Perhaps the biggest question mark heading into the 2012 regular season for the Kansas City Chiefs is about Matt Cassel as the starting quarterback. After a middling first three seasons under center for the Chiefs, this is a big year for Cassel. The Chiefs publicly stated they were ready to provide more competition for him as the starter, but signing Brady Quinn has been the only personnel move at the position.
But Cassel sounds quite confident and excited heading into the new year. Perhaps he should be with returning offensive weapons like Tony Moeaki and Jamaal Charles along with an enhanced offensive line and several new faces. Eric Winston, Kevin Boss and Peyton Hillis certainly make the offensive unit better than it's been in recent seasons.
Speaking recently with Steve Wyche, Cassel detailed his offseason and said he's approaching things differently to get healthy and ready.
"My health's great and my hand's healed up now," said Cassel. "This offseason has been a big offseason for me because I've just been so eager to get back and get going with these guys. I've been working out a lot earlier than I normally would be after a normal season. It's been a good experience for me."
When asked about what it will take for him to take his game to the next level, Cassel spoke with confidence.
"The thing is, for me, I feel like I'm there. I feel like I'm part of that group. It's always going to be a team effort. For the Kansas City Chiefs, it doesn't come down to one player. It's always about the team concept. If we can go out there, execute, play good football, we're going to be competitive with anybody."
Even with a slew of injuries, the Chiefs finished within a game of the division lead. Despite the arrival of Peyton Manning in Denver, Cassel believes the team can win as long as they limit mistakes.
"I think for us it's about playing mistake-free football," he said. "For us offensively it's about eliminating the negative football. We were in a lot of those games. Like you said, we finished 7-9. We weren't one of those teams that finished 3-13 and did that kind of deal. So we just have to continue to work hard and continue to put ourselves in a position to be successful and not shoot ourselves in the foot."