Did Todd Haley Hold Matt Cassel Back?

Peter King of visited the Kansas City Chiefs for his training camp report a while back and in his column he has some very interesting quotes regarding QB Matt Cassel and former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley.

Other than Bill Belichick, Cassel only ever played under Haley as an NFL player. One could argue the Cassel’s two best seasons in the NFL were when Haley had the least control over him; his first season in NE and his 2010 Pro Bowl season in which he was working with Charlie Weis.

King doesn’t have any quotes of Cassel bashing Haley but he does have one where Cassel seems to indicate that life is much better under Brian Daboll.

“I like how he lets me play the quarterback position,” Cassel said. “I’m not afraid to give my opinion, or to change the play. Some other times, I’ve been afraid to do that. But [Daboll] says, ‘You’re the quarterback. If you see something different out there, you’ve got to act on it.’ ”

Hmmm. If that wasn’t intriguing enough, one Chiefs player (anonymously) came right out and said he thought Haley’s ways were impacting Cassel.

But there’s little doubt these players are breathing easier with a coach they like and respect more than Todd Haley. “It had to happen,” one player said of Haley leaving and Romeo Crennel replacing him. “Players were afraid of speaking up. The environment just wasn’t healthy. I think it really wore on Matt.”

Cassel has been excellent so far in the preseason. As King points out, he has completed 75% of his throw thus far in the preseason. More importantly, the KC offense has been finding the endzone, something they had a hard time doing while Haley was the head coach.

It is way too soon to predict how Cassel will perform once the games start counting but the early returns of the Daboll offense are encouraging.

What do you think, Addicts? Was Haley holding Cassel back?

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Tags: Matt Cassel Todd Haley

  • Tarkus

    There’s no doubt in my mind the answer is yes. The only question is how much, and only time will tell.

  • steve james

    I think that is the most apparent thing you can say about Haley as a coach. I never saw that he was a genius on offense or a coach who could get the most out of his players. I give him credit for motivating Bowe and getting him to straighten up and he might have been a good OC but he obviously was over his head as a coach and hurt Cassel as a player.

  • Derek Jamison

    What caught my eye was the point that Cassel has only played under Haley and Belichick. That is like night and day right there. I still don’t think Cassel will ever be an ‘elite’ QB, but I think his chances of succeeding under Crennel are much higher. Can’t wait for the real season to start.

    • Patrick Allen

      I agree. I am excited to see Cassel this year. He looks so much more chilled out so far this preseason. He was so calm last week when he rolled out and completed that pass to Dex. It was awesome.

  • Calchiefsfan

    You nailed it Paddy. Absolutely Haley hurt Cassel’s production. In hind sight it’s pretty clear that Haley is a control freak. He wanted to do everything and since that is not realistic for a head coach in the NFL he ended up screwing up everything, especially on offense. The whole system for getting plays in was a joke. Not allowing your QB to call audibles at the line? What? High school?
    It’s becoming clear that when Matt is working under a good OC he performs well. That’s why I’m optimistic he’ll have a good year this year.

    • grizpapa

      Again, Saunders and Green had the same situation.
      Those Offenses did pretty well.

  • Lenny Lieurance

    Well I never would of guessed it, but 2 preseason games now show pretty clearly that Cassel is much better than i thought. Why Haley wouldnt let him audible is beyond me, more i see post-Haley, the more obvious it is that Haley really was bat shit crazy. Oh well cuz it all worked out in the end.

  • Shannon Thompson

    Something that sticks out to me though is how well Daboll seems to be handling things, he seems to direct but not demand when it comes to certain things. A good coach should know that football players need to improvise on occassion because the oposing team is “trying” to call something to give the offense negative yards or no gain. For an offensive coach to not allow his QB to audible is extremely moronic. So I guess if Haley getting in Cassels head making him afraid to change the call, then yes Haley held Cassel back quite a bit!

    • grizpapa

      Repeating… Saunders didn’t allow Green to Audible.
      A decent article would have pointed that out as a contrast.
      This seems like a hatchet piece.
      Blame Haley for the horrible play calling system, sure; this is not as big of an issue.

  • micah stephenson

    Hell Yea bum *ss Haley held him back! Duboll wont hold back tho, he will unleash the beast that Cassel is! Cassel has power and he has rage but Haley wudnt let him use it! Daboll will show him how to use the power that oooonly the dark side posseses. Haaaa haaa haaaaaa!
    Haley fired C.Gailey right before the season becus he was a mr know it all and wanted to call the plays himself. Well haley sucked and so did the offense in 09. In 2010 pioli knows haley needs help if he wants to keep his job and hires Weis. Hmmm all of a sudden Cassel looks good and we are #1 in rushing. But of corse Weis refused to work wit Haley any longer left. Pioli rather keep Weis and considers making him head coach but was scared of losing the fans cus “Haley” jus got the team in the playoffs. So haley is now on a short leash. Well after a bunch of losses in 2011 haley is fired and Romoe gets the job. In only 3 days to get ready we beat the 19 game winning streak packers and look like a different team. Already this yr we look alot better. Being our coach was too much for a 1st time head coach like Haley. I really think the steelers will hav a messed up yr wit Haley and his gay lover L.Pope as they only off season additions.

    • grizpapa

      The offense sucked in 2009 because the players sucked in 2009.
      Feel free to name our Starting WRs and TEs not named Bowe.
      Argument over.

      • micah stephenson

        I didnt know we wur having an argument. Bowe has been it at wr untill this yr. But in 2010 all we had was bowe and Moeaki as WR/TE and Weis/Cassel still got it done. Haley cud not hav done it..

  • tm1946

    Haley was being chased by his own devils. Sometimes winning did not seem to be the point of the exercise. But he is gone, so let’s start the season… is time for some football.

  • Micah King of the Cassel

    Y wudnt Haley let Cassel call the plays at the los? Or radomly go no huddle wen u catch them n a bad defense? Or call time outs wen needed? Or let Stanzi play over Palko(oops thats cus stanzi is poo poo lol)? Or keep giving Jones more carries than Charles? Or let B.Richardson play ova anybody else? Or give yo starters 3 plays in a preseason game while the other 31 teams gives there starters 3 drives? Then next week give yo starters 3 drives while the other 31 teams gives thur starters 3 plays? Y cud Romeo adjust the defense to b good without Berry but Haley cud not adjust the offense to b good without JC? Wait I can anser that. Yur only as strong as yo weakest link. B.Rich,Weigman, Lilja, Muir, TEs not named Moeaki, T.Jones, J.Battle & Haley are waaaay too many weak links. Any way Haley sucks! Im glad he is gone. The chiefs will do alot better without him.

    • grizpapa

      Maybe because the offense was built around JC running and not Cassel throwing?

  • jimfromkc

    I have a question, how long will you continue to make excuses for Cassel’s poor play against good teams? Sure he has done well against some teams in the lower half of the league, But almost every time he has played against a really quality team, he has really looked mediocre. We have played two teams thus far and neither one of them is expected to be anywhere near the top of their divisions. I don’t think that is a good body of work to conclude that Matt has been held back by anything other than his lack of elite talent.

    • jbuttram

      Jim, I have not been old on Cassel as a Quality QB in the league either, which i why I am wondering how he is doing so well these first two preseason game. There could be something in playing for a coach that give you confidence in yourself. Only time will tell, but I feal pretty good about our QB situation as of now.

      • grizpapa

        But the Cards and Rams are prime examples of jimfromkc’s point.

    • Jim Lincoln

      Jimbob, Alternate theory is the KC’s 0-line couldn’t hold up against good defenses. What I remember seeing is the middle of the line caving in or Barry o-lay giving his guy a free pass. Cassel simply doesn’t have the quick release needed to compensate for weak pass pro. Good defenses exposed him.
      Good news is we can expect better this year. Believe how much better is the object of debate. That’s good news.

  • jbuttram

    Definately he was holding him back. Now that he has the blessing of his OC to play the position like it was meant to be played, he seems to be doing a great job on the vast majority of his audible.

  • Danny W

    I think with Haley’s micromanaging ego issue it definitely disrupted Cassel’s rhythm. As far as his overall talents are concerned and his lack of or handcuffing of those abilities, will have to be answered as the season progresses. I have really high hopes that he does well.

  • grizpapa

    Al Saunders was the same way with Trent Green.