Warpaint Roundtable: Where's the QB?

This edition of the WPI Roundtable features discussions on the three biggest issues in Chiefs Kingdom: Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles, and the Chiefs' offense as a whole. As a special treat, C.E. Wendler returns to the Roundtable to help us analyze this week's topics.

Why don't we ever throw passes deep down the field? Is it because of Charlie Weis? Is it because of Matt Cassel?

Nick Athan: It's probably a little bit of both. But you have to blame the receivers – they aren't getting off the line of scrimmage, they aren't taking advantage of one-on-one matchups. They have to be more physical.

If they can do that Sunday, they're going to be open down the field. If the 49ers have a weakness, it's in the secondary. But Cassel does have a hand in it because he's not waiting for receivers to get open. Some plays take longer to develop than others, so he's basically settling for short throws and hoping they turn into long ones. But everyone has a hand it right now.

C.E. Wendler: It's Matt Cassel. At no point in his NFL career has he shown an ability to hit the deep ball, or even throw past 15 yards with any sort of consistency. This was true in New England, where Cassel underthrew and overthrew Randy Moss for 16 games. It was true in Kansas City last year. So far Cassel has held true to form in 2010.

Where quarterbacks are concerned, I don't believe in teaching old dogs new tricks. Judging on the way Charlie Weis has schemed his offense this year, he appears to believe the same thing. The Chiefs have been dinking and dunking their way around the field for six games in 2010, including preseason. They've taken a few shots down the field, but anything past 20 yards has been a complete prayer.

Conor Crawford: In the first game, the Chiefs battled through slick conditions. The Chargers opted to pass for most of the game, but Kansas City didn't. Then came Cleveland where Cassel did better, but still couldn't shake out of his slump.

Early indications show that Tony Moeaki is one of his favorite targets, mainly because Moeaki's never really gone deep for a ball and rather catches balls just a few yards down the field. Cassel needs to grow more confident in his receivers and take just enough time to get it down to Chambers and Bowe. He can't sit in the pocket all day, but once he gets the ball, he needs to read the routes and connect for a pass.

Michael Ash: Weis doesn't seem to be calling many plays that are designed for a deep throw, but Cassel is ultimately the reason for it. While he has made a couple of nice deep passes here and there, it certainly isn't one of his strengths.

The few times we have seen Cassel go deep, he's usually throwing to a receiver that managed to get considerable separation. Cassel rarely hits his man in stride in those situations, so being a few steps behind the defender gives the receivers a chance to adjust to the pass while it's in the air.

If you listen to the radio broadcasts, you've probably heard Len Dawson lament the fact that Chiefs' receivers haven't gotten consistent downfield separation over the first two games. So we end up with a situation where Cassel's lack of ability on the long ball leads to him only going deep when someone is wide open. And guys don't seem to be getting wide open very often. So it leads to Weis not bothering to call those kinds of plays.

Do you think the coaching staff might be holding back on the offense until we play a team like the Colts or the Texans, so that we don't show our hand too soon?

Nick Athan: I don't think they are holding back. But I do think they'll spend a lot of time in the bye week fine tuning, making adjustments, and they will make some personnel changes. Should Kansas City get past the 49ers, I like the chances that the Chiefs can win one of those two road contests.

Give Weis and company two weeks to prepare for the Colts and then we'll find out how real the Chiefs are in 2010.
Getty Images



Give Weis and Crennel two weeks to prepare for the Colts, and if they treat it like a playoff game, I like their chances. You can run up and down on Indy. As far as Houston, ask me that question again after the Indy game.

C.E. Wendler: I'm not sure what you're expecting the Chiefs to suddenly reveal when they play the Colts and Texans. They're not suddenly going to turn into a downfield passing juggernaut, and we've already seen Matt Cassel running the no huddle extensively. Tony Moeaki is no secret at this point and the Chiefs have tried to get the ball to Dexter McCluster.

We might see the Chiefs open up their screen game soon, or pull out a trick play or two. But other than that, I don't think there are any great surprises coming. The Chiefs aren't really holding back on offense. They're limited by the quarterback.

Conor Crawford: You can argue that, but once the bye week rolls around, there needs to be some major tweaking. The Colts and Texans aren't teams that they can try and sneak wins away from and Kansas City will need to score at least 20-30 points to stay in those games.

The coaches won't send the right message by limiting their offense because they need to pull out all the stops. The defense and opponent's silly penalties will only carry the Chiefs so far to victory. What puzzles me so far is that the team hasn't tried or even been successful with wildcat formations, something they were clearly expected to start with the acquisition of Jones and drafting of McCluster.

Michael Ash: No, I don't believe for a minute that they've been purposely holding back. Maybe if the running game, defense, and special teams were letting us build up 20-point leads, we could fantasize that the passing offense hasn't been too flashy because it didn't need to be.

But the Chiefs have been in two dogfights – they needed every last yard they could muster in both of their first two games. There's no doubt they'll have to ramp things up offensively if they want to be competitive with high-scoring teams like the Colts or Texans. But that's a long way from the idea that they're purposely holding back.

I feel relatively safe in saying that Haley didn't punt the ball back to the Chargers in the final minutes of the Monday night game and go "I know a great play that could prolong our drive here, but I don't want the Colts to see it yet".

What will they do at QB if Cassel continues to struggle? Do they bench him and go with Brodie Croyle, who can never stay healthy and has never won a start? Do they pull off a trade for someone like Kevin Kolb? Do they just wait for the draft to find a replacement?

Nick Athan: I'm sure the Chiefs have had contact with the Philadelphia Eagles about Kevin Kolb. Now the jury is out on this kid, but he's getting a raw deal in the city of brotherly love. He should not have lost his starting spot to Vick. But they need sell tickets and win games and thus he's getting the NFL equivalent to Grand Theft Auto!

Chiefs have already made overtures for the Eagles Kevin Kolb but that's as far as its gone to this point.
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As far as Cassel, he must deliver a no doubt knock out performance Sunday against the 49ers. If the Chiefs want to win this game, it'll be Cassel that leads them.

The 49ers are angry, partially beaten, and fired up to come to Kansas City to beat the Chiefs. So that tells me they're likely going to be very aggressive and Cassel needs to take advantage of that as often as he can.

If not, Croyle or Kolb could line up under center against the Colts.

C.E. Wendler: Cassel won't be benched this season. The Chiefs invested heavily in the offense over the summer, and they already have a lot invested in Cassel, so I'd imagine they'll want to give him every opportunity to prove himself. I'd be shocked if we saw him benched for Croyle.

If Cassel performs poorly, it makes too much sense for the Chiefs not to dump him, based on the money he's owed. At that point, what direction Scott Pioli will go in is anyone's guess. He's hardly predictable.

Conor Crawford: Cassel will be the quarterback. Period. There's no way the Chiefs will bench a multi-million dollar quarterback in favor of a guy who hasn't won as a starter. I find myself on the Brodie bandwagon every once in a while, but Chiefs fans need to realize that Cassel is this regime's guy, not Brodie Croyle. Croyle is a leftover from Herman Edwards, and while he has a stronger arm than Cassel, he still won't overtake him.

Kevin Kolb, on the other hand, might not be a good fit in Kansas City as well because he plays with a more west coast, high-flying offense in Philadelphia than the more conservative approach that the Chiefs have under Charlie Weis. The best bet for the Chiefs is to wait until the draft or more importantly, just wait until Cassel fully grasps the playbook and makes a name for himself.

Chiefs fans, myself included, find ourselves to be very impatient, but Tom Brady didn't win the Super Bowl over night and all by himself. It was also because of his supporting cast and defense.

Michael Ash: The only way I could see Cassel getting benched is if it's later in the season, the Chiefs have a legitimate chance at a playoff spot, and he's a complete disaster during a game. Under those circumstances, maybe they put in Croyle. But even then, it's far from a guarantee.

Kevin Kolb should be a non-issue. Philly isn't going to trade him away and put their entire franchise in the hands of a guy who just got out of prison a year ago. It was only a few months back that Michael Vick's name was connected to a shooting. While he wasn't involved, it showed that he apparently still runs in the kind of circles that could have him back on the front page of the newspaper on any given day. If they trade Kolb and Vick gets in trouble again, where are they?

Frankly, even if Kolb was an option, why should the Chiefs be interested? Just once, can't we do better than trading away picks for someone else's backup? If Cassel's performance thus far is indicative of things to come this season, then the team needs to do whatever it takes to land one of the first-round QBs in next year's draft.

Is there really turmoil in the locker room between running backs coach Maurice Carthon and Jamaal Charles?

Nick Athan: There's always turmoil in an NFL locker room. The mighty egos of the players and coaches clash every single practice. On game days, there's enough heat in the battle to make the network sensors break.

At some point Haley and Charles need to get on the same page.
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Let's get real: do you really think Charlie Weis isn't in control of the offense? Do you really think Carthon would even be coaching if it were up to him to determine if Charles or Jones gets the nods on any given play? Generally a series of plays are scripted in any given series, and based on what number is called, certain personnel run onto the field.

There is no doubt that Charles isn't happy, but it's all his doing. He's not the same player he was at the end of last season. And until he gets to that point, he's going to play second fiddle to Jones. It may not be right but it's the Haley/Weis way.

C.E. Wendler: Charles has spent his entire Kansas City career being a model citizen. When I heard the latest rumor from Kansas City sports radio, that the Chiefs were in danger of "losing" Charles over his lack of carries, I was shocked. It seemed out of character. Of course the radio report was hardly factual, or even based on anything Charles himself said. It was just speculation.

If there's actually a problem between Carthon and Charles, we'll never hear about it. Todd Haley comes from the Bill Parcells school of player-coach relationships. They're kept completely in house. So, barring a sideline blowup between Charles and Carthon, where is the evidence for such a spat going to come from?

Conor Crawford: No matter how many times the coaches or Charles himself wants to deny it, there's gotta be something going on. It would be foolish to think Charles, clearly one of the league's best young running backs, is satisfied with being a backup.

While Jones is a great compliment to Charles, I think he's more suited to be a third down back rather than the guy who gets the majority of snaps. The coaches may very well know something about Charles that we don't – say for instance an exchange of words –but we won't know until Charles truly outshines Jones and puts this issue to rest.

Michael Ash: Just to cover it for anyone who's not aware, there was a report on local radio this week that Charles – after being swapped out for Thomas Jones during the fourth quarter of the Cleveland game – either became upset or depressed at being pulled from the field, and running backs coach Mo Carthon berated him on the sideline over it.

I can't speak to the accuracy of the claim, but no matter who the reporter is, I tend to be wary of any story that only comes from one source. This is particularly true when the story is about something that allegedly took place in full public view on the sideline and allegedly caused players to speak out. If both of those things are true, I'm just not sure how only one source would be talking about it.

In the general sense, there seems to be an assumption that Charles is unhappy with his role, which is what gave fuel to the Carthon story. And while that assumption certainly seems valid, there are some things we know about Charles that give me pause.

First, there's the way he and Thomas Jones are said to have bonded during the offseason. Then there's the way Charles voluntarily took himself out of the Denver game last season when he was so close to the single game rushing record. Clearly, that's not the sort of thing a guy would do if he's driven by stats or his own personal glory.

Perhaps following in the tradition of unique Longhorn running backs like Priest Holmes and Ricky Williams, Charles has always struck me as being a bit different. Perhaps a little more thoughtful or a little more humble than most. So I do tend to wonder if the whole starter issue is as big a deal to him as people assume it is.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories

\r\nWhy don't we ever throw passes deep down the field? Is it because of Charlie Weis? Is it because of Matt Cassel?\r\n\r\n

Nick Athan: It's probably a little bit of both. But you have to blame the receivers – they aren't getting off the line of scrimmage, they aren't taking advantage of one-on-one matchups. They have to be more physical.\r\n\r\n

If they can do that Sunday, they're going to be open down the field. If the 49ers have a weakness, it's in the secondary. But Cassel does have a hand in it because he's not waiting for receivers to get open. Some plays take longer to develop than others, so he's basically settling for short throws and hoping they turn into long ones. But everyone has a hand it right now.\r\n\r\n

C.E. Wendler: It's Matt Cassel. At no point in his NFL career has he shown an ability to hit the deep ball, or even throw past 15 yards with any sort of consistency. This was true in New England, where Cassel underthrew and overthrew Randy Moss for 16 games. It was true in Kansas City last year. So far Cassel has held true to form in 2010.\r\n\r\n

Where quarterbacks are concerned, I don't believe in teaching old dogs new tricks. Judging on the way Charlie Weis has schemed his offense this year, he appears to believe the same thing. The Chiefs have been dinking and dunking their way around the field for six games in 2010, including preseason. They've taken a few shots down the field, but anything past 20 yards has been a complete prayer.\r\n\r\n

Conor Crawford: In the first game, the Chiefs battled through slick conditions. The Chargers opted to pass for most of the game, but Kansas City didn't. Then came Cleveland where Cassel did better, but still couldn't shake out of his slump.\r\n\r\n

Early indications show that Tony Moeaki is one of his favorite targets, mainly because Moeaki's never really gone deep for a ball and rather catches balls just a few yards down the field. Cassel needs to grow more confident in his receivers and take just enough time to get it down to Chambers and Bowe. He can't sit in the pocket all day, but once he gets the ball, he needs to read the routes and connect for a pass.\r\n\r\n

Michael Ash: Weis doesn't seem to be calling many plays that are designed for a deep throw, but Cassel is ultimately the reason for it. While he has made a couple of nice deep passes here and there, it certainly isn't one of his strengths.\r\n\r\n

The few times we have seen Cassel go deep, he's usually throwing to a receiver that managed to get considerable separation. Cassel rarely hits his man in stride in those situations, so being a few steps behind the defender gives the receivers a chance to adjust to the pass while it's in the air.\r\n\r\n

If you listen to the radio broadcasts, you've probably heard Len Dawson lament the fact that Chiefs' receivers haven't gotten consistent downfield separation over the first two games. So we end up with a situation where Cassel's lack of ability on the long ball leads to him only going deep when someone is wide open. And guys don't seem to be getting wide open very often. So it leads to Weis not bothering to call those kinds of plays.\r\n\r\n

Do you think the coaching staff might be holding back on the offense until we play a team like the Colts or the Texans, so that we don't show our hand too soon?\r\n\r\n

Nick Athan: I don't think they are holding back. But I do think they'll spend a lot of time in the bye week fine tuning, making adjustments, and they will make some personnel changes. Should Kansas City get past the 49ers, I like the chances that the Chiefs can win one of those two road contests.\r\n\r\n

Give Weis and company two weeks to prepare for the Colts and then we'll find out how real the Chiefs are in 2010.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Give Weis and Crennel two weeks to prepare for the Colts, and if they treat it like a playoff game, I like their chances. You can run up and down on Indy. As far as Houston, ask me that question again after the Indy game.\r\n\r\n

C.E. Wendler: I'm not sure what you're expecting the Chiefs to suddenly reveal when they play the Colts and Texans. They're not suddenly going to turn into a downfield passing juggernaut, and we've already seen Matt Cassel running the no huddle extensively. Tony Moeaki is no secret at this point and the Chiefs have tried to get the ball to Dexter McCluster.\r\n\r\n

We might see the Chiefs open up their screen game soon, or pull out a trick play or two. But other than that, I don't think there are any great surprises coming. The Chiefs aren't really holding back on offense. They're limited by the quarterback.\r\n\r\n

Conor Crawford: You can argue that, but once the bye week rolls around, there needs to be some major tweaking. The Colts and Texans aren't teams that they can try and sneak wins away from and Kansas City will need to score at least 20-30 points to stay in those games.\r\n\r\n

The coaches won't send the right message by limiting their offense because they need to pull out all the stops. The defense and opponent's silly penalties will only carry the Chiefs so far to victory. What puzzles me so far is that the team hasn't tried or even been successful with wildcat formations, something they were clearly expected to start with the acquisition of Jones and drafting of McCluster.\r\n\r\n

Michael Ash: No, I don't believe for a minute that they've been purposely holding back. Maybe if the running game, defense, and special teams were letting us build up 20-point leads, we could fantasize that the passing offense hasn't been too flashy because it didn't need to be.\r\n\r\n

But the Chiefs have been in two dogfights – they needed every last yard they could muster in both of their first two games. There's no doubt they'll have to ramp things up offensively if they want to be competitive with high-scoring teams like the Colts or Texans. But that's a long way from the idea that they're purposely holding back.\r\n\r\n

I feel relatively safe in saying that Haley didn't punt the ball back to the Chargers in the final minutes of the Monday night game and go \"I know a great play that could prolong our drive here, but I don't want the Colts to see it yet\".\r\n\r\n

What will they do at QB if Cassel continues to struggle? Do they bench him and go with Brodie Croyle, who can never stay healthy and has never won a start? Do they pull off a trade for someone like Kevin Kolb? Do they just wait for the draft to find a replacement?\r\n\r\n

Nick Athan: I'm sure the Chiefs have had contact with the Philadelphia Eagles about Kevin Kolb. Now the jury is out on this kid, but he's getting a raw deal in the city of brotherly love. He should not have lost his starting spot to Vick. But they need sell tickets and win games and thus he's getting the NFL equivalent to Grand Theft Auto!\r\n\r\n

Chiefs have already made overtures for the Eagles Kevin Kolb but that's as far as its gone to this point.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n\r\n

As far as Cassel, he must deliver a no doubt knock out performance Sunday against the 49ers. If the Chiefs want to win this game, it'll be Cassel that leads them. \r\n\r\n

The 49ers are angry, partially beaten, and fired up to come to Kansas City to beat the Chiefs. So that tells me they're likely going to be very aggressive and Cassel needs to take advantage of that as often as he can.\r\n\r\n

If not, Croyle or Kolb could line up under center against the Colts.\r\n\r\n

C.E. Wendler: Cassel won't be benched this season. The Chiefs invested heavily in the offense over the summer, and they already have a lot invested in Cassel, so I'd imagine they'll want to give him every opportunity to prove himself. I'd be shocked if we saw him benched for Croyle.\r\n\r\n

If Cassel performs poorly, it makes too much sense for the Chiefs not to dump him, based on the money he's owed. At that point, what direction Scott Pioli will go in is anyone's guess. He's hardly predictable.\r\n\r\n

Conor Crawford: Cassel will be the quarterback. Period. There's no way the Chiefs will bench a multi-million dollar quarterback in favor of a guy who hasn't won as a starter. I find myself on the Brodie bandwagon every once in a while, but Chiefs fans need to realize that Cassel is this regime's guy, not Brodie Croyle. Croyle is a leftover from Herman Edwards, and while he has a stronger arm than Cassel, he still won't overtake him.\r\n\r\n

Kevin Kolb, on the other hand, might not be a good fit in Kansas City as well because he plays with a more west coast, high-flying offense in Philadelphia than the more conservative approach that the Chiefs have under Charlie Weis. The best bet for the Chiefs is to wait until the draft or more importantly, just wait until Cassel fully grasps the playbook and makes a name for himself.\r\n\r\n

Chiefs fans, myself included, find ourselves to be very impatient, but Tom Brady didn't win the Super Bowl over night and all by himself. It was also because of his supporting cast and defense.\r\n\r\n

Michael Ash: The only way I could see Cassel getting benched is if it's later in the season, the Chiefs have a legitimate chance at a playoff spot, and he's a complete disaster during a game. Under those circumstances, maybe they put in Croyle. But even then, it's far from a guarantee.\r\n\r\n

Kevin Kolb should be a non-issue. Philly isn't going to trade him away and put their entire franchise in the hands of a guy who just got out of prison a year ago. It was only a few months back that Michael Vick's name was connected to a shooting. While he wasn't involved, it showed that he apparently still runs in the kind of circles that could have him back on the front page of the newspaper on any given day. If they trade Kolb and Vick gets in trouble again, where are they?\r\n\r\n

Frankly, even if Kolb was an option, why should the Chiefs be interested? Just once, can't we do better than trading away picks for someone else's backup? If Cassel's performance thus far is indicative of things to come this season, then the team needs to do whatever it takes to land one of the first-round QBs in next year's draft.\r\n\r\n

Is there really turmoil in the locker room between running backs coach Maurice Carthon and Jamaal Charles?\r\n\r\n

Nick Athan: There's always turmoil in an NFL locker room. The mighty egos of the players and coaches clash every single practice. On game days, there's enough heat in the battle to make the network sensors break.\r\n\r\n

At some point Haley and Charles need to get on the same page.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Let's get real: do you really think Charlie Weis isn't in control of the offense? Do you really think Carthon would even be coaching if it were up to him to determine if Charles or Jones gets the nods on any given play? Generally a series of plays are scripted in any given series, and based on what number is called, certain personnel run onto the field. \r\n\r\n

There is no doubt that Charles isn't happy, but it's all his doing. He's not the same player he was at the end of last season. And until he gets to that point, he's going to play second fiddle to Jones. It may not be right but it's the Haley/Weis way.\r\n\r\n

C.E. Wendler: Charles has spent his entire Kansas City career being a model citizen. When I heard the latest rumor from Kansas City sports radio, that the Chiefs were in danger of \"losing\" Charles over his lack of carries, I was shocked. It seemed out of character. Of course the radio report was hardly factual, or even based on anything Charles himself said. It was just speculation.\r\n\r\n

If there's actually a problem between Carthon and Charles, we'll never hear about it. Todd Haley comes from the Bill Parcells school of player-coach relationships. They're kept completely in house. So, barring a sideline blowup between Charles and Carthon, where is the evidence for such a spat going to come from?\r\n\r\n

Conor Crawford: No matter how many times the coaches or Charles himself wants to deny it, there's gotta be something going on. It would be foolish to think Charles, clearly one of the league's best young running backs, is satisfied with being a backup.\r\n\r\n

While Jones is a great compliment to Charles, I think he's more suited to be a third down back rather than the guy who gets the majority of snaps. The coaches may very well know something about Charles that we don't – say for instance an exchange of words –but we won't know until Charles truly outshines Jones and puts this issue to rest.\r\n\r\n

Michael Ash: Just to cover it for anyone who's not aware, there was a report on local radio this week that Charles – after being swapped out for Thomas Jones during the fourth quarter of the Cleveland game – either became upset or depressed at being pulled from the field, and running backs coach Mo Carthon berated him on the sideline over it.\r\n\r\n

I can't speak to the accuracy of the claim, but no matter who the reporter is, I tend to be wary of any story that only comes from one source. This is particularly true when the story is about something that allegedly took place in full public view on the sideline and allegedly caused players to speak out. If both of those things are true, I'm just not sure how only one source would be talking about it.\r\n\r\n

In the general sense, there seems to be an assumption that Charles is unhappy with his role, which is what gave fuel to the Carthon story. And while that assumption certainly seems valid, there are some things we know about Charles that give me pause.\r\n\r\n

First, there's the way he and Thomas Jones are said to have bonded during the offseason. Then there's the way Charles voluntarily took himself out of the Denver game last season when he was so close to the single game rushing record. Clearly, that's not the sort of thing a guy would do if he's driven by stats or his own personal glory.\r\n\r\n

Perhaps following in the tradition of unique Longhorn running backs like Priest Holmes and Ricky Williams, Charles has always struck me as being a bit different. Perhaps a little more thoughtful or a little more humble than most. So I do tend to wonder if the whole starter issue is as big a deal to him as people assume it is.\r\n","mobileBody":"

It's probably a little bit of both. But you have to blame the receivers – they aren't getting off the line of scrimmage, they aren't taking advantage of one-on-one matchups. They have to be more physical.

If they can do that Sunday, they're going to be open down the field. If the 49ers have a weakness, it's in the secondary. But Cassel does have a hand in it because he's not waiting for receivers to get open. Some plays take longer to develop than others, so he's basically settling for short throws and hoping they turn into long ones. But everyone has a hand it right now.

It's Matt Cassel. At no point in his NFL career has he shown an ability to hit the deep ball, or even throw past 15 yards with any sort of consistency. This was true in New England, where Cassel underthrew and overthrew Randy Moss for 16 games. It was true in Kansas City last year. So far Cassel has held true to form in 2010.

Where quarterbacks are concerned, I don't believe in teaching old dogs new tricks. Judging on the way Charlie Weis has schemed his offense this year, he appears to believe the same thing. The Chiefs have been dinking and dunking their way around the field for six games in 2010, including preseason. They've taken a few shots down the field, but anything past 20 yards has been a complete prayer.

In the first game, the Chiefs battled through slick conditions. The Chargers opted to pass for most of the game, but Kansas City didn't. Then came Cleveland where Cassel did better, but still couldn't shake out of his slump.

Early indications show that Tony Moeaki is one of his favorite targets, mainly because Moeaki's never really gone deep for a ball and rather catches balls just a few yards down the field. Cassel needs to grow more confident in his receivers and take just enough time to get it down to Chambers and Bowe. He can't sit in the pocket all day, but once he gets the ball, he needs to read the routes and connect for a pass.

Weis doesn't seem to be calling many plays that are designed for a deep throw, but Cassel is ultimately the reason for it. While he has made a couple of nice deep passes here and there, it certainly isn't one of his strengths.

The few times we have seen Cassel go deep, he's usually throwing to a receiver that managed to get considerable separation. Cassel rarely hits his man in stride in those situations, so being a few steps behind the defender gives the receivers a chance to adjust to the pass while it's in the air.

If you listen to the radio broadcasts, you've probably heard Len Dawson lament the fact that Chiefs' receivers haven't gotten consistent downfield separation over the first two games. So we end up with a situation where Cassel's lack of ability on the long ball leads to him only going deep when someone is wide open. And guys don't seem to be getting wide open very often. So it leads to Weis not bothering to call those kinds of plays.



I don't think they are holding back. But I do think they'll spend a lot of time in the bye week fine tuning, making adjustments, and they will make some personnel changes. Should Kansas City get past the 49ers, I like the chances that the Chiefs can win one of those two road contests.



Give Weis and Crennel two weeks to prepare for the Colts, and if they treat it like a playoff game, I like their chances. You can run up and down on Indy. As far as Houston, ask me that question again after the Indy game.

I'm not sure what you're expecting the Chiefs to suddenly reveal when they play the Colts and Texans. They're not suddenly going to turn into a downfield passing juggernaut, and we've already seen Matt Cassel running the no huddle extensively. Tony Moeaki is no secret at this point and the Chiefs have tried to get the ball to Dexter McCluster.

We might see the Chiefs open up their screen game soon, or pull out a trick play or two. But other than that, I don't think there are any great surprises coming. The Chiefs aren't really holding back on offense. They're limited by the quarterback.

You can argue that, but once the bye week rolls around, there needs to be some major tweaking. The Colts and Texans aren't teams that they can try and sneak wins away from and Kansas City will need to score at least 20-30 points to stay in those games.

The coaches won't send the right message by limiting their offense because they need to pull out all the stops. The defense and opponent's silly penalties will only carry the Chiefs so far to victory. What puzzles me so far is that the team hasn't tried or even been successful with wildcat formations, something they were clearly expected to start with the acquisition of Jones and drafting of McCluster.

No, I don't believe for a minute that they've been purposely holding back. Maybe if the running game, defense, and special teams were letting us build up 20-point leads, we could fantasize that the passing offense hasn't been too flashy because it didn't need to be.

But the Chiefs have been in two dogfights – they needed every last yard they could muster in both of their first two games. There's no doubt they'll have to ramp things up offensively if they want to be competitive with high-scoring teams like the Colts or Texans. But that's a long way from the idea that they're purposely holding back.

I feel relatively safe in saying that Haley didn't punt the ball back to the Chargers in the final minutes of the Monday night game and go \"I know a great play that could prolong our drive here, but I don't want the Colts to see it yet\".



I'm sure the Chiefs have had contact with the Philadelphia Eagles about Kevin Kolb. Now the jury is out on this kid, but he's getting a raw deal in the city of brotherly love. He should not have lost his starting spot to Vick. But they need sell tickets and win games and thus he's getting the NFL equivalent to Grand Theft Auto!



As far as Cassel, he must deliver a no doubt knock out performance Sunday against the 49ers. If the Chiefs want to win this game, it'll be Cassel that leads them.

The 49ers are angry, partially beaten, and fired up to come to Kansas City to beat the Chiefs. So that tells me they're likely going to be very aggressive and Cassel needs to take advantage of that as often as he can.

If not, Croyle or Kolb could line up under center against the Colts.

Cassel won't be benched this season. The Chiefs invested heavily in the offense over the summer, and they already have a lot invested in Cassel, so I'd imagine they'll want to give him every opportunity to prove himself. I'd be shocked if we saw him benched for Croyle.

If Cassel performs poorly, it makes too much sense for the Chiefs not to dump him, based on the money he's owed. At that point, what direction Scott Pioli will go in is anyone's guess. He's hardly predictable.

Cassel will be the quarterback. Period. There's no way the Chiefs will bench a multi-million dollar quarterback in favor of a guy who hasn't won as a starter. I find myself on the Brodie bandwagon every once in a while, but Chiefs fans need to realize that Cassel is this regime's guy, not Brodie Croyle. Croyle is a leftover from Herman Edwards, and while he has a stronger arm than Cassel, he still won't overtake him.

Kevin Kolb, on the other hand, might not be a good fit in Kansas City as well because he plays with a more west coast, high-flying offense in Philadelphia than the more conservative approach that the Chiefs have under Charlie Weis. The best bet for the Chiefs is to wait until the draft or more importantly, just wait until Cassel fully grasps the playbook and makes a name for himself.

Chiefs fans, myself included, find ourselves to be very impatient, but Tom Brady didn't win the Super Bowl over night and all by himself. It was also because of his supporting cast and defense.

The only way I could see Cassel getting benched is if it's later in the season, the Chiefs have a legitimate chance at a playoff spot, and he's a complete disaster during a game. Under those circumstances, maybe they put in Croyle. But even then, it's far from a guarantee.

Kevin Kolb should be a non-issue. Philly isn't going to trade him away and put their entire franchise in the hands of a guy who just got out of prison a year ago. It was only a few months back that Michael Vick's name was connected to a shooting. While he wasn't involved, it showed that he apparently still runs in the kind of circles that could have him back on the front page of the newspaper on any given day. If they trade Kolb and Vick gets in trouble again, where are they?

Frankly, even if Kolb was an option, why should the Chiefs be interested? Just once, can't we do better than trading away picks for someone else's backup? If Cassel's performance thus far is indicative of things to come this season, then the team needs to do whatever it takes to land one of the first-round QBs in next year's draft.



There's always turmoil in an NFL locker room. The mighty egos of the players and coaches clash every single practice. On game days, there's enough heat in the battle to make the network sensors break.



Let's get real: do you really think Charlie Weis isn't in control of the offense? Do you really think Carthon would even be coaching if it were up to him to determine if Charles or Jones gets the nods on any given play? Generally a series of plays are scripted in any given series, and based on what number is called, certain personnel run onto the field.

There is no doubt that Charles isn't happy, but it's all his doing. He's not the same player he was at the end of last season. And until he gets to that point, he's going to play second fiddle to Jones. It may not be right but it's the Haley/Weis way.

Charles has spent his entire Kansas City career being a model citizen. When I heard the latest rumor from Kansas City sports radio, that the Chiefs were in danger of \"losing\" Charles over his lack of carries, I was shocked. It seemed out of character. Of course the radio report was hardly factual, or even based on anything Charles himself said. It was just speculation.

If there's actually a problem between Carthon and Charles, we'll never hear about it. Todd Haley comes from the Bill Parcells school of player-coach relationships. They're kept completely in house. So, barring a sideline blowup between Charles and Carthon, where is the evidence for such a spat going to come from?

No matter how many times the coaches or Charles himself wants to deny it, there's gotta be something going on. It would be foolish to think Charles, clearly one of the league's best young running backs, is satisfied with being a backup.

While Jones is a great compliment to Charles, I think he's more suited to be a third down back rather than the guy who gets the majority of snaps. The coaches may very well know something about Charles that we don't – say for instance an exchange of words –but we won't know until Charles truly outshines Jones and puts this issue to rest.

Just to cover it for anyone who's not aware, there was a report on local radio this week that Charles – after being swapped out for Thomas Jones during the fourth quarter of the Cleveland game – either became upset or depressed at being pulled from the field, and running backs coach Mo Carthon berated him on the sideline over it.

I can't speak to the accuracy of the claim, but no matter who the reporter is, I tend to be wary of any story that only comes from one source. This is particularly true when the story is about something that allegedly took place in full public view on the sideline and allegedly caused players to speak out. If both of those things are true, I'm just not sure how only one source would be talking about it.

In the general sense, there seems to be an assumption that Charles is unhappy with his role, which is what gave fuel to the Carthon story. And while that assumption certainly seems valid, there are some things we know about Charles that give me pause.

First, there's the way he and Thomas Jones are said to have bonded during the offseason. Then there's the way Charles voluntarily took himself out of the Denver game last season when he was so close to the single game rushing record. Clearly, that's not the sort of thing a guy would do if he's driven by stats or his own personal glory.

Perhaps following in the tradition of unique Longhorn running backs like Priest Holmes and Ricky Williams, Charles has always struck me as being a bit different. Perhaps a little more thoughtful or a little more humble than most. So I do tend to wonder if the whole starter issue is as big a deal to him as people assume it is. 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