3rd And Short: Jamaal Charles And How He Influences Matt Cassel

The 2011 NFL season will be Matt Cassel’s third with the Kansas City Chiefs since being traded from the New England Patriots.  After a rough first season with the Chiefs in 2009 where Cassel had a quarterback rating of 69.9, the second worst in the AFC West, he bounced back with a great overall performance in 2010.
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2010 saw Cassel improved in every way imaginable.  His quarterback rating increased a staggering 23.1 points to 93.0.  All of Cassel’s other statistics improved as well, including completion percentage, total yards, yards per attempt, yards per game, touchdowns, and interceptions.

While Cassel has been working hard in the off-season to improve his skills, Cassel’s continued improvement in 2011 will greatly depend on Jamaal Charles.  If Charles has another great season in 2011 look for the Chiefs and Cassel to be back in the playoff hunt.  However, if Charles performance slips from 2010 it could be a long season for both Cassel and the Chiefs.

You may be asking yourself how a quarterback’s performance can fluctuate based on his running backs performance.  In Cassel’s case it is directly tied to how many time Charles touches the football.

During the 2010 NFL Season Cassel played in 15 games, compiling 3,116 yards and 27 touchdowns.  Cassel improved in every way imaginable.  His quarterback rating increased a staggering 23.1 points to 93.0.  All of Cassel’s other statistics improved as well, including completion percentage, total yards, yards per attempt, yards per game, touchdowns, and interceptions.

So how did Jamaal Charles factor into Cassel’s 2010 performance?

As everyone knows Charles split carries with Thomas Jones last season.  The subjects of who should start, who should get the carries, and when has been debated to death over the last year.  What I want to highlight are games that Charles received 12 or more carries.

Out of the 15 games Cassel played in during 2010, four times Charles did not receive 12 carries.  While the Chiefs were 3-1 during those four games, Cassel’s play was awful.  Over those four games Cassel averaged a messily 161 yards passing while having a quarterback rating of only 66.38.

In the 11 games were Charles received 12 or more carries, Cassel averaged over 214 yards per game while having a great quarterback rating of 102.44.  In those 11 games Cassel only had two games, week 5 versus the Indianapolis Colts and week 17 versus the Oakland Raiders, were his quarterback rating dipped below 84.0.

Cassel’s yards per game increase 53 yards during the 11 games were Charles received 12 or more carries.  Cassel’s quarterback rating is almost night and day depending on Charles receiving 12 carries or not.  When Charles received 12 carries Cassel’s quarterback rating increases a staggering 36 points.

Going into the 2011 NFL season the overall success of the Chiefs offense relies on the quarterback play of Matt Cassel.  Cassel’s success however, relies directly on Charles and the number of opportunities he gets to carry the football.

If Jamaal Charles remains effective and carry the ball more than 12 times a game look for the Kansas City Chiefs to repeat as AFC West Champions and make another run at the playoffs in 2011.

Topics: Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel

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