Matt Cassel is starting an actual NFL game in 2017

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Matt Cassel
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Matt Cassel /

Former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel is starting in the NFL in 2017. Let that one sink in just a bit.

At one point in NFL history, Matt Cassel was a hot commodity for quarterback needy teams. This was, of course, nearly 10 years ago, in 2008, in when Cassel took over for Tom Brady as the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback due to injury. In turn, Cassel went 10-5 as a starter and looked like a nice option for teams who needed an answer at the position.

The Kansas City Chiefs were the franchise lucky enough to learn the lesson, as Cassel went 19-28 as the Chiefs starter, throwing 59 touchdowns and 44 interceptions during the years that were supposed to be Prime Cassel. Those are now largely forgettable years for fans who have gladly moved on past the Todd Haley/Scott Pioli regime.

Since Kansas City, Cassel has served as NFL back-up who comes with a decent amount of starting experience on his resume. In this role, he’s served with the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and now the Tennessee Titans. With each passing year, he seems to get a bit of playing time due to injuries that occur at the position. Since his tenure, Cassel is 7-11 as a fill-in starter with 21 touchdowns and 22 interceptions and a 59 percent completion rate.

In other words, Cassel at this point might be a decent mentor on the sidelines, but he’s no one at all that you want to put into a game. He’s averaging a turnover every time a team throws him out there with slightly less touchdowns to show for it. The results are middling and predictable and no team is worried about game planning for Cassel. Which is why it’s surprising to read the following in 2017, especially with a team like the Tennessee Titans:

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It makes sense for the back-up to start here. Marcus Mariota is out. The Titans have no choice. Someone else has to be the guy. But why not roll with a rookie here? Or why not try out another veteran? Are you really telling me an available free agent like Colin Kaepernick wouldn’t give the Titans a better chance to win?

These are important questions for a team like the Titans to consider because the division looked like it was ripe for the taking. The Jags have looked the part of contender and pretender both through the first quarter while the Colts are just miserable. The Texans were dealing with quarterback issues and looked beatable until just last week—against the Titans. Now, they look like the class of the division.

Right now the Titans, Texans and Jaguars are all tied for the division lead, and Tennessee is going to trot out Matt Cassel in Week 5 and perhaps beyond as Mariota heals up. That’s a recipe for sitting at home in January.

Just ask Chiefs fans.