I love Matt Cassel. You love Matt Cassel. We all love Matt Cassel.
But we really have to look at the numbers.
So, imagine for a second that you have a QB who just threw for 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in the season. You surprised everyone. No one expected you to do as well as you did. It was ridiculous, frankly.
Now imagine for a second that you have a QB who just threw for 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in a season in which no one expected much out of you. Great, right?
Except that you had the league’s best running game and generally dependable defense. The first guy didn’t.
So, who’s better?
A guy who put up very good production with nothing behind him? — Or a guy who put up phenomenal stats on a team that didn’t need him to pitch it around in clutch situations because the running game had already won the game?
To kill the suspense the latter player I am referring to is Chiefs QB Matt Cassel, the former is Denver QB Kyle Orton, who was out with injuries for three games but still put up comparable stats as Cassel, and he’s on the trading block.
I personally believe that Cassel is still developing and growing as a player. I think that in his third year in Haley’s system and with the same guys he will hit his stride and ride it through the season deep into the playoffs.
But what if he doesn’t?
The fact is that we have a very effective offensive scheme built around a monster of a player in Jamaal Charles. And, while this offense was insanely productive, it would have been fundamentally the same if Kyle Orton had been under center.
Orton didn’t have the same ridiculously good stats, he didn’t have the W-L record that Cassel can now boast, but I don’t think he should be considered a lesser QB. Orton was playing for a much worse team with injuries to boot. He had no running game. His defense is/was a total mess, and he still managed to score three unanswered TDs on our D in the first quarter of their first meeting last year.
Both Orton and Cassel had their good games and their bad games. But at the end of the day are they the same skill level? …. Yes.
At this point, I still can see no reason to say that Matt Cassel is a considerably better player than Kyle Orton, who is currently offered as trade bait – probably for a 3rd rounder. So did we get a good deal with Cassel and Vrabel for a 2nd?
For now, yes.
But what if we had snatched up Orton for nothing and spent the rest on the holes that our team currently struggles with? What if we had one more legit O-lineman? What if our playoff loss could have been a game not a humiliation?
I challenge every Cassel-lover out there to prove to me that he is significantly better than Orton and everyone else in that class of mediocre QB’s.
Did Cassel step above his role-player status and take control of a close game? No. In 2010, most of our close games slipped away as Cassel chucked it around to no end.
Did he play like it was the playoffs? Well, when it was the playoffs, he was useless. Granted, his O-line wasn’t much help, but we can’t give him the post-season point one way or the other.
Orton did his best with what he had.
Cassel profited from a well-built team.
There it is.