There has been a lot of debate regarding Matt Cassel recently. Last year, I was as big a supporter as anyone, defending him as often as possible. This year, I have changed my tone after watching him play. I have my reasons, but I am doing this study solely out of curiousity, and even I don't know the results as I write this post. I just have the data compiled into a spreadsheet (courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com).
Three of the common arguments we hear are this:
1.) Matt Cassel is not accurate enough.
2.) Matt Cassel is cursed by dropped passes.
3.) Matt Cassel is always under too much pressure to succeed.
The data I have in front of me is simply 4 statistics for each team:
2.) Pass Attempts (when a pass was actually thrown)
2.) # of dropbacks where the quarterback saw pressure.
3.) Total # of Dropbacks
From these, it's easy to determine two percentages for every team:
1.) The percentage of passes dropped (Drops/Attempts)
2.) The percentage of times the quarterback faces pressure (Pressures/Dropbacks)
Here's what I have found...
The league average for percentage of passes dropped is 6.12%. The low is Buffalo (3.42%) and the high is St. Louis (9.04%). The Chiefs are in fact above average in drops at 7.61% (21 drops in 276 attempts). From a precentage standpoint, this is the 5th worst in the league. So we can without a doubt say, the Chiefs drop more passes than the rest of the league, on a per attempt basis.
As far as pressures. The league average is that a quarterback will face pressure 32% of the time. The low is Tennessee (17.9%) and the high is Philadelphia (40.3%). The Chiefs are actually surprisingly below the league average (29.4%) and the 11th best in the league.
So knowing this, what can I say about Matt Cassel? He has more passes dropped than the average QB, but also faces less pressure. How about his personal stats compared to other quarterbacks?
CMP%: 59.5% (23rd)
Yards/Attempt: 6.4 (26th)
QB Rating: 76.6 (24th)
You can look up other stats, but these are easy ones to relate on a per quarterback basis.
My personal opinion of Matt Cassel is that he's serviceable, provided we have an awesome run game. I still think it is time for the Chiefs to spend a 1st round pick on a quarterback, and if anything, groom him to (hopefully) be our quarterback of the future. Matt Cassel, no matter the circumstances of dropped passes or protection, will most likely always be a below average NFL quarterback. Last year was impressive, but I can say without a doubt that it was against one of the easiest passing schedules, and our running game helped him out tremendously.
I just hope this helps clear up confusion as to how many passes get dropped or how much pressure our quarterback is under.