Matt Cassel: The Next Scott Mitchell?
Now now, I know what you're thinking. "Give the man a chance, he's barely played in this league." Certainly a fair statement. However, the similarities are there, and Cassel would be well-advised to pay attention to them.
Scott Mitchell was the free agent prize preceding the 1994 season. It might seem strange now, but his 84.2 rating was more than enough to impress front office personnel league-wide. Cassel has shown steady improvement, and is similarly exciting front offices in cities across the country.
Cassel may be a tad more mobile than Mitchell, but they are both pocket passers of a similar build, about six and half feet tall weighing around 235 lbs. Here are the stats from Mitchell's final season as a Dolphin and Cassel's 2008 campaign:
The most obvious difference is the completion percentage, with Cassel dominating the stat by over nine percent. Also, Cassel throws nearly twice as many times per appearance.
The perception would be that more of the offense is placed on Cassel and the passing game than the Dolphins placed on Mitchell in his brief stint as a starter. However, through 11 games, the Patriots have rushed for 1444 yards with an average of 4.2 per carry.
By contrast, over their 16-game schedule, the '93 Dolphins rushed for 1459 yards, averaging a meager 3.5 yards per attempt. The Patriots have already surpassed the Dolphins rushing touchdown total by four.
The point to be made here is that Matt Cassel is on a much better football team than Scott Mitchell was, and while his statistics are better, they aren't so much better that we have any reason to believe that he would outperform Mitchell on another NFL team.
Nothing against Don Shula, but even with all of his success his teams never dominated the league the way the Patriots did for several years. I don't mean to slight Irving Fryar, but he is no Randy Moss.
And, while the Patriots are likely to finish with a better mark than the Dolphins' 9-7 record, Cassel has a lot more to show me before I can believe, in good faith, that he has a better fate in store for himself than rehashing the career path of one of the most hated sports figures in Motor City history.
However, we have yet to touch on the most damning aspect of this entire situation.
There are already whispers about the city. Matt Cassel will be a free agent after the season, and with Daunte Culpepper's struggles (in an impossible situation, of course) talk of signing Cassel has sprung up everywhere.
The Lions are sure to have some cap room to work with and they are in desperate need of help under center, amongst other places. Will Cassel be able to spurn the millions Detroit may be prepared to offer?
I hope so. For his sake.
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