November 6, 2011; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel (7) waits for the snap during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE

If You Ran The Chiefs: The Quarterback


Welcome back, Addicts, to the third and final installment of my NFL dead zone series “If You Ran The Chiefs.” In this series I simply lay out an often discussed topic in Chiefs Nation and you guys tell me what you would do if you were in charge. If you missed either of the first two posts here are the links:

Part 1 of the series was about what you would do with Dwayne Bowe.

Part 2 of the series was about what you would do with Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey.

Even though we had a good discussion in the previous two posts, today’s post is really the one that most Chiefs fans get worked up about. Today we’ll discuss what you would do at the most important position on the field. I’m talking, of course, about the quarterback. No player on the Chiefs roster gets fans more worked up than current quarterback Matt Cassel. Some feel the guy is solid, while others are ready to run him out of town with torches and pitch forks. Again, I’m not here to sell you on my opinion this week. I simply want to lay out some options and have you tell me what you would do.

Before I lay out the options I’ll try to objectively put Matt Cassel in perspective. Unless you are the “homer to end all homers,” I think we can all agree that Matt Cassel in not one of the elite QBs in the NFL. You simply can’t put him side by side with the Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers of the world. The discussion is more about if Cassel deserves to be in the “solid but not spectacular” middle range of NFL QBs.

The chart below shows the career stats of Matt Cassel and nine other NFL QBs. I listed their career completion percentage, yards per attempt, and QB rating. I was going to list their career TDs and INTs, but since there is a wide range in games played I decided that TD percentage and INT percentage would be better. In other words, 4.3 percent of Matt Cassel’s pass attempts have been TDs and 2.5 percent have been interceptions. You can look below at how those percentages hold up. I included a wide range of QBs from the elite Eli Manning to the questionable Tarvaris Jackson. The QBs are listed in order of career QB rating, but obviously that doesn’t represent their actual ability.

So what, if anything, can we take from this chart. First, it’s clear that career numbers can’t paint the whole picture. Eli Manning has a career QB rating similar to Matt Cassel and Matt Hasselbeck but we all know that Eli has reached a point now in his career where he is playing at a much higher level than those other two. I purposely included Eli’s numbers just to show that QBs can develop as years go by. The question is if Cassel has peaked or if he could continue to improve?

I also feel the chart shows that Cassel is simply not a horrible QB as some may claim. Matt Hasselbeck took the Seahawks to the Super Bowl and Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, and Mark Sanchez have taken their team as far as the conference title game despite having career stats that are similar or worse than Matt Cassel’s.

Out of this segment of 10 “mid-level” NFL QB’s Cassel ranked seventh in completion percentage, eighth in YPA, fourth in TD percentage, third in INT percentage, and fourth in QB rating. If this group of QBs is a good representation of “mid-level” NFL QBs (you can be the judge of that), then it appears that Cassel is just that: a mid-level QB. His numbers certainly don’t show him to be better than this group as a whole, but they certainly don’t show him to be worse either. They seem to show that he’s somewhere in the middle of the “mid-level” QBs.

The question now is, is that good enough for him to remain the starting QB in Kansas City?

So what should KC do at QB going forward? It’s time for you to make the call.

Here are the options as I see them.

1. Stay committed to Matt Cassel 100 percent going forward.

Good QBs are hard to find and the Chiefs would be foolish to let him go in hopes that they find a Hall of Fame caliber QB. Elite QBs are so few and far between that you are much more likely to bust than find someone that is a clear upgrade over Cassel. A bust at QB could set the Chiefs back 3-4 years and by then the window to win with the talent currently on the roster will be closed. The Chiefs already have a good quarterback on the roster and fans need to get over the fact that he’s not going to throw for 5,000 yards and 40 TDs.

2. The future is Ricky Stanzi.

Stanzi has the ability to be a winner in the NFL and a clear upgrade over Cassel. The team should base Cassel’s time as the starter in KC on Stanzi’s development. Cassel is just good enough to keep the seat warm and not rush Stanzi before he is ready, but as soon as they feel Stanzi is up for it, the job is his.

3. Do whatever it takes to draft a franchise quarterback.

Super Bowl winners have elite QBs that they drafted (usually in the 1st round) and developed. Cassel will never be elite and even though Stanzi has a cult following in KC, he’s simply not an elite QB prospect. KC needs to draft a QB in the first round next year, period. If it doesn’t look like there will be one available where they are picking then the Chiefs should trade away whatever it takes to move up and get their man. It’s time to break the curse of Todd Blackledge.

4. Sign (or trade for) a veteran QB to be the starter next offseason.

The Chiefs are built to win now. If Cassel isn’t up for the job then the Chiefs don’t have time to waste on developing Ricky Stanzi or throwing a rookie into the fire. So next offseason whoever the top QB on the market is, he comes to KC. Pay whatever it takes and don’t take no for an answer. There are enough weapons on this team to make it a great destination for a veteran QB who wants a shot to win as long as the Chiefs are willing to pay them what they feel they deserve.

So which of these options would you go with if you ran the Chiefs? If you have an option that isn’t listed we’d all love to hear it too. Just post your answer in the comments below and let’s see just what Chiefs Nation wants to do at the QB position moving forward. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs KC Chiefs Matt Cassel Ricky Stanzi