It's almost poetic how Matt Cassel can do just enough each week to give his supporters an ounce of hope that "he CAN do it", and his critics enough to say "enough is enough". Sunday's loss to the San Diego Chargers is just another file in the cabinet that has become insanely top-heavy due to the "meh" category being at shoulder height. The problem lies in the Chiefs fans' psyche that "meh" just isn't good enough anymore.
Chalk it up to play-calling, injuries, check-downs, receivers, tight-ends, Obama, Harold Camping, Jim Zorn, Todd Haley, Charlie Weis, Justin Bieber, or whoever else you want. But three games into his third season in Kansas City, the supporters of Matt Cassel are waning, while the detractors are expanding. That's not a good thing for a quarterback anywhere, but especially not Kansas City right now.
With the recently agreed-upon contract extensions for Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, and Brandon Flowers, the team is moving forward and getting better and the quarterback should be a part of the solution. It's becoming obvious that Cassel isn't moving forward, he isn't necessarily regressing, but he isn't improving at the rate that he should be if he's going to continue to be at the helm of the Kansas City Chiefs for the future.
The second-half of the Chiefs-Chargers game showed that Cassel has the ability to make a great pass at certain times, but just because I can nail a shot from 220 yards to within ten feet once in every
ten round s, that doesn't mean I'm going to try for my PGA card anytime soon either. Curtis Painter made some great throws for the Indianapolis Colts last night against the Steelers, but I don't think that means Colts fans are going to be optimistic about him picking up where Peyton Manning left-off. But one big difference between Painter and Cassel is that one of them hasn't had 3+ years starting in the NFL yet. More questions are being answered about Matt Cassel this season and they aren't looking good if you were trying to schedule a public appearance for him in Kansas City in 2012.
Before the fans go-all Andrew Luck after three games it needs to be said that Ricky Stanzi should get an opportunity to show what he can do before the season is over. But it doesn't make sense for Haley and company to throw Ricky Stanzi in the fire before they feel as if he is ready to play. Just because fellow-rookie quarterbacks Cam Newton and Andy Dalton are out there for their respective teams right now, that doesn't mean the Chiefs have to throw Stanzi out there before he is ready. He should get four games this season to show what he can do. That's enough time for him to make adjustments between games, give teams time to adjust to him, and continue the chess game that NFL coaches play each week.
The Chiefs final four games of the season are against the New York Jets in New York, the Green Bay Packers at home, the Oakland Raiders at home, and finally the Denver Broncos in Denver. Those four games should determine what the Chiefs have in Ricky Stanzi and at that point, assuming there isn't some miracle turn-around by the team before then, they'll be able to make an accurate decision on the future of the quarterback position in Kansas City.
If the Chiefs are in the running for the No. 1 overall pick before Ricky Stanzi starts a game for the Chiefs, and then he manages to win a couple of games late in the season and that caused us to miss out on Luck, maybe there would be a reason to feel optimistic about Stanzi heading into 2012. He might not have the pedigree that Andrew Luck has going for him right now, but just because Andrew Luck might be a very good NFL quarterback, that has no bearing on how good of a quarterback Ricky Stanzi can be. Last time I checked the NFL doesn't have some kind of a limit on good quarterbacks.
This gives Stanzi about ten weeks to do all he needs to do to be ready to step on the field for the Chiefs on December 11th against the New York Jets. So Ricky Stanzi, get your mind right because you'll get your chance later this season to show us all what you can do.