Dec 18, 2011; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 19-14. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Inner Quarterback Demons

I could live with Matt Cassel as our starter this year.

There, I said it. And it’s true! It’s not that I think Cassel is good, or even that I like him. I don’t, and I don’t. Seems like a decent guy I guess; I’ve got nothing against him. He’s looked kinda good at  times, and really bad at others. The ceiling isn’t very high.

My QB of choice would be Peyton Manning. I’d definitely get pretty excited about Paddy’s boy Bob Griffin. Even Kyle Orton* would probably be an upgrade. I’m just saying, I won’t be lambasting the Chiefs if Cassel is the man in 2012.

*If you remember nothing else about Orton, remember this: mercurial AA quarterbacks expert Jackie Rubbinson is a big fan. So that’s something. I mean he’s no Chris Mortenson, but….

Would it be lame? Of course it would. Trotting Cassel out there for another year is the definition of lame. And if it goes down like that, it would mean there is at least a chance all this QB noise from 1 Arrowhead Drive is pure PR. That too would be the definition of lame. This team has done so many lame things recently, and I’m usually pretty quick to get on their case about it. Surely another year of Cassel would bring down my righteous keyboard wrath. I mean thats classic Big Matt, right?

“You don’t know me. You never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I’m a Cam Campbell guy.”

-Joseph Smith

OK, he might not have said the part about Jason “Cam” Campbell. Still one of my all-time favorite quotes (the Smith biography No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie is phenomenal). Applicable here, I think. This seems like something I would get on Pioli’s case about, but actually a part of me takes comfort in “good enough” quarterbacks like Cassel. And Campbell in particular has always had a cult following in my fantasy football league. Mainly because we like calling him Cam, I think. The point is, if we kept Cassel and brought in Campbell, I’d be fine with that. Not excited, but not fuming either.

I can’t recall a year I’ve actually wanted us to draft a quarterback. Until recently it hasn’t been something I’ve even had to think about. The only times we’ve been in a position to draft a QB in the last decade, we already had a relatively new starter in place.* Now that Cassel has been largely discredited, we finally have a high pick that coincides with a perceived need at quarterback. And still, I don’t really want us to draft one.

*Trent  Green in 2002, Brodie Croyle in 2008, Matt Cassel in 2009 and 2010

Granted, this is somewhat of a special case. To get Bob Griffin, we’d have to give up two first-rounders, not one. But deep down, I don’t think that’s what this is about for me.

(VH1 voice) Remember the 90s?

I do. Fondly. I remember the Montana years, which is a big part of why I’ve got Manning Fever. But I also remember the Bono years, the Deberg years, the Dave Krieg years. We all remember Elvis Grbac. Those were good times, too. Great defense, good coach, lots of wins. We never won the big one, true, but is that really because of the quarterbacks? In the last decade the Ravens and Bucs have won Super Bowls with pretty much the exact formula we were working with. In 2008 the Giants won the Super Bowl 17-14. Terry Bradshaw won four Super Bowls.

I’m not saying the 90s Chiefs formula is necessarily the best one, but neither was it doomed to failure. We were contenders in ’93, ’95, and ’97. And quasi-contenders several years before that. We had legitimate chances, and we blew them.

Obviously I want a high-scoring offense. I just think there is more than one way to fry that fish plank. Combine a competent, CONFIDENT passing game with an attacking running game, and you can run up that score even without a great quarterback. The Chiefs did it with Trent Green for four years straight.

Again, I’m not saying that method is the best possible way. Having an awesome quarterback pretty much guarantees success, as we all know. But where do you find those guys? I guess that’s what worries me. I’ve never seen the Chiefs do it, and even though I know this is an irrational thought process, I don’t truly believe they can. Something tells me if we drafted a QB, any QB, we’d find a way to f*ck it up.

That’s just pessimism, I suppose. And again, I know it’s irrational. A big part of the reason the Chiefs have never found a top QB is because they haven’t picked one in the first round since Todd Blackledge. So now, because they haven’t tried to find one, I take that as evidence they should continue not trying? THAT’s my plan?!

Not exactly. Like I said, I want Manning. But I’m acknowledging that the 90s still weigh heavily on my football psyche. Feelings remain that might not be entirely logical, but are nonetheless a part of my fandom. Thus, I am nervous about drafting a quarterback high.

Plus……isn’t there a part of you that likes mentally tinkering with the team to see how we could win without a great quarterback? Great defense, better line, better receivers, better coordinator, etc? I don’t know, I guess the “we need a franchise quarterback!” discussion has always been a little boring to me. Of course a franchise QB is the ultimate weapon, every idiot knows that. Tom Brady is the NFL’s Death Star, or One Ring if you will. How much thought does it really take to say we need one of those? For me, it’s more fun to think of other ways this team could improve.

For instance, right tackle. I think we can all agree Cassel would be much better if we upgraded from worst tackle in the NFL to, say, a pretty good tackle. We could do that easily with the 11th pick. Would it really be more valuable to roll the dice on a quarterback? And I’m not just talking about this year, I’m talking about any year.

A first-round QB, at his best, is going to be better than Matt Cassel, definitely. But would that guy behind Barry Richardson be better than Cassel behind Jonathan Martin? Yes, probably, but the waters muddy at that point. Just how much better than Cassel does QB X have to be to justify leaving position X bare? As David Brent said, I could show you a graph of “people vs. task” and where does the line go……

I’m not trying to poo-poo the quarterback position. It’s obviously the most important, and you guys know I love an offense that attacks. I’m just saying, an offense with Cassel could attack too. We don’t have to use those ridiculous training wheels, they only exacerbate matters. I think if you have a halfway decent QB, you should call plays like he’s a good one. He’ll make mistakes, but your offense will move. You can make noise with a good defense and an offense that moves. And if you get hot at the right time, you can win the Super Bowl.

I’ll be holding my breath for Manning just like everyone else in Chiefs Nation. But when draft-day rolls around, I’ll be doing what I always do: daydreaming about linebackers and offensive linemen.

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