Matt Cassel is confident in his abilities, even if some fans in Kansas City are not.
“I believe in myself, and I know I’m a good quarterback,” Cassel told Sports Radio 610 in Kansas City on Monday.
After an offseason that saw the Chiefs pursue Peyton Manning, Cassel has come out of the gate swinging.
But will his confidence off the field translate to wins on it?
According to Cassel, it already has.
“Do I feel like I can go out there and win ball games? Absolutely,” Cassel said. “Do I feel like in the fourth quarter, do I want the ball in my hands with two minutes left? Absolutely. Have I done it before? Absolutely. I’m mean, the two years I’ve started full seasons, I’ve won 10-plus games, which is hard to do.”
That is partly true. Cassel basically started a full season in 2008 and won 11 games with the Patriots. He started 15 games for the Chiefs in 2010 and led the team to ten wins. He missed one game that season because of an emergency appendectomy. Cassel conveniently left out the 2009 season in which he started 15 games and won only four for the Chiefs. I can’t say I blame him for that omission. I’ve tried to forget about the 2009 season as well.
As for last minute heroics, Cassel has gotten the job done with the game on the line in Kansas City. In fact, Cassel seems to be at his best in overtime on Halloween. He led the Chiefs on game-winning drives on October 31 in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Still, it is Cassel’s shortcomings that have fans heaving criticism his way. Thus far in his career, when surrounded by talent, Cassel has been able to lead his team to victories over lesser teams. When faced with games against the league’s elite, however, Cassel hasn’t been able to get the job done.
The thing about Cassel is that when he’s good, he’s usually just ok and when he’s bad, he’s horrible. He doesn’t appear to be the difference-maker fans want in a QB and in a league where passing is more and more prevalent, a difference-maker appears to be what a team needs to win the Super Bowl.
Still, as the team prepared for another season under Cassel by going through their first set of OTAs, Cassel is taking the criticism in stride.
“Of course there are going to be criticisms and everything like that, and that’s part of the business,” said Cassel. “But at the same time at the end of the day I know that I’m going to go out there and I’m going to compete each and every day. I’m going to give you 110 percent. And hopefully it’s all going to go in the right direction, we’re going to win a lot of ball games, get in the playoffs, and ideally we’d like to win a Super Bowl.”
Talking about reaching the Super Bowl is one thing but getting there is something else entirely. For a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since Joe Montana was wearing red and gold, Cassel is going to have to bring more than words to the table in 2012 if he wants to win over the Show Me State. A playoff victory or two could go a long way toward raising confidence in Cassel’s abilities.
But another early playoff exit, or worse, missing the playoffs entirely, will all but guarantee Cassel will be giving 110% for some other team come 2013.