The Kansas City Chiefs have stumbled out of the gate to a 1-4 start with one of the main reasons being the struggles of quarterback Matt Cassel, who is now dealing with a head injury. He should have to earn his starting spot back once he returns to full strength.
Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star reports Cassel isn't likely to play on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers even though he hasn't been ruled out. Since the Chiefs have a bye the following week, it would make sense to give him the extra recovery time.
Brady Quinn is slated to replace Cassel after completing all three of his passes in relief last week. The former Cleveland Browns starter has a career 67.3 quarterback rating, which is well below average, in 15 games.
It's important to note he posted those numbers while working with one of the league's worst group of receivers, though. It will be interesting to see how he performs with more dynamic weapons, including a true No. 1 receiver in Dwayne Bowe.
Giving Quinn an extended look certainly can't hurt. Cassel has only had one good start in five games and that came against the Buffalo Bills, who rank second-last in yards allowed. Otherwise he's hardly instilled confidence in the coaching staff or fans.
In the NFL, there has always been a so-called unwritten rule that players shouldn't lose their starting spots due to injury. While the merits of the idea are good, it doesn't really make much sense for a team trying to win games.
If Romeo Crennel and his coaching staff believe Quinn gives them a better chance to win after getting an extended look at him this weekend, there's no reason they should put Cassel back in the lineup after the bye week.
What the Chiefs don't want is a quarterback controversy to develop where they end up rotating between Quinn and Cassel every two weeks. Crennel has to make a decision coming out of the bye week and stick with it moving forward.
That's why Sunday's game is so important to Quinn. The Chiefs already know what Cassel brings to the table when healthy. The Notre Dame product is far less of a known commodity, so this is his chance to shine.
If he outperforms the standard Cassel has set, he should remain in the lineup when Kansas City faces the Oakland Raiders in Week 8. If not, Cassel should get a chance in practice to win his starting job back. It's that simple.
Cassel's injury should have no barring on the ultimate decision. He should have earn his spot.