Matt Cassel: How QB's Absence Will Impact Chiefs Offense vs Tampa Bay

Jessica MarieCorrespondent IIOctober 11, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 07:  Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs is examined after taking a hit from a Baltimore Raven and  being helped off the field in the fourth quarter on October 07, 2012 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)
Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Now is probably a good time for Matt Cassel to take a step back.

If there was ever a "good" time for a quarterback to miss a game due to an injury, now would be it for Cassel and the Kansas City Chiefs. There's a lot of tension in KC right now, stemming from the fact that the hometown fans cheered when Cassel suffered a head injury against the Ravens last week and needed assistance getting off the field.

Not cool, KC fans. But in any case, Cassel will be firmly stationed on the sideline this Sunday when the Chiefs travel to Tampa Bay. According the Associated Press, Cassel is out for Sunday's game, and Chiefs fans will have a new target to malign from the comfort of their own homes.

Brady Quinn—former Notre Dame savior, former first-round draft pick, former Cleveland Browns laughingstock—will get the start on Sunday.

The good news is, the Chiefs really aren't that bad, statistically speaking. Their record indicates extreme and debilitating futility, but this team boasts the nation's second-best rushing attack, the third-best offense in terms of total yardage and the No. 11 defense.

The Chiefs really shouldn't be as bad as they seem to be. And maybe Quinn can get them off to a new start on Sunday. Tampa Bay is a good opponent to do so against.

The Bucs, unlike the Chiefs, really do struggle as much as their 1-3 record suggests. Their defense ranks 15th in the league (a perfect average, considering that their pass defense is abominable but their rush D is extremely solid), and their offense is dead-last in the league.

The Chiefs are obviously much stronger on the ground than they are in the air, and that doesn't bode well as they head into a matchup against a team that is incredibly tough on the run and virtually nonexistent against the pass.

They can fight a war of attrition on the ground. Or Quinn can try to establish some kind of a rhythm with his limited options.

Dwayne Bowe is a good place to start. He ranks ninth in the NFL in receptions with 31, and he's had two performances in which he's registered 100-plus yards. He's just about as reliable a receiver as the Chiefs have, and many other teams are doing more with less. Bowe has already been solid against competent pass defenses; he could be truly dangerous against the Bucs. 

Maybe this week is the time to really start using Dexter McCluster, too. He's gotten half as many receptions as Bowe, and he has yet to have an explosive performance or even register a touchdown, but this is one of the league's worst pass defenses. It's time to do some experimenting in the air and see what these two can do.

Between Bowe and McCluster, Quinn should have something to work with at least. He's not incredibly experienced as a starting quarterback, but maybe he's grown over the last two years when he's barely played …

Or maybe he and this offense will just figure it out against a very beatable team. Against all odds, the Chiefs have an opportunity in Week 6—even without Cassel.

Time to take advantage.