Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Charlie Weis has his hands full in KC

When you take a look at Matt Cassel's 2008 stats and you factor in the appointment of Charlie Weis as Chiefs' OC, you realize that Kansas City is faced with a paradox: Charlie Weis loves to employ the spread offense which frequently has at least 3, but often 4 or 5 receivers on the field at a time. But Cassel struggles in multiple receiver sets where its tougher to read defenses and throw the ball downfield. (With the stats above, receivers are counted as anyone who lines up out wide or in the slot; thus, running backs and tight ends flexed out are counted as receivers).

So what should the Chiefs do? Forcing Cassel into the spread could be like fitting a square peg into a round hole. I thought about the Chiefs possibly utilizing Cassel more in the shotgun which would give him a little more time to avoid the rush and a better look at the defensive alignment. However, that idea was put to rest once I saw these stats:

Cassel's metrics show him as an average passer when in the traditional offensive formation: under center and with only 2 wide receivers. However, when forced to perform in the Todd Haley-friendly (and soon to be Weis-friendly) shotgun-spread formations, Cassel enters JaMarcus Russell-territory. No one expected Cassel to do as well in Kansas City as he did in New England but not even his biggest critics expected his passer rating to drop 20 points. Perhaps he and Weis can come up with some sort of a compromise as to what kind of offense they are both comfortable running and Cassel can show why he was worth $63 million. Or perhaps it was just the "Patriots system" that made Cassel and now he is just showing why he was a 7th round pick.


  1. Cassel is impossible to get a read on for two reasons: first, if his receivers didn't set the all-time record for drops in a single season, they were only one or two drops short of it. Obviously that harms his statistical numbers.

    Mainly, though, it's never been reported much in the mainstream, but when Chan Gailey was fired two weeks before the season began, Cassel and the KC offense as a whole had an entirely new offense (new plays, new terminology) thrust upon them.

    The simple formula of being able to play with the same offense he was learning and practicing all offseason should do wonders for Cassel in 2010, to say nothing of Weis or anything else.

  2. Yes, drops did hurt Cassel's stats but the Chiefs didn't set an all time record for drops; in fact, they didn't even lead the league. The Packers did and their QB performed pretty nicely despite that.

    As for the OC change; you would think that Cassel would adjust to the new playcaller during the season and improve as the season goes on. But Cassel actually regressed as he had a QB rating of 77.2 thru Game 8 and then a rating of 63.8 from Games 9-16.

    I think the personnel will have more of an impact on Cassel than the scheme will (as it did for him in New England). I also fully expect the Chiefs' front office to go after WRs that they are familiar with to help Cassel out. (i.e. Boldin, Branch, etc.)