The 2011 NFL season will be Cassel’s third with the Chiefs since coming over from the New England Patriots. After a rough first season with the Chiefs in 2009 where Cassel had a quarterback rating of 69.9, second worst in the AFC west only behind JeMarcus Russell, he bounced back with a great overall performance in 2010.
In 2010 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.
Entering the 2011 NFL season Cassel should continue on his path of improvement. If he is able to keep his arrow facing up he should have no problem leading the Chiefs to a repeat championship in the AFC West this season.
So without further ado, below are 12 bold predictions, good and bad, about Matt Cassel and his future performance during the 2011 NFL Season:
1 – Pass over 3,500 yards – Cassel has only done this once in his career and that was three season ago with the Patriots. With Dwayne Bowe and first round pick Jonathan Baldwin, Cassel should have no problems.
2 – Complete over 60% of pass attempts – Once again Cassel has only done this once in his career, and yes it was with the Patriots. However, Cassel was on 1.8% off of this goal last season. With the addition of Quarterback Coach Jim Zorn look for this number to increase.
3 – Throw 25-30 TDs – Cassel threw 27 TDs last year, however before that the most he had ever thrown in a season was 21. With Bowe and redzone threats Baldwin and Tony Moeki, expect Cassel to have very similar touchdown numbers as 2010.
4 – 225 passing yards per game – The last time Cassel average over 225 yards passing a game it was when he was passing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker in 2008. With Bowe, Baldwin, a health Dexter McCluster, and hopefully a free agent to be named, look for Cassel to have more opportunity to air it out.
5 – Play all 16 games – Cassel has yet to play all 16 games in a season for the Chiefs. In 2009 he missed the opener and last year he missed the Chargers game due to an appendectomy. It’s due to happen, and with only Ricky Stanzi expected to be on the roster behind him, it needs to be in 2011.
6 – Throw 12-15 Ints – This would not be an improvement from last year, when Cassel had only seven interceptions. In 2011, with a much harder schedule, against some of the NFL’s best defenses look for Cassel to throw a few more interceptions.
7 – QB rating of 88.0 – Last season Cassel’s quarterback rating of 93.0 was high career best. With some increased interception number this season expect this rating to decrease slightly.
8 – Eight completed passes over 40 yards – Last season Cassel only had four passes for over forty yards. With more opportunities to pass this season that numbers will double this season.
9 – Two rushing TDs – Cassel is a fairly athletic quarterback who is not a complete liability when he runs. Having said that Cassel has never scored a regular season rushing touchdown for the Chiefs. With teams having to respect the additional redzone threats, Cassel should have more open space to run the ball in.
10 – Three late game winning drives – With a tough schedule comes tough, competitive, close ball games. Cassel will surprise many with his fourth quarter leadership this season.
11 – Lead Chiefs to 9-7 – This record, while not an improvement over last season, will be good enough for the Chiefs to repeat as AFC West Champions in 2011 (more to come on this prediction later).
12 – Lead the Chiefs to a playoff victory – That’s right Cassel is going to lead the Chiefs to their first playoff victory since 1994. In my mind it is going to be a great wildcard upset with Matt Cassel delivering it to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011. Stay tuned Chiefs Nation, it is going to be a fun ride!!