I think it is safe to say that most Kansas City Chiefs fans approve of the Andy Reid hiring. I think one of the things that most fans like about Reid is his history of getting the most out of his QBs. There are a lot of opinions out there on what the Chiefs should do at QB next season, but even though there isn’t a consensus as to who the QB should be, there does seem to be a general trust in Reid’s opinion on the matter. In other words, a lot of KC fans seem to be taking an “I want (insert QB here) to be the QB next season, but ultimately I’ll trust Reid’s opinion on the matter” approach.
My question is, just how much trust do you have in Reid’s decision of who will be his QB?
Will you trust it even if he goes with your absolute last choice?
The recent quotes by Tamba Hali got me thinking, will you still trust his judgement even if he decides to go with Matt Cassel?
Now, let me start by saying that this is NOT a pro-Matt Cassel post. I don’t want Matt Cassel to be on the Chiefs roster next year, let alone starting games for the team I love. I’ve firmly established myself on the Geno Smith bandwagon, but if it’s not Geno I still hope they identify the QB that they feel is the best in this draft and take him first overall. I don’t care if it’s seen as a “reach” or “good value”. We need a QB and have a chance to get the best one in this class, there is value in that regardless of wether or not this year’s top QB is as good as previous #1 overall picks. That’s MY opinion. I know a lot of you agree and I know several of you do not. I’m not here to sway you to my opinion on drafting a QB #1 overall this week. I just wanted to clearly state for the record that I am NOT in favor of Matt Cassel being the starting QB so please don’t fill the comments section with angry rants about what an idiot I am for still backing Cassel.
Now that I have that on the record, let me lay out my “doomsday” scenario where Matt Cassel could be the opening day starter in 2013. This scenario starts with Reid breaking my heart and deciding that he doesn’t like a single QB in this draft enough to draft them with the first overall pick. He may pick one in the 2nd or 3rd round, but he doesn’t feel that they will be ready to start from day one as a rookie. That means that Reid will need a veteran to man the position until the rookie is ready. The options available to him will include keeping a current Chief like Cassel or Brady Quinn, acquiring a veteran from another team like Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, Mike Vick, or Nick Foles, or signing a free agent like Matt Moore or Jason Campbell. It’s also possible that Smith, Flynn, Vick, or Foles could be released by their current team for salary cap issues and would then be available via free agency but obviously their current teams would prefer to get something for them.
So in this scenario the first decision Reid has to make is if there are any free agent QBs that are better than Matt Cassel available. If none of the QBs currently under contract are released then this is debatable. I guess I would take Matt Moore over Matt Cassel just to have someone different, but do I have any faith that he is a better player? Not really. Their career numbers make them look like the same guy.
Matt Cassel: 58.9%, 6.6 YPA, 82 TDs, 57 INTs
Matt Moore: 59.1%, 6.9 YPA, 33 TDs, 26 INTs
Cassel is two years older and has many more starts, but there is very little evidence that Reid would be foolish to pass on Moore to keep Cassel who is already on his roster. So even though I don’t want Cassel around I’d have a hard time bashing Reid if he kept Cassel around instead of bringing in someone from this incredibly weak QB free agent group. Now, if Alex Smith were to be released and they could get him signed for a contract that was equal or less than Cassel’s I’d be strongly in favor of signing Smith, not because I think he’s clearly better than Cassel, but because he’d get a fresh start here and wouldn’t have the negative stigma attached to him that Cassel does.
While we’re on the subject of Alex Smith, let’s use him as the focus of our discussion on if they should trade for a veteran QB. If Chip Kelly decides Nick Foles doesn’t fit his offense and would like to deal him he’d be my first choice to trade for since he is young enough to be a possible QB of the future. After Foles though, Alex Smith is considered the next best option. I’ve already said that I would strongly be in favor of signing Smith if he was a free agent and Reid wanted a veteran starting QB, but would he be worth trading for? What if San Francisco wants a 2nd/3rd round pick for him? Is the difference between Smith and Cassel worthy of a valuable draft pick? Before you answer that, look at these three sets of numbers. First Cassel and Smith’s career numbers:
Matt Cassel: 58.9%, 6.6 YPA, 82 TDs, 57 INTs
Alex Smith: 59.3%, 6.6 YPA, 81 TDs, 63 INTs
Over the course of their careers these two are the same guy. Next, let’s look at their numbers over the past two seasons:
Matt Cassel: 58.8%, 6.4 YPA, 16 TDs, 21 INTs (in 18 games)
Alex Smith: 64.3%, 7.4 YPA, 30 TDs, 10 INTs (in 25 games)
Now that is a huge difference. If Andy Reid thinks that this difference is reflective of Cassel and Smith’s abilities then he very well may feel that trading for Smith would be worth while (I’m still not in favor of trading a 2nd/3rd rounder, maybe a 4th/5th). However, what if Reid thinks that Smith’s success was more of a factor of the coaching and stability that he received under Jim Harbaugh compared to his previous coaching staffs? What if we were to compare Smith’s two good seasons under Harbaugh to Cassel’s two good seasons under McDaniels and Weiss? Here’s what those numbers look like:
Matt Cassel: 61.0%, 7.0 YPA, 48 TDs, 18 INTs (31 games)
Alex Smith: 64.3%, 7.4 YPA, 30 TDs, 10 INTs (25 games)
Now we’re looking a little more comparable. Cassel is still behind Smith in completion percentage, YPA, and INTs but the difference is much smaller and Cassel actually has a sizable lead in TDs. When looking at these numbers, its not out of the question that Reid could think that these two are similar enough that it wouldn’t be worth giving up a draft pick in order to get Smith when he already has Cassel on the roster. Especially if he thinks he can have his draft pick ready to take over in a short amount of time.
So hear’s the question, is the current difference between Smith and Cassel reflected in their career numbers and numbers when they’ve received good coaching which are VERY similar or are they reflected in the numbers from the past two seasons which make Smith out to be the vastly superior QB?
The question is NOT which QB would Chiefs fans rather have. We all know the answer there would be Smith hands down (if they are the only two options). Andy Reid doesn’t have the negative stigma attached to Matt Cassel that we all do. I’m sure he knows that going with Cassel wouldn’t go over well, but ask yourself this “If Reid feels that Cassel and Smith are basically the same guy and the 49ers won’t release him, is it worth trading away a draft pick just to make us happy?”
As much as I DON’T want Cassel to be the starting QB next season I don’t think I want a head coach or GM that would trade away draft picks for the sole purpose of keeping their approval polls looking good either. Especially if he’s only looking for a short term solution until he grooms his next young QB. Of course he could avoid this situation all together by just drafting Geno Smith first overall and starting him from day one, but I digress.
So I’m putting the question out there to you guys. How much trust do you have in Andy Reid when it comes to the QB position? If he goes with someone you are strongly apposed to (be it Cassel or a free agent or draft pick you don’t like) will you still have faith? If he went with Cassel as a short term answer while he groomed a 2nd round draft pick would that effect how much you followed/supported the team? Maybe a better way to ask it is which runs deeper, your faith in Andy Reid with QBs or your hatred of Matt Cassel as the Chiefs QB?
I’m anxious to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!