The 2011 NFL season schedules have now been released, and everyone has had time to digest what faces the Kansas City Chiefs in the upcoming season. Let us now look further at the Chiefs leader, quarterback Matt Cassel.
The 2011 season will be Cassel’s third with the Chiefs since coming over from the New England Patriots. After a rough first season with the Chiefs in 2009 where Cassel had a quarterback rating of 69.9, the second worst in the AFC west only behind JaMarcus Russell, he bounced back with a great overall performance in 2010.
In 2010 Cassel improved in every way imaginable. His quarterback rating increased a staggering 23.1 points to 93.0. All of Cassel’s other statistics improved as well, including completion percentage, total yards, yards per attempt, yards per game, touchdowns and interceptions.
Entering the 2011 NFL season, Cassel should continue on his path of improvement. If he is able to keep his arrow facing up, he should have no problem leading the Chiefs to a repeat championship in the AFC West this season.
So without further ado, below are 15 bold predictions, good and bad, about Matt Cassel and his future performance during the 2011 NFL season:
1. Pass Over 3,500 Yards
Cassel has only done this once in his career and that was three seasons ago with the Patriots. With Dwayne Bowe and hopefully another new wide receiver via the draft, Cassel should have no problems.
2. Complete Over 60 Percent of Pass Attempts
Once again Cassel has only done this once in his career, and, yes, it was with the Patriots. However, Cassel was on 1.8 percent for of this goal last season. With the addition of Quarterback Coach Jim Zorn, look for this number to increase.
3. Throw 25-30 TDs
Cassel threw 27 TDs last year; however before that the most he had ever thrown in a season was 21. With Bowe, expect Cassel to have very similar touchdown numbers as 2010.
4. 225 Passing Yards Per Game
The last time Cassel average over 225 yards passing a game, it was when he was passing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker in 2008. With Bowe, a health Dexter McCluster and a rookie yet to be named, look for Cassel to have more opportunity to air it out.
5. Play All 16 Games
Cassel has yet to play all 16 games in a season for the Chiefs. In 2009, he missed the opener, and last year he missed the Chargers game due to an appendectomy.
6. Throw 12-15 INTS
This would not be an improvement from last year, when Cassel had only seven interceptions. In 2011, with a much harder schedule, against some of the NFL’s best defenses, look for Cassel to throw a few more interceptions.
7. Top 5 Most Sacks
Last season, Cassel was sacked 26 times, which was average in the NFL, but this year with an aging offensive line, he could take a beating. Look for the Chiefs to address the offensive tackle position through the draft to try and fix this problem.
8. 5 Fumbles
In 2010, Cassel had three fumbles; however in 2009 he had 14 fumbles. With the already noted aging offensive line, Cassel will most likely loss the ball a few more times this season.
9. Get In a Shouting Match With Todd Haley
I just think this would be entertaining. Just imagine it. I would be willing to bet Haley and Cassel would talk about how much of a competitor each of them is and how it’s a non-issue in the postgame.
10. QB Rating of 88.0
Last season, Cassel’s quarterback rating of 93.0 was his career best. With some increased interception numbers this season, expect this rating to decrease slightly.
11. Eight Completed Passes Over 40 Yards
Last season Cassel only had four passes for over 40 yards. That number will double this season.
12. Two Rushing TDs
Cassel is a fairly athletic quarterback who is not a complete liability when he runs. Having said that, Cassel has never scored a regular-season rushing touchdown for the Chiefs.
13. Three Late Game-Winning Drives
With a tough schedule comes tough, competitive, close ball games. Cassel will surprise many with his fourth-quarter leadership this season.
14. Lead Chiefs to 9-7
This record, while not an improvement over last season, will be good enough for the Chiefs to repeat as AFC West Champions in 2011.
15. Lead the Chiefs to a Layoff Victory
That’s right, Cassel is going to lead the Chiefs to their first playoff victory since 1994. It is going to be a great wild-card upset, but Matt Cassel is going to deliver it to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011.
Stay tuned, it is going to be a fun ride!!