The Kansas City Chiefs are looking for some consistency at the quarterback position and believe Matt Cassel can succeed with this football team. The only notable quarterback the Chiefs have gone after in recent years was Peyton Manning.
Chiefs fans have not been a big supporter of Cassel recently. With the MLB All-Star festivities taking place in Kansas City, fans were not excited when they heard Cassel's name from the public-address announcer during the All-Star Legends & Celebrity softball game. Even now at training camp, Cassel continues to receive criticism from the fans as well as the media.
Chiefs fans are looking for an alternative. In the 2011 draft, the Chiefs took Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi, whose popularity grew the moment he became part of the franchise.
The University of Iowa is a five-hour drive from Arrowhead Stadium. With a lot of Chiefs fans in Iowa, Stanzi's popularity with the Chiefs is no surprise.
Last year, I remember having to explain to puzzled Chiefs fans why their favorite quarterback wasn't playing. Chiefs fans, especially the ones who are also Iowa football fans, have made multiple cases for why Stanzi is more deserving of being the starter than Cassel. However, these reasons come off as why they want to see Stanzi rather than why they think he is deserving.
- He is from Iowa.
- He was successful as a Hawkeye.
- He was invested through the draft.
- Cassel is not good.
It is nice to see the overwhelming support college football fans give to the players who played for their favorite college football team. But Iowa football fans need to realize that Stanzi won't be the dominant player that they think he might turn into.
In case fans forgot, Stanzi was passed up on many times during the draft. He was eventually selected in the fifth round and didn't even play during his rookie season.
Despite going through three quarterbacks in 2011, Stanzi never took a snap with the team. When Romeo Crennel received the interim head coaching duties after Todd Haley's departure, Crennel was cautious of naming Stanzi the starter and instead gave the job to Kyle Orton, who had limited knowledge of the Chiefs' playbook.
This is not to say that Stanzi will never be a good quarterback in the league. Scott Pioli, the Chiefs' general manager, is excited for Stanzi as he makes the transition into his second year. He seems to have excelled during OTAs compared to Brady Quinn, who was signed this offseason.
Like every late-round pick, Stanzi is climbing up and working on what he needs to do if his name is called. For now, provided that injuries don't occur, he will receive most of his playing time during the preseason while looking to progress.
Going into 2012, the Chiefs value Stanzi more than last year because he has more knowledge on how professional football works, as opposed to college. Expect Stanzi to earn his first career snap in a regular-season game this year. Just don't expect him to take the starting quarterback job overnight.