During Chop Talk this past week one of the hot topics discussed was Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel and what his successful preseason up to this point could mean for the team in 2012.
Chop Talk is a weekly 90-minute radio show that airs live on Sunday nights that's dedicated solely for Kansas City Chiefs discussion. To listen to last weeks' show please follow this link.
One of the guests on Sunday's show was 810 WHB Sports Radio in Kansas City's, TJ Carpenter. He shared his thoughts on what he attributes a lot of Cassel's success to up to this point. via transcript post on SB Nation Kansas City.
The Reason why Matt Cassel is playing as well as he is right now and I believe that will translate over into the regular season… Is not because he has somehow figured it out, but because there is a system in place there now offensively and when there is a system in place and everybody knows their roles and everybody is working well together with one another and they’re all on the same page… You’re going to be a more productive offense and I think that is what Kansas City has right now.
There was a lot of talk about how the rest of the AFC West starting quarterbacks have combined for one touchdown pass and eight interceptions. That's Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer not exactly lighting it up right now. Cassel has thrown one touchdown and no interceptions through two games.
Obviously these numbers don't necessarily make the conclusion that Matt Cassel is a better quarterback than any other other three, at least not strictly from these games. But you ask any Chiefs fan before the preseason started and Cassel would have been one of the first names brought up when talking about 'question marks' heading into the season. If nothing else, after two above-average games maybe Cassel has earned the benefit of the doubt from some Chiefs fans.
There's still the majority crowd out there that says "It's just preseason, it doesn't matter yet", or "Do it in the regular season and we'll talk". There's a lot of truth in both of those statements, but for those who are quick to negate the positive play based on it 'just being preseason'. Would you have the same reaction if he were playing bad? Would you be saying it doesn't matter because it's just the preseason if this were the case? I'd venture to guess that a lot of you would not be giving him the benefit of the doubt in that scenario.
Also joining the show on Sunday was one of the top NFL writers for Bleacher Report, Matt Miller (who will also be featured as one of the expert virtual twitter feeds in the new Madden video game). He shared his thoughts on Matt Cassel and how he feels about his chances this year. via transcript post on SB Nation Kansas City.
I’m not a Todd Haley fan and I would say that even if he sitting here with us. I feel like he really handcuffed the team last year with not just his offense, but his attitude and the way he went about getting his team to perform. I like Matt Cassel, he took them to the AFC West championship in 2010. He was a Pro Bowl level quarterback and now like you said, everyone was ready to write him off and throw him under the bus. So, it's definitely not something I understood and it seemed like every time I tried to talk to fans about it, or try to educate people through an article… I just kind of got a lot of backlash. So hopefully this is a prove it year for Cassel and the doubters will crossover to the other side.
I don't think you can find a NFL team right now that doesn't have question marks when you're looking around the roster. You evaluate and analyze every specific position and you try and figure out where you need some work and what areas of the team might concern you.
For Kansas City Chiefs fans I don't think the quarterback position is currently in the forefront of issues you're worried about compared to some others such as Kendrick Lewis and Brandon Flowers' health, Tamba Hali's one-game suspension or Dontari Poe's development. The fact that Cassel has done enough to where the focus isn't directly on him in a 'headline' way is a victory of sorts for the oft-criticized Kansas City quarterback.
It's still going to be a 'show-me' season for Cassel but the heat has been turned down a little bit on him as he's come out so far with a great preseason. As we head into the all-important third preseason game, where you'll see starters get more playing time than any other preseason game. Cassel gets another chance to prove that he and new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll are on the same page. They've been clicking so far and another good game will generate even more optimism that Matt Cassel could be prepped for a 2010-like season, where he made the Pro Bowl for the AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs.