It Is Really Hard Not To Like Matt Cassel

I can’t help it, folks.  The season is starting, the grills are firing up, I’ll get a chance to sit at Arrowhead on Sunday (look for me!) and my team has the best chance since 2003 to win a playoff game and make noise in the playoffs.  It is time to get fired up about your team colors, your regional pride, your coach, and your roster, from the very bottom of it, to the very top of it.  And nobody sits higher atop the roster, and this team’s success in 2012, than Kansas City Chiefs franchise QB Matt Cassel.

Matt Cassel is everything I like in a quarterback – other than his inability to be consistently really, really good.

I understand this is a kind of screwed up thing to say.  But since he joined this roster in 2009, he has been such a good representative for this team.  He’s had four different offensive playbooks in Kansas City and has mastered every one of them without complaint.  He blocks when run plays swing around, and he actually blocks really, really enthusiastically for a QB. He sticks up for all his teammates, and has never thrown them under the bus.  He’s got occasional throws (when his protection is strong) that do genuinely look like brilliant darts into the chest of a receiver.  He’s tough; he played within days of having his appendix removed.

He’s not a drama queen. He doesn’t crave attention.  He gives his time up for charity, married a camera shy college sweetheart who as it turns out is the leggiest brunette this side of the Atlantic.

He’s really fiery, even having that awesome exchange of words with former head coach disaster Todd Haley last year.  He’ll get in a fight, even a physical fight for the guys in red. He screws around with his teammates on the sidelines and again, knows the playbook like a mother. 

Sure, he’s got the beta male thing going on.  He’s not flawless. 

But we all know it: if Matt Cassel was even a pretty good Pro Bowl talent, he’d be your favorite Chief.  Wouldn’t he?

At 4:50, and at 5:14, two prime examples of Cassel putting his body out there for a teammate, in this case RB Jamaal Charles.

Seriously, folks. He’s done nothing wrong but work his ass off for this team, do everything it takes to win, and be physically limited in what he can do.

He was one of the reasons WR Jonathan Baldwin was able to turn it around decently last year. Cassel and Baldwin were BFFs in the preseason, and when the whole locker room could have turned on Baldwin after the Thomas Jones debacle, I’m willing to bet the first thing Cassel did in Baldwin’s first practice back was throw him the ball. Cassel might have been the life saver around Baldwin’s locker room rep.

I can understand being frustrated with Cassel.  I know you all are, too.  But there is no reason to do anything but just hope the guy gets better.

Stop rooting for injury. Stop calling him nasty names and deriding him as worthless.

Because he’s a really freaking good dude, and a decent quarterback.  He’s been good to this franchise in a lot of ways, and if he was better on the field you guys wouldn’t be able to stop singing his praises.

We were all hoping backup QB Ricky Stanzi would get a shot this year, and I’ve been consistently mocking QBs to the Chiefs in round 1 next year, 2013.

But get your head on straight. Root for Matt Cassel. 

His TD/INT ratio was 27/7 in 2010, folks.

And we have a similarly mediocre schedule this year that we did in 2010.  And now we have better receivers.  A better OL.  Better RBs.

I could go on and on:

  • There was that great audio after he called the audible that confused half the offensive line during a Seahawks victory in 2010.  RT Ryan O’Callaghan came up to him on the sideline and asked him “what play did you call?”  Cassel says “it doesn’t matter what play I call, you made it work!” and pounds the guy in the chest pad before he walks away elated.
  • During the lockout, he assembled 50 some players in a part of the country no NFL players live in, some of them not even under contract, and ran the practice by himself.
  • He fought for Jackie Battle a year or two ago.
  • He befriended and supported Kyle Orton for Orton’s stay that, in reality, offered a distant threat to Cassel’s job.

Great character doesn’t make for great talent on the football field.

But it doesn’t hurt.

And it makes you love the sport more.

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  • jimfromkc

    Crock, I don’t understand your feeling you have to write this article. I have never heard any of the fans who want Cassel replaced ever using as an excuse that he is unlikable or not a good guy. I think like myself that they go out of their way to agree with you that he has no character flaws. What he does have is a weak arm who can’t throw with any accuracy beyond about 20 yards. That is just not going to get us to where we want to go. I won’t say that absolutely that if you build a team that can overwhealm the opposition that they can’t win a super bowl with Cassel, but do we have even one player on the roster who you can honestly say is the best at his position in the whole NFL? So in order to win with Cassel, I think we would have to start building a team from scratch. It would be so much easier to get a franchise QB than to start all over again.

    • http://gplus.to/Tarkus Tarkus

      I totally get the point of this article. A lot of hatred has been directed at Cassel that goes well beyond just complaining about his physical limitations. When Cassel was booed at that celebrity softball game, you really think they were just telling him his arm strength and accuracy is not as good as they’d like, as if there’s something he could do about it?

      • steve james

        I agree that is just bad sportsmanship. I hated to see that. I didn’t hear about any one doing such things to Palko and he was worse by far with his non ability to execute.

    • KCMikeG

      GREAT JOB CROCK! That’s what I call being a FAN! WHY wouldn’t you want to focus on the good and revel in the possibilities? Here’s why Crock needed to write this article. Because too many people hate and write off Cassel before the season even starts. We all have seen plenty of posts on AA where he has been called disgusting names and had much hate heaped on him. Name calling and hating shows no respect for what Matt brings to this team or the community.
      Even you say “who can’t throw with ANY accuracy beyond 20 yards” which he has done numerous times. watch the video with Moeaki’s TD or the flea flicker TD to Bowe or Maneri in preseason all times where he made great throws over 20 to 40 yards in the air.
      Has he made bad throws – hell yes and so does every other QB in the NFL especially under the circumstances he has endured. When given the time and any reliable options he has performed in TWO of the 3.5 years he has played. He is only going to get better and hopefully we will all be able to laugh off how foolish some of fans have been.THANKS CROCK for encouraging ALL FANS to support our team enthusiastically!

      • Guest

        He has made thrown far more terrible 20+ yard throws than good ones. Fortunately for you they dont post on youtube the shit offered up by NFL QBs. And remember most great catches are the result of less than great throws. Great throws result in normal catches because they are on target.

        • Danny W

          Your not saying you hate him or want him dead but that in your educated opinion (watching every Chiefs game and games with other elite QB’s) we could do better? If so that seems reasonable. Are you going to route for the Chiefs to lose because of Matt Cassel? I doubt that too. A lot of people think your a hater if you use reason. I personally hope that Matt Cassel is worlds better takes us to the SB and wins the MVP of the SB and puts all of us doubters in a joyful unification of praise of his ability. That said I’m not going to expect it.

          • Chiefswatch

            I never root for us losing. And you are correct I more than anyone hope that Matt Cassel has improved this offseason. I hope he has spent his extended time off reading defensive plays, and learning to progress through reads. He cannot improve his accuracy or suddenly make himself not have a noodle arm but he can become a smarter player. His failed attempt at a TD celebration scares me though lol.

        • KCMikeG

          I wasn’t saying that he never throws a bad long ball. I was disputing the inaccurate statement posted “who can’t throw with ANY accuracy beyond 20 yards” which he has done numerous times. Great catches are just as dependent on the receiver as the QB. The casual fan curses the QB on a “bad” throw because they don’t understand that if the receiver runs the wrong route, breaks the wrong way, gets jammed at the line or gets out positioned by their defender it directly effects the success of the play. QB’s are releasing the ball to a spot the receiver is supposed to get to well before they are there. Great receivers make their QB’s look even better by out jumping, out muscling or out running their defender and catch any ball that is within their reach. Bottom line is it takes TWO to make a thing go right! With this arsenal Cassel will be Out of Sight!

      • http://www.arrowheadaddict.com Patrick Allen

        I think the video of Jaws breaking down Cassel is all we need to know. Jaws has it right. Cassel has limitations and will be a product of the guys around him. He’s best off play action with a strong running game. He is best throwing over the middle. He struggles with accuracy down field and outside the hash marks.

        The good news is the Chiefs have the team for Cassel to play his best. There are enough weapons on this team to keep matriculating the ball down the field, boys.

  • Norman Gunn

    Cassel is one super bowl away from having a Disney movie made out of his life. Seriously, think about it…

    • http://gplus.to/Tarkus Tarkus

      Brilliant. And true.

    • Danny W

      He is a good guy and would be a good roll model if only he was an elite quarterback ala Kurt Warner. Guy goes from bagging grocerys to Super Bowl MVP. Thats a Disney Movie.

  • Calchiefsfan

    A well needed article Crock. When he has good coaching around him he succeeds even if his o line is suspect and he has only 1 top receiver to throw to as was the case in 2010. I’m looking forward to Cassel having a career year this year. A lot of that has to do with my confidence level going up with Daboll.
    You have to wonder how good Phillip Rivers could be if he had Cassel’s character and maturity.

  • AmishElectrician

    Great article dude! Thanks for getting me pumped about the season. Cassel is a guy I’d like to go to battle with and I am sure his team feels the same. In some ways, that all that matters. The wins will come, the O line will make all the difference IMHO.

    • Chiefswatch

      “alll that matters” I dont know man. I would rather have a pussy that can throw for 4000 yards and 35 TDS, than a Mediocre QB that throws an occasional block.

      • Danny W

        I like Cassel but I hate his play. I don’t want him to get hurt in fact I want him on the team as a back up. That said we need to draft a QB in the first round period.

    • Danny W

      Hi Bro
      You Amish? Didn’t think it was legal for you to
      A) Get on a computer
      B) Watch TV
      C) Watch football
      E) Do electrical work
      Either way good on you mate for being a Chiefs fan and welcome aboard!
      Love the name.

  • Arrowhead Adventurer

    When it comes to Matt, I am afraid I am as fair weather as they come. Good stuff Crock!

  • Chiefswatch

    We do root for his success, only when he starts being the reason for losing do we hope we can see something else out there; that is pretty natural. Last year it was the unknown Stanzi we wanted to see when Cassel was doing nothing more than guiding us to losses prior to breaking his hand. Had we known how terrible Stanzi was, or Palko for that matter, nobody in thier right mind would have wished Cassel was replaced by one of those two wastes of space. I root for him to succeed of course, because I root for the team to succeed. But if he resembles the 2009 or 2011 Cassel and not the 2010 Cassel you can bet everyone will turn against him regardless of him being a nice and feiry guy. I dont know what schedule you are looking at but I dont see anything close to the 2010 one. Only games against the Browns, Colts and Raiders do I see us winning for sure. The other 12 are all going to be tough sledding. Is it me or is this the second artcle in a month lecturing Cassel haters?

    • ArrowFan

      You know as rough as it was last year if Cassel doesn’t get hurt and plays out the whole season, I beat we would have made the playoffs.

      • http://twitter.com/scottbwalters Scott Walters

        Absolutely. Cassel instead of Palko is a win against Pittsburgh. Now if Cassel isn’t hurt, do we fire Haley mid season? Without Romeo in charge, do we beat Green Bay? I don’t know. But I think consistency at QB would have gotten us a few more wins than the Tyler Palko era did.

  • Danny W

    Hey I’m on board. 2010 Matt Cassel gets us to the playoffs for us to get blown out the final two games because they shut the run down, thats fine. Some wins are better than no wins. He starts making good down the field throws against better teams and I will even jump on the Super Bowl bandwagon. It’s not his fault he’s are quarterback I mean whats he going to do say I quit coach because I’m inaccurate? So I’m not going to call for his job at all, I will let his play do the talking this year. I think everyone knows were I stand. (I may throw in some sarcasm though if he absolutely stinks the joint up) But in the mean time. Yeah lets go everyone Cassel is taking us to the dance!!!!!!!!

  • sidibe

    Can’t argue with that. And anyone who wants him to get injured this year must be hoping we pick up a FA, because the drop off from him to Quinn or, lord help us, Stanzi is abyssal.

  • ArrowFan

    I have never had a problem with Cassle’s play, my biggest problem has been with how much he is getting paid. It’s along the same lines as Tyson Jackson.

    • http://gplus.to/Tarkus Tarkus

      Why do you care how much he’s getting paid?

      • ArrowFan

        If he where making say 15 mill less then we may possibly still have Carr or say any number of top free agents. His play is average and is pay is above average.

        • http://gplus.to/Tarkus Tarkus

          Cassel makes $5.5M this year (less than Kyle Orton), and the Chiefs are $16M under the cap. Cassel is not the reason Carr is no longer a Chief.

          • ArrowFan

            My bad I thought he had like a 60 million dollar contract?

  • http://www.facebook.com/shannon.michael.thompson Shannon Thompson

    Sure I cheer for Cassel to prove everyone who’s ever said “he isn’t worth the money he is being paid”, wrong. The problem is we fans don’t necessarily care about the players as individuals. I love hearing about good community guys, but if they don’t help or improve the team then they are on my cut list. Interesting question, would you prefer a Cassel type, who works his tail off, is a genuin good guy but can never live up to what we need/want him to? Or a player that is incredibally productive, but has personal issues, (Think Larry Johnson only instead of 1 or 2 years of great football, he has 6+ years of great ball) Where would you stand? Good guy, prone to not living up to what we want/need him to live up to or incredibally talented and productive, full of himself A-Hole? Its as easy to like the guy and hate the player as it is to love the player and hate the guy!

  • ladner morse

    Excellent article Crock. Loved it!
    Besides… it’s the time of year for… Super-positively-dively-rooting-for-our-Chief-lings!

  • http://KIDK.com Racyman

    With a real OC, maybe the best rushing attack in the NFL, an improved O-line and so many weapons, Matt will be a top 6-8 rated QB this season and he will lead the team to at least one playoff victory, if not more. Book it!

  • 16to89

    I love my dog. Let her play QB. Cassel only takes us as far as the team can drag him.

  • Chief Hokie

    Good stuff. Your articles are always enjoyable and much appreciated! I agree that Cassel is everything you would want from your franchise qb character-wise and that he only lacks the physical gifts, however the potential is there.

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