Chiefs seem to be regressing, not progressing
Matt Cassel will be right back under center when the reeling
Kansas City Chiefs host Buffalo on Sunday. But what effect will
getting benched during a blowout loss to Denver have on the young
A positive one, coach Todd Haley insists. Haley also said Monday
he’s not worried that the leadership he counts on Cassel to provide
will be affected by teammates seeing him jerked out of the game and
replaced by backup Brodie Coyle.
“No, not in my opinion,” Haley said. “Others may have
different opinions, but not in my opinion. I think that’s a head
coach’s decision to make, of where the game’s at and circumstances
surrounding it. Yesterday at that time I thought the best thing for
us as a team was to put Brodie in the game and let him play a
Near the end of a disastrous third quarter of a 44-13 loss to
the Broncos, Haley replaced Cassel with Croyle and Cassel spent the
rest of the game on the sideline.
Cassel, who signed a lucrative contract last summer that
guarantees him about $28 million, had been struggling along with
everyone else on the offense. He was 10 for 29 for 84 yards, with
two interceptions and two sacks and a horrendous quarterback rating
Croyle, who was the starter last year under Herm Edwards until
he was shelved for the season by a knee injury, did not fare much
better, hitting six of 14 for 134 yards as the Chiefs (3-9)
suffered their second lopsided loss in a row.
It was also Cassel’s second straight poor performance. In his
defense, several of his receivers dropped passes. But he also made
some poor throws.
Nevertheless, Haley seemed to signal that Cassel is back in good
“I thought Matt did some really good things that should have
had us in a better position than we were in,” said Haley. “I
thought that’s how he had played in the first half. He avoided a
couple of sacks and made positive plays out of it, and again made
some throws that probably should have been big gains for us.
“In the third quarter … our team as a whole unraveled more
offensively. And Matt’s his own worst critic. He’s disappointed
with a couple of plays he made in that stretch, as are the other
guys on the offense.”
Haley believes getting benched during the game might actually be
good for Cassel.
“In my opinion, the experience he had to go through in coming
out of the game and watching his backup play is more important than
actually being in there for that last quarter.”
Without any reliable receivers and working behind an offensive
line that’s never been consistent, Cassel has had a rough first
year with the Chiefs. He’s 188 for 349 with 13 touchdowns and nine
interceptions. He’s also been sacked 37 times for 212 yards in
Haley said he’d given no thought to letting Croyle start against
the Bills while Cassel takes a while to collect his thoughts and
“I’m going to play the guys who give us the best chance to win
and Matt is one of those guys right now,” he said.
The 37 sacks do not count the number of times Cassel’s been hit
after unloading the ball. But game after game, he’s jumped right
“A the head coach and (offensive) coordinator, I think the
kid’s a tough, tough guy,” Haley said. “Generally, when you’re
tough you can handle adversity. That’s the quarterback’s job is to
stand adversity in the face and overcome. Matt is back at it today
already. We’ve reviewed this tape, made our corrections. He’s on to
Buffalo and figuring out the best way for us to beat the Buffalo