As an obsessive fan of the NFL, I think it's time to take out some trash. The garbage I'm referring to is that which has been spewing from the mouths of analysts, fantasy gurus, and self-proclaimed prognosticators across the country regarding Kansas City's offseason acquisition at quarterback, Matt Cassel. As the 2009 NFL season draws nearer, many are saying that Cassel is overrated-- or will be a flop in Kansas City because he had so much talent around him last year in New England. I understand that to say the Chiefs have a much weaker offensive line than the Patriots would still be a gross understatement. I also understand that KC does not possess the wealth of experience and talent that the Pats do at receiver, either. I understand that the groundwork is certainly laid for Cassel to struggle with the Chiefs in the 2009 NFL season. You'd have to be blind not to see it.
However, the jury still has to be out on Cassel, himself. There is simply not enough evidence to make a case for Cassel as an NFL starter yet, one way or the other. Matt had a good season last year with an excellent organization/team and yes, will probably struggle some this year. Cassel is on a weaker team now with less support at receiver and a shoddy offensive line. It's obvious to a brain-dead donkey that he probably won't enjoy the same success as last year now that he's with the Chiefs. Does that mean that Cassel himself sucks or lacks the talent to start at the pro level? That determination simply cannot be made with no basis for comparison. If Cassel had the opportunity to be New England's starter again this season a case could most certainly be made on wether he is a one-year-wonder or not. As it stands, unless he single-handedly throws games away and makes repeated mistakes that can be directly attributed to him, people will need to see Cassel play for at least two seasons with the Chiefs in order to get a fair evaluation of his ability to lead a team as the starter. To try and evaluate him based on last year to this year would largely be comparing the Chiefs to the Patriots. It's apples and oranges.
Yet many respected and otherwise intelligent members of the media seem quick to jump on this bandwagon that Cassel is a no-good, overrated fluke simply because he got to throw the ball to Randy Moss and Wes Welker. (Michael Fabiano even went as far as labeling Cassel the next Rob Johnson in a segment he did on NFL.com.) So, having good receivers makes you a lousy quarterback? Really? That has to be one of the dumbest arguments of opinion I've ever heard. By that same logic, Joe Montana was simply horrific because he got to throw to the greatest receiver in NFL history, Jerry Rice. Peyton Manning is just an overrated slouch because he had Harrison, Wayne, and Stokely? I'm also guessing that Santonio Holmes threw last year's superbowl-winning TD pass to himself...
It's no secret that great receivers will make their quarterback look better. Football is a team sport, after all. However, this idea that a guy's talent level will significantly decrease or that his fundamentals and mechanics will erode simply because he becomes part of a weaker roster is entirely ludicrous and asinine to be quite blunt about it. Physically and mentally, Matt Cassel is still the same guy he was a year ago. He's still the Matt Cassel that backed-up collegiate superstars at USC. Solid starter or career backup? There is simply not enough data yet to even remotely determine Cassel's future successes or shortcomings with any accuracy. Anybody that tries to tell you otherwise is either lying to you or is just talking out of that space between the back pockets of their pants.