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Offseason spotlight: Cassel facing expectations in K.C.

  • By NFL.com
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First-year head coach Todd Haley will look to Matt Cassel, who enters his first full season as a starter.

As part of NFL Network's 32 teams in 32 days series, airing daily on Total Access, NFL.com takes a look at a key question facing each NFL team. NFL Network analyst Solomon Wilcots and NFL.com senior writer Steve Wyche discuss Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel. What should be expected of Cassel in his first full season as a starter in a new system under a new coaching staff?

Read their take and then enter the discussion below.

Wyche: Cassel lacks options

Todd Haley is one of the most creative passing game designers and play callers in the NFL. He’s the type of coach who should bring out the best in Matt Cassel.

Yet Haley doesn’t have the Pro Bowl WRs he coached in Arizona to help Cassel in K.C. Cassel doesn’t have the Pro Bowl receivers he had in New England, where he emerged from a career backup to a valuable commodity.

K.C.'s trade of Tony Gonzalez left Haley and Cassel with Dwayne Bowe, an emerging stud, and Bobby Engram, a veteran who isn’t Randy Moss or Larry Fitzgerald. The lack of options could be more of an indicator of Cassel’s 2009 season than his overall skills and his ability to grasp Haley’s offense. Having learned the complicated schemes in New England, Cassel showed he can handle what’s taught, but playing with a developing roster with marginal help could make Cassel more of a manager than franchise QB. And we haven't even discussed the Chiefs' questionable offensive line .

That could be all the Chiefs are looking for for now, since Cassel only cost them a second-round draft choice. If he proves more than that, maybe he is a legitimate NFL starter.


Wilcots: Steep learning curve

In New England, a veteran team kind of carried Matt Cassel until he got going. It wasn't pretty at first, let's face it. But, he did get it together once the environment became familiar and he was comfortable, and he was helped by great receivers and a good defense.

All of those things are now gone in Kansas City. It's not a familiar environment. It's not a familiar coach. It's a new system. There is no Randy Moss there to bail you out. There certainly is no Bill Belichick defense to bail you out.

This is a steep learning curve for Cassel.

This season will tell you more about Cassel than anything else up until this point. The fact that the Chiefs haven't signed Cassel to a long-term deal should tell you something.


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