk responsibility you overpaid piece of poo.
he also looked like he was going to cry a few times too like a little bitch.
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowener View Post
I love how the question was directed at him to discuss his play, but it somehow became about the team in his answer.

Just own up to it you twat.
If you look at any elite QB around the league, they are quick to throw themselves under the bus.
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:54 AM   #12
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His "Comfort Zone" is out for the season...
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:21 AM   #13
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His "Comfort Zone" is out for the season...
No kidding.

Without his "Comfort Zone" getting all the yards for the offense, Matt is going to have to actually do it himself. Good luck with that.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:36 AM   #14
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Sunday's game will be the deciding factor for me on wether or not I think The Chiefs should tank the rest of the season . Unfortunately they are playing against a team that is miles ahead of The Chiefs.

Hopefully the country will be shocked on Sunday.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:44 AM   #15
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