After the Chiefs were eschewed by Peyton Manning with as little as a peep this off-season, and having spent yet another draft avoiding the quarterback position, they find themselves relying on a guy that is quite possibly the most middle-of-the-road signal-caller in the NFL.
Cassel, entering his fourth season with the Chiefs, has had a topsy-turvy stint in Kansas City. He has endured one below average season (2009), one above average season (2010), and a season (2011) in which the entire team should receive a pass as management, and the coaching staff seemed to have forgotten that every game actually counts (Cassel also was injured in Week 9 and missed the rest of the season).
Since not all fans are onboard with Cassel’s ability to lead the Chiefs to a deep postseason run, having someone waiting in the wings—in case of injury or poor play—is imperative to maintaining their sanity and keeping the momentum moving towards the playoffs, should the team be in that position.
Tyler Palko, Kyle Orton and Ricky Stanzi provided that safety net last season. But with Stanzi being the only player remaining from that group, and not having much experience, the Chiefs needed to find a competent and reliable backup quarterback.
It was pointless for the Chiefs to retain a guy like Orton, who is essentially a Cassel clone as far as expected results are concerned.
Although a healthy quarterback competition can be a good thing, most teams simply do not have two guys that can be relied on for an entire season. It creates unnecessary drama within the locker room and always forces the coaching staff to make gratuitous substitutions while playing the “what if” game.
If the Manning chase had worked in the Chiefs’ favor, it would have been a non-issue because one guy is head and shoulders better than the other.
A former first-round pick, Quinn has yet to receive a legitimate opportunity to prove himself in the NFL. However, the chances that he has gotten have come with less than stellar results to say the least.
Quinn showed flashes of NFL ability while running Charlie Weis’ pro-style offense at Notre Dame. The mechanics and physical tools are there, but Cleveland wasn’t exactly the ideal setting—and still isn’t, so good luck Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden—for a young quarterback to gain traction in the league.
Coincidentally, the Chiefs’ new head coach Romeo Crennel held the same post with the Browns when they drafted Quinn in 2007.
We’ll have to wait and see if Crennel and Scott Pioli believe that Quinn can possibly make a push for Cassel’s starting spot, or if he was simply the best available backup quarterback on the market.
What we do know for now is that if Cassel is injured—or has a string of bad games—Quinn will need to step in and start for a team that has high hopes for the 2012 season.