October 10, 2012
While that should go without saying, there is still some truth to the noise Chiefs’ fans were making at the end of a 9-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Concussion or not, Matt Cassel is clearly not the answer at quarterback for Kansas City, and it’s probably time to move on.
The proof is in the pudding, or arguably in this case, the lack of it. Cassel has been erratic and inconsistent throughout his four-year Chiefs career. His first season was marred with inconsistency following a dream season in 2007 as the starter for the New England Patriots. He marched into town as the Chiefs’ savior in 2008, but ended up missing the playoffs by a wide margin and he tossed 16 interceptions with just 16 touchdowns.
He was a far cry away from his 21/11 TD/INT ratio as a member of an 11-5 Patriots team the year prior, as he filled in for an injured Tom Brady. Fans and even the Chiefs were quickly wondering if their big investment made sense anymore.
The next season Cassel was a new man. He threw for 27 touchdowns and just seven picks en route to a 10-6 record and a trip to the playoffs. Suddenly there was hope again.
That is, until the next season, when Cassel was back to his inconsistent ways, while the team opened the year with an 0-3 start. Kansas City made a comeback with four straight wins, but then went on to lose two more before Cassel exited for the year with a wrist injury.
After flirtation with Peyton Manning and draft rumors involving Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden, the Chiefs decided (or defaulted) to stick with Cassel and backed him as their franchise passer. They didn’t even offer much room for conversation, either, as they only slotted Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi in behind him.
However, what once looked like a job that Cassel couldn’t lose if he tried, now looks like an inevitable passing of the torch. Or, at least a musical chairs version, until Kansas City can find their next franchise passer.
Concussion or not, Cassel isn’t getting it done. The Chiefs have one win on the season, and are already buried in the AFC West with little hope to mount a comeback.
Is Brady Quinn the answer? Probably not, but he’s endured Tebowmani and life as a Cleveland Brown, so he probably deserves a shot at proving this writer and all of the NFL world wrong. The same goes for Ricky Stanzi if Quinn can’t get it done. And if he’s not the answer (and he probably isn’t, either), then this needs to turn into a new journey; one where the Chiefs go all-in on a new plan for a franchise quarterback.
Maybe that means sacrificing what’s left of a seemingly already lost season to try to land Matt Barkley. Maybe it means taking the best passer available if they don’t get Barkley, and drafting a guy like Landry Jones.
Or maybe it means spending some cash and getting a veteran free agent. Maybe it even means swinging a Matt Schaub/Kevin Kolb style trade and landing a guy like Ryan Mallett, Kirk Cousins or Matt Flynn.
Whatever the case ends up being, it just can’t be another year of going through the motions with a guy in Cassel who clearly isn’t the answer.