AA Greeting: Chiefs Nation Way Off On Cassel, Sanchez, Thigpen

Every Monday, Arrowhead Addict editor/lead writer Adam Best will kick off the week with his AA Greeting — his one-of-a-kind POV on all things Chiefs.

What is this gibberish I’m reading around Chiefs Nation that Mark Sanchez didn’t fare well at the combine. Really? What are my fellow Red-and-Golders smoking?

Today, Scout Inc.’s Todd McShay — who’s Gus Johnson to Mel Kiper’s Dick Vitale — raved about Sanchez, especially his confidence, ability to break down film and intangibles. In fact, McShay talked about the “it” factor. You know, the one I’ve been saying that Sanchez has and Matt Stafford doesn’t for weeks now. Well, apparently quite a few of the personnel folks he talked to agree with me. He even said that there is some movement from Stafford to Sanchez as to who the No. 1 quarterback is.

SportingNews.com’s Russ Lande said:

Southern Cal’s Mark Sanchez helped himself in passing drills and tests. He showed a quick, compact delivery and release. He drove into his passes and the ball exploded out of his hand. His throws had good velocity and a tight, clean spiral. With Georgia’s Matthew Stafford choosing not to throw, Sanchez proved their competition to be the draft’s top quarterback is far from over. Teams were impressed that Sanchez decided to throw and did not look nervous or anxious.

ESPN’s John Clayton:

A ball of nervous energy, USC QB Mark Sanchez had a good throwing performance Sunday at the combine.

After scouring the Interwebs and watching the combine since it kicked off, it seems like most, if not everyone, has been pretty damn impressed by the kid I’ve taken to calling Dirty. So, Don Banks wasn’t impressed. No offense, Don, but after reading your stuff over the years, I’m not so sure Tyra Banks doesn’t know more about the NFL than you do.

Then there’s the fervor behind the Tyler Thigpen movement. Dammit! I just wish Chiefs fans didn’t let their wishful thinking cloud their judgment so much. That’s called being a homer.

But call me Brian Wilson, because for a while there even I was singing “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” You know, as in wouldn’t it be nice if some seventh-round, third-string quarterback who once got cut by the effin’ Vikings miraculously became our franchise quarterback? But as the season progressed and Thigpen lost game after game, almost never playing well during crunch time, I soured on him. Hey, Tony Gonzalez has carried the jocks of a lot of pedestrian quarterbacks during his tight end reign of terror. This is just another one for us to add to the list.

I also have seen numerous Chiefs fans — not just on this site either — trying to sell that Thigpen’s as good as Matt Cassel. Keep telling yourself that and maybe, just maybe, one day you’ll really believe it.

The reasoning behind this is always that Randy Moss and Wes Welker blow away what we have. Really? I mean, Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez, the best tight end of all time, aren’t a couple of scrubs. Oh, and only one of these guys made the Pro Bowl this year — Tony G. Sure, Cassel’s offensive line was better, but what about his backs? Kevin Faulk and a bunch of punks and nobodies?  BenJarvus Green-Ellis? That sounds like a disease, man. Meanwhile, we had Jamal Charles and Larry Johnson for most of the season. I really don’t think Cassel was at that much of an advantage, especially when you consider that he had to deal with things like actual expectations and pressure, not to mention playing in a much, much better division.The AFC West was garbage last year, especially defensively.

Sorry, but Thigpen is just not in Cassel’s league.

Just read what Peter King had to say about Cassel today, from SI.com:

I’m surprised that a quarterback who played as well as Cassel did for the last 10 weeks of the season is being viewed by most people in the league as too risky to chart a long-term course with. It’s not often in free agency or in trade that a young quarterback with promise is available. And while I understand it’s a millstone around Cassel that he’d require probably two fairly high picks plus an average of $14 million-ish a year in a contract, I still think I’d rather have Cassel as my quarterback of the future than, say, Matthew Stafford. And the money’s not that much different.

Cassel is the real deal, folks. I don’t think anybody would be writing that about Thigpen if he was franchised or even a free agent right now. Then again, I can’t ever see a QB of his caliber being franchised.

Another thing I keep reading over and over and over again is shock that anybody at all is discussing the Chiefs picking or trading for a quarterback with Thigpen in the fold. Wake up, people! If you don’t have a very good quarterback, then you don’t have a quarterback at all. Period. Considering that quarterback is the single most important position in the NFL and we don’t have a good one, yeah, it’s going to be a top priority. Probably the priority. You can have all the Aaron Currys in the world running amok, but if you have a hack quarterback it won’t make any difference.

Am I being hard on Thigpen? No. Not at all. He had a prolonged audition that he never really earned before being thrust into the starting line-up. Our offense was 26th in the league in scoring. Our defense was 29th in points allowed, which means that we had to be aggressive on offense to try and keep pace. Suddenly, the ArrowSpread and Thiggy don’t look so hot any longer. Then you throw in his completion percentage, and it’s not looking good for Thigpen.

It’s never personal. I was hard on Brodie Croyle because I didn’t see him ever being a winning quarterback. He had a lot of starts, and could never win a game. Meanwhile, Thigpen has now had a good chunk of starts, too, and the only game he has won was that freebie up in Oakland. And that game was definitely a freebie. I know — I was there!

I really don’t care if all of Chiefs Nation agrees with me on this one. When it comes to quarterbacks, my track record — Brodie Croyle, Matt Ryan, etc… — speaks for itself. I am confident that Thigpen will not be our quarterback of the future. Very confident.

I also don’t think that there is any way men like Todd Haley and Scott Pioli are going to hedge their careers on Thiggy Smalls. Just writing that makes me feel a little ridiculous, actually. In case you forgot, the Herm Edwards era is over. The Pioli Trinity will bring someone in to at least compete with him. I guaran-damn-tee you that. If he wins the job, hey, more power to him. That would be a dream come true for me, as I’ve been waiting my whole life for the Chiefs to find a young franchise QB. I just can’t see it. Sorry.

The other thing I keep reading that irks me is this Aaron Curry is the “safe” pick, the “safest pick in the draft.” Makes me want to puke. Hey, the kid has a great story and is a phenomenal athlete. But he’s a middle freakin’ linebacker in a year when linebackers seem to be miraculously raining from the sky like frogs or something! Let’s get serious here. Is Chiefs Nation still so haunted by the ghost of Todd Blackhedge that we remain scared you-know-what-less when it comes to drafting or trading for a promising young quarterback.

What was that expression? Scared money don’t make money. I’m confident that The Pioli Trilogy realizes that. They aren’t going to allow the ghosts of Chiefs’ past or any wishful thinking to lead them down the wrong path.

Me? I don’t call the shots, but I’m liking Cassel and Sanchez more and more every single day (I still like Michael Crabtree as well, by the way). Hopefully, the Chiefs are, too, because these kids have the chops to become star quarterbacks in this league under the right guidance (ahem, Todd Haley).

P.S. – With free agency around the corner, and us almost certainly moving to a 3-4, I’m thinking these will be my top candidates when I drop my free agency post later this week, which will probably be another Blueprint…

  1. ILB Bart Scott
  2. DE Chris Canty
  3. OT Khalif Barnes

Lance Moore is also a guy who’s very, very intriguing to me. I think he could become a star in Haley’s system.

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