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.