Warpaint Roundtable: Is Weis Overthinking?

In this edition of our Roundtable, our crew tackles your questions. Is Charlie Weis going against what's working? And when will Tony Moeaki be a more viable option in the passing game?

Is Charlie Weis getting a little too cute in his play calling? Is he over thinking things? Why does he seem to call so many pass plays on 3rd and short?

Nick Athan: Honestly, since the 49ers game, Weis hasn't been very consistent. I'm still furious over his third down call at Houston to salt the game away. I know Matt Cassel had a great game and that putting the ball in his hands wasn't all that risky. Still, when you're running the ball down the throat of your opponent, you can't tell me Jamaal Charles would not have been able to get you a first down on that play.

Weis needs to have more faith in Jamaal Charles in short yardage situations.
Getty Images



But I know why he's doing it. He wants this team to be adept at both running and passing the ball in that situation. That way, when he faces a team in the postseason on a similar play, the opposing defense isn't going to know for certain what he's going to call. But it's darn frustrating and I wish he'd not think so much in those situations. Let's hope the Texans loss doesn't cost his team home field advantage, or worse, a playoff spot.

Conor Crawford: I'm still pondering this, especially a week after a game where the Chiefs should have surely blown out the Buffalo Bills but rather squeaked by with a 13-10 win in the final seconds of overtime. I think Weis is possibly starting to show that he wants to give Matt Cassel more chances to prove himself. He isn't going to be the type of offensive coordinator who runs a predictable running play on 3rd and short, but will rather give his quarterback the chance to shake his label of mediocrity.

Would it rather be safer and smarter to run on 3rd and short? Absolutely, but Weis is starting to say that he wants Cassel to start to pass and become more comfortable in the backfield, rather than being safe and giving it to Thomas Jones or Jamaal Charles.

C.E. Wendler: The Chiefs are already a run-heavy team. If Charlie calls a pass play in what seems like an odd situation, he's just trying to mix it up. If the Chiefs lean too heavily on the run, especially in obvious running situations, their running game will become less effective

The other part may be that the Chiefs are making a concerted effort to find out exactly what they have in Matt Cassel. By putting more responsibility on him in clutch situations, they'll find out faster if they have the quarterback they need. At least you would hope they would challenge him, anyway.

Josh Scotten: I'm personally not a fan. You are averaging 5.2 yards per attempt on the ground and your passing game is the Chiefs weakest link offensively through 7 games. Lean on your strengths when your back is against the wall, not your weaknesses. That seems simple enough.

I'm inclined to believe this is a product of the "outside the box" mentality Haley has instilled into his coaching staff. To me, it's the same argument over the 4th and shorts. Haley has some stats that are leading him to believe that going against conventional wisdom is the right choice.

Michael Ash: I think Weis is just trying to keep teams off balance. If he calls a run on every short yardage situation, teams are going to catch on, particularly late in the game when those plays are critical.

Ultimately, though, the problem is more execution than playcalling. Would we even be talking about Weis' playcalling after the Buffalo game if, on that late 3rd and 1 play, Cassel hadn't thrown the ball at the feet of a receiver who was standing five yards in front of him? Or if Branden Albert hadn't let a Texan run right past him on the 3rd and short against Houston, resulting in Cassel lofting a poor, hurried pass to Moeaki?

If there's a problem with Weis' decisions, it may be that he has too much confidence in his players' ability to convert those plays. Because it's hard to see how they've actually earned that confidence to this point.

How do you explain the fact that Tony Moeaki didn't catch a pass until overtime against the Bills? The passing game is clearly more dangerous when he's involved. He caught two big passes on the winning drive. Why wouldn't he be a bigger part of the game plan? Shouldn't they be doing more to get him involved?

Nick Athan: Great question. I spoke to a friend of mine who is an NFL scout and we wondered the same thing. The primary reason was the fact that with the injury to Ryan Lilja, Moeaki was a blocking fool the first four quarters of the Buffalo game. And that was honestly the design. In overtime, needing to throw the ball, he found himself wide open a couple of times.

Moeaki needs to block a little less and catch more passes for the Chiefs offense to take another step forward.
Getty Images



In the weeks ahead, you'll see him get more involved in the passing game. But he's such an accomplished blocker. It's quite remarkable when you consider how he slid to the end of the third round. The Chiefs have a gem in Moeaki and they probably are just as surprised that he's blossomed so quickly in his rookie season. And like some of their other young players, they just need to make sure that they aren't overloading his duties.

Conor Crawford: I remember Nick and I talking to each other in the press box during the entire game wondering the same thing. Moeaki is clearly the most accessible threat for Cassel to utilize because he's clearly not deep down the field like Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers are. The thing is, Cassel doesn't have a strong arm in order to get to Bowe and Chambers, so the logical choice in the short passing game would be Moeaki or even Dexter McCluster in a screen pass.

Moeaki has proven to be Cassel's easiest target, and I can't possibly explain the reason why Moeaki was thrown to just three times – all three coming late in the game or in overtime against Buffalo – because he definitely should have gotten at least one pass come towards his way in regulation. Hopefully he won't have to wait until the fourth quarter to be called upon, but regardless, Moeaki is definitely the most reliable receiving threat for Cassel here in 2010.

C.E. Wendler: Tony Moeaki is always going to be a part of the route progressions, for the most part, I would imagine. I wouldn't focus so much on Moeaki as I would all of the Chiefs' receivers. Notice that Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers combined for 16 yards.

What's the common denominator? Matt Cassel. I think Cassel's lousy game against Buffalo had more to do with Moeaki not showing up until overtime than anything else.

Josh Scotten: Patience. Patience. This kid is still a rookie, you've got to give him some time to soak it all in. At this point in his career you just can't build a game plan around Moeaki. He's not Tony Gonzalez yet.

But it's not as if he's not getting the ball. Moeaki is leading the team in catches and is only behind Bowe in receiving yardage. They simply don't pass that much and it's by design. The Chiefs are 31st in the NFL in passes attempted. This coaching staff values possessions more than anything, and they are not going to ask the rookies to do more than they currently are.

Michael Ash: There's no real mystery to why Moeaki was absent from the passing game. For four quarters, the Chiefs' passing attack consisted of little more than Cassel dumping the ball off to Jamaal Charles. He attempted a few longer passes – the failed TD pass to Bowe, a deflected pass to Chambers – but none of them went anywhere.

It wasn't just Moeaki – other than Bowe's one-yard TD catch, none of the Chiefs' receivers did anything. There simply wasn't any sort of downfield passing game operating on Sunday, which is fairly alarming against the league's worst defense. In fact, going into the game, the Bills were particularly bad at covering tight ends, which only makes the whole Moeaki thing worse.

On the final drive, when Cassel knew he had to go downfield in a hurry, he found Moeaki for two big gains. Those plays didn't suddenly come open. They were probably there all game long.

Why are so many people hard on Matt Cassel? Cut him some slack. He's led this team to 5 wins!

Nick Athan: I don't get it and I do. Listen, fans just haven't warmed to Cassel. It really stems from his play a year ago, though it wasn't his fault – the cast around him wasn't all that terrific. The offensive line was bad, the receivers were rotated in and off the roster every week, and they couldn't run the ball.

Cassel might be damned if he does and dammed if doesn't within the Chiefs fan base.
Getty Images



But that was then and this is now. His passer rating is nearing the century mark. He's thrown ten touchdowns and only three interceptions, two of them were tipped balls, and he's managed the offense to the maximum of his abilities. Fans need to embrace Cassel and if – or should I say when – he leads them to the playoffs, then maybe everyone will give him the credit he clearly deserves.

Conor Crawford: I'm sorry to tell you, but Cassel hasn't exactly led this team to five wins. If you ask me, that first game against San Diego was mainly because of the special teams and defense, with that final goal line stand and also Dexter McCluster's touchdown early in the game putting the game out of the Chargers' reach.

Also, the game against Cleveland was another defensive showing. Brandon Flowers recorded a "pick six" which definitely turned the game around for the Chiefs, who were struggling against the lowly Browns. The only victory where I can argue where Cassel definitely contributed to was the win against San Francisco. He tossed three touchdowns and a season-high 250 yards passing.

That game could have been rivaled if the Chiefs were to pull away from Houston with a victory, but that wasn't the case. I thought the game against the Texans was his best showing, but this question asks about his victories, not his near-victories. By far, his drive against the Buffalo Bills late in overtime has thus far defined how much potential he has in leading the team in tight situations, but still, a game like against San Diego where he throws for only 68 yards doesn't help his case. He still has much to prove, and with a 5-2 record, that's plenty to start a reputation on.

C.E. Wendler: People are hard on Matt Cassel because they want the Chiefs to win a championship. Right now, Cassel has shown absolutely nothing that would lead anyone to believe he can do that.

It's great that the Chiefs are 5-2 and Cassel has limited his mistakes. But that won't cut it in the playoffs. He has to be a playmaker.

Josh Scotten: Cassel appeared to be on his way to being the starting bench warmer through the first three weeks, but he has really stepped up his game as of late.

There are two issues, in my opinion, that are keeping the Chiefs Nation from jumping aboard the Cassel train. First, this guy was given a big contract, which brings with it big expectations. As unfair as it may be, Cassel is going to continue to hear the ire from the fans until he can play up to those expectations.

Second, this coaching staff is keeping Cassel handcuffed. The math Haley is using to justify his aggressive approach on fourth downs only works if turnovers are not a factor. In turn, the offensive staff minimizes risk by avoiding the pass and going with the safe play. As long as Haley sticks with this philosophy, Cassel is going to be shackled.

Michael Ash: Why are people hard on Cassel? Well, he's not particularly accurate throwing the ball. He's not a playmaker. His improvement from last season has been minimal in some areas, non-existent in others. He does nothing to make the players around him better. We never know which version of him – Bad Matt or OK Matt – we'll see from week to week.

He never seems to acknowledge any of his deficiencies. He's only played particularly well in two of the Chiefs' seven games. At his absolute best, he appears to be little more than a game manager. He hasn't shown a single thing that would suggest he could ever put the team on his shoulders and carry them to a victory.

And he has a huge contract that only exacerbates all of the above, because when someone is paid like a good quarterback, people expect that person to play like one.

Are those enough reasons? Because I could keep going.

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\r\nIs Charlie Weis getting a little too cute in his play calling? Is he over thinking things? Why does he seem to call so many pass plays on 3rd and short?\r\n\r\n

Nick Athan: Honestly, since the 49ers game, Weis hasn't been very consistent. I'm still furious over his third down call at Houston to salt the game away. I know Matt Cassel had a great game and that putting the ball in his hands wasn't all that risky. Still, when you're running the ball down the throat of your opponent, you can't tell me Jamaal Charles would not have been able to get you a first down on that play.\r\n\r\n

Weis needs to have more faith in Jamaal Charles in short yardage situations.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n\r\n

But I know why he's doing it. He wants this team to be adept at both running and passing the ball in that situation. That way, when he faces a team in the postseason on a similar play, the opposing defense isn't going to know for certain what he's going to call. But it's darn frustrating and I wish he'd not think so much in those situations. Let's hope the Texans loss doesn't cost his team home field advantage, or worse, a playoff spot.\r\n\r\n

Conor Crawford: I'm still pondering this, especially a week after a game where the Chiefs should have surely blown out the Buffalo Bills but rather squeaked by with a 13-10 win in the final seconds of overtime. I think Weis is possibly starting to show that he wants to give Matt Cassel more chances to prove himself. He isn't going to be the type of offensive coordinator who runs a predictable running play on 3rd and short, but will rather give his quarterback the chance to shake his label of mediocrity.\r\n\r\n

Would it rather be safer and smarter to run on 3rd and short? Absolutely, but Weis is starting to say that he wants Cassel to start to pass and become more comfortable in the backfield, rather than being safe and giving it to Thomas Jones or Jamaal Charles.\r\n\r\n

C.E. Wendler: The Chiefs are already a run-heavy team. If Charlie calls a pass play in what seems like an odd situation, he's just trying to mix it up. If the Chiefs lean too heavily on the run, especially in obvious running situations, their running game will become less effective\r\n\r\n

The other part may be that the Chiefs are making a concerted effort to find out exactly what they have in Matt Cassel. By putting more responsibility on him in clutch situations, they'll find out faster if they have the quarterback they need. At least you would hope they would challenge him, anyway.\r\n\r\n

Josh Scotten: I'm personally not a fan. You are averaging 5.2 yards per attempt on the ground and your passing game is the Chiefs weakest link offensively through 7 games. Lean on your strengths when your back is against the wall, not your weaknesses. That seems simple enough. \r\n\r\n

I'm inclined to believe this is a product of the \"outside the box\" mentality Haley has instilled into his coaching staff. To me, it's the same argument over the 4th and shorts. Haley has some stats that are leading him to believe that going against conventional wisdom is the right choice. \r\n\r\n

Michael Ash: I think Weis is just trying to keep teams off balance. If he calls a run on every short yardage situation, teams are going to catch on, particularly late in the game when those plays are critical.\r\n\r\n

Ultimately, though, the problem is more execution than playcalling. Would we even be talking about Weis' playcalling after the Buffalo game if, on that late 3rd and 1 play, Cassel hadn't thrown the ball at the feet of a receiver who was standing five yards in front of him? Or if Branden Albert hadn't let a Texan run right past him on the 3rd and short against Houston, resulting in Cassel lofting a poor, hurried pass to Moeaki?\r\n\r\n

If there's a problem with Weis' decisions, it may be that he has too much confidence in his players' ability to convert those plays. Because it's hard to see how they've actually earned that confidence to this point.\r\n\r\n

How do you explain the fact that Tony Moeaki didn't catch a pass until overtime against the Bills? The passing game is clearly more dangerous when he's involved. He caught two big passes on the winning drive. Why wouldn't he be a bigger part of the game plan? Shouldn't they be doing more to get him involved? \r\n\r\n

Nick Athan: Great question. I spoke to a friend of mine who is an NFL scout and we wondered the same thing. The primary reason was the fact that with the injury to Ryan Lilja, Moeaki was a blocking fool the first four quarters of the Buffalo game. And that was honestly the design. In overtime, needing to throw the ball, he found himself wide open a couple of times. \r\n\r\n

Moeaki needs to block a little less and catch more passes for the Chiefs offense to take another step forward.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n

In the weeks ahead, you'll see him get more involved in the passing game. But he's such an accomplished blocker. It's quite remarkable when you consider how he slid to the end of the third round. The Chiefs have a gem in Moeaki and they probably are just as surprised that he's blossomed so quickly in his rookie season. And like some of their other young players, they just need to make sure that they aren't overloading his duties.\r\n\r\n

Conor Crawford: I remember Nick and I talking to each other in the press box during the entire game wondering the same thing. Moeaki is clearly the most accessible threat for Cassel to utilize because he's clearly not deep down the field like Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers are. The thing is, Cassel doesn't have a strong arm in order to get to Bowe and Chambers, so the logical choice in the short passing game would be Moeaki or even Dexter McCluster in a screen pass.\r\n\r\n

Moeaki has proven to be Cassel's easiest target, and I can't possibly explain the reason why Moeaki was thrown to just three times – all three coming late in the game or in overtime against Buffalo – because he definitely should have gotten at least one pass come towards his way in regulation. Hopefully he won't have to wait until the fourth quarter to be called upon, but regardless, Moeaki is definitely the most reliable receiving threat for Cassel here in 2010.\r\n\r\n

C.E. Wendler: Tony Moeaki is always going to be a part of the route progressions, for the most part, I would imagine. I wouldn't focus so much on Moeaki as I would all of the Chiefs' receivers. Notice that Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers combined for 16 yards.\r\n\r\n

What's the common denominator? Matt Cassel. I think Cassel's lousy game against Buffalo had more to do with Moeaki not showing up until overtime than anything else.\r\n\r\n

Josh Scotten: Patience. Patience. This kid is still a rookie, you've got to give him some time to soak it all in. At this point in his career you just can't build a game plan around Moeaki. He's not Tony Gonzalez yet. \r\n\r\n

But it's not as if he's not getting the ball. Moeaki is leading the team in catches and is only behind Bowe in receiving yardage. They simply don't pass that much and it's by design. The Chiefs are 31st in the NFL in passes attempted. This coaching staff values possessions more than anything, and they are not going to ask the rookies to do more than they currently are. \r\n\r\n

Michael Ash: There's no real mystery to why Moeaki was absent from the passing game. For four quarters, the Chiefs' passing attack consisted of little more than Cassel dumping the ball off to Jamaal Charles. He attempted a few longer passes – the failed TD pass to Bowe, a deflected pass to Chambers – but none of them went anywhere.\r\n\r\n

It wasn't just Moeaki – other than Bowe's one-yard TD catch, none of the Chiefs' receivers did anything. There simply wasn't any sort of downfield passing game operating on Sunday, which is fairly alarming against the league's worst defense. In fact, going into the game, the Bills were particularly bad at covering tight ends, which only makes the whole Moeaki thing worse.\r\n\r\n

On the final drive, when Cassel knew he had to go downfield in a hurry, he found Moeaki for two big gains. Those plays didn't suddenly come open. They were probably there all game long.\r\n\r\n

Why are so many people hard on Matt Cassel? Cut him some slack. He's led this team to 5 wins!\r\n\r\n

Nick Athan: I don't get it and I do. Listen, fans just haven't warmed to Cassel. It really stems from his play a year ago, though it wasn't his fault – the cast around him wasn't all that terrific. The offensive line was bad, the receivers were rotated in and off the roster every week, and they couldn't run the ball.\r\n\r\n

Cassel might be damned if he does and dammed if doesn't within the Chiefs fan base.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n\r\n

But that was then and this is now. His passer rating is nearing the century mark. He's thrown ten touchdowns and only three interceptions, two of them were tipped balls, and he's managed the offense to the maximum of his abilities. Fans need to embrace Cassel and if – or should I say when – he leads them to the playoffs, then maybe everyone will give him the credit he clearly deserves. \r\n\r\n

Conor Crawford: I'm sorry to tell you, but Cassel hasn't exactly led this team to five wins. If you ask me, that first game against San Diego was mainly because of the special teams and defense, with that final goal line stand and also Dexter McCluster's touchdown early in the game putting the game out of the Chargers' reach.\r\n\r\n

Also, the game against Cleveland was another defensive showing. Brandon Flowers recorded a \"pick six\" which definitely turned the game around for the Chiefs, who were struggling against the lowly Browns. The only victory where I can argue where Cassel definitely contributed to was the win against San Francisco. He tossed three touchdowns and a season-high 250 yards passing.\r\n\r\n

That game could have been rivaled if the Chiefs were to pull away from Houston with a victory, but that wasn't the case. I thought the game against the Texans was his best showing, but this question asks about his victories, not his near-victories. By far, his drive against the Buffalo Bills late in overtime has thus far defined how much potential he has in leading the team in tight situations, but still, a game like against San Diego where he throws for only 68 yards doesn't help his case. He still has much to prove, and with a 5-2 record, that's plenty to start a reputation on.\r\n\r\n

C.E. Wendler: People are hard on Matt Cassel because they want the Chiefs to win a championship. Right now, Cassel has shown absolutely nothing that would lead anyone to believe he can do that.\r\n\r\n

It's great that the Chiefs are 5-2 and Cassel has limited his mistakes. But that won't cut it in the playoffs. He has to be a playmaker.\r\n\r\n

Josh Scotten: Cassel appeared to be on his way to being the starting bench warmer through the first three weeks, but he has really stepped up his game as of late.\r\n\r\n

There are two issues, in my opinion, that are keeping the Chiefs Nation from jumping aboard the Cassel train. First, this guy was given a big contract, which brings with it big expectations. As unfair as it may be, Cassel is going to continue to hear the ire from the fans until he can play up to those expectations.\r\n\r\n

Second, this coaching staff is keeping Cassel handcuffed. The math Haley is using to justify his aggressive approach on fourth downs only works if turnovers are not a factor. In turn, the offensive staff minimizes risk by avoiding the pass and going with the safe play. As long as Haley sticks with this philosophy, Cassel is going to be shackled.\r\n\r\n

Michael Ash: Why are people hard on Cassel? Well, he's not particularly accurate throwing the ball. He's not a playmaker. His improvement from last season has been minimal in some areas, non-existent in others. He does nothing to make the players around him better. We never know which version of him – Bad Matt or OK Matt – we'll see from week to week.\r\n\r\n

He never seems to acknowledge any of his deficiencies. He's only played particularly well in two of the Chiefs' seven games. At his absolute best, he appears to be little more than a game manager. He hasn't shown a single thing that would suggest he could ever put the team on his shoulders and carry them to a victory.\r\n\r\n

And he has a huge contract that only exacerbates all of the above, because when someone is paid like a good quarterback, people expect that person to play like one.\r\n \r\n

Are those enough reasons? Because I could keep going.\r\n","mobileBody":"

Honestly, since the 49ers game, Weis hasn't been very consistent. I'm still furious over his third down call at Houston to salt the game away. I know Matt Cassel had a great game and that putting the ball in his hands wasn't all that risky. Still, when you're running the ball down the throat of your opponent, you can't tell me Jamaal Charles would not have been able to get you a first down on that play.



But I know why he's doing it. He wants this team to be adept at both running and passing the ball in that situation. That way, when he faces a team in the postseason on a similar play, the opposing defense isn't going to know for certain what he's going to call. But it's darn frustrating and I wish he'd not think so much in those situations. Let's hope the Texans loss doesn't cost his team home field advantage, or worse, a playoff spot.

I'm still pondering this, especially a week after a game where the Chiefs should have surely blown out the Buffalo Bills but rather squeaked by with a 13-10 win in the final seconds of overtime. I think Weis is possibly starting to show that he wants to give Matt Cassel more chances to prove himself. He isn't going to be the type of offensive coordinator who runs a predictable running play on 3rd and short, but will rather give his quarterback the chance to shake his label of mediocrity.

Would it rather be safer and smarter to run on 3rd and short? Absolutely, but Weis is starting to say that he wants Cassel to start to pass and become more comfortable in the backfield, rather than being safe and giving it to Thomas Jones or Jamaal Charles.

C.E. Wendler: The Chiefs are already a run-heavy team. If Charlie calls a pass play in what seems like an odd situation, he's just trying to mix it up. If the Chiefs lean too heavily on the run, especially in obvious running situations, their running game will become less effective

The other part may be that the Chiefs are making a concerted effort to find out exactly what they have in Matt Cassel. By putting more responsibility on him in clutch situations, they'll find out faster if they have the quarterback they need. At least you would hope they would challenge him, anyway.

I'm personally not a fan. You are averaging 5.2 yards per attempt on the ground and your passing game is the Chiefs weakest link offensively through 7 games. Lean on your strengths when your back is against the wall, not your weaknesses. That seems simple enough.

I'm inclined to believe this is a product of the \"outside the box\" mentality Haley has instilled into his coaching staff. To me, it's the same argument over the 4th and shorts. Haley has some stats that are leading him to believe that going against conventional wisdom is the right choice.

I think Weis is just trying to keep teams off balance. If he calls a run on every short yardage situation, teams are going to catch on, particularly late in the game when those plays are critical.

Ultimately, though, the problem is more execution than playcalling. Would we even be talking about Weis' playcalling after the Buffalo game if, on that late 3rd and 1 play, Cassel hadn't thrown the ball at the feet of a receiver who was standing five yards in front of him? Or if Branden Albert hadn't let a Texan run right past him on the 3rd and short against Houston, resulting in Cassel lofting a poor, hurried pass to Moeaki?

If there's a problem with Weis' decisions, it may be that he has too much confidence in his players' ability to convert those plays. Because it's hard to see how they've actually earned that confidence to this point.



Great question. I spoke to a friend of mine who is an NFL scout and we wondered the same thing. The primary reason was the fact that with the injury to Ryan Lilja, Moeaki was a blocking fool the first four quarters of the Buffalo game. And that was honestly the design. In overtime, needing to throw the ball, he found himself wide open a couple of times.



In the weeks ahead, you'll see him get more involved in the passing game. But he's such an accomplished blocker. It's quite remarkable when you consider how he slid to the end of the third round. The Chiefs have a gem in Moeaki and they probably are just as surprised that he's blossomed so quickly in his rookie season. And like some of their other young players, they just need to make sure that they aren't overloading his duties.

I remember Nick and I talking to each other in the press box during the entire game wondering the same thing. Moeaki is clearly the most accessible threat for Cassel to utilize because he's clearly not deep down the field like Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers are. The thing is, Cassel doesn't have a strong arm in order to get to Bowe and Chambers, so the logical choice in the short passing game would be Moeaki or even Dexter McCluster in a screen pass.

Moeaki has proven to be Cassel's easiest target, and I can't possibly explain the reason why Moeaki was thrown to just three times – all three coming late in the game or in overtime against Buffalo – because he definitely should have gotten at least one pass come towards his way in regulation. Hopefully he won't have to wait until the fourth quarter to be called upon, but regardless, Moeaki is definitely the most reliable receiving threat for Cassel here in 2010.

Tony Moeaki is always going to be a part of the route progressions, for the most part, I would imagine. I wouldn't focus so much on Moeaki as I would all of the Chiefs' receivers. Notice that Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers combined for 16 yards.

What's the common denominator? Matt Cassel. I think Cassel's lousy game against Buffalo had more to do with Moeaki not showing up until overtime than anything else.

Patience. Patience. This kid is still a rookie, you've got to give him some time to soak it all in. At this point in his career you just can't build a game plan around Moeaki. He's not Tony Gonzalez yet.

But it's not as if he's not getting the ball. Moeaki is leading the team in catches and is only behind Bowe in receiving yardage. They simply don't pass that much and it's by design. The Chiefs are 31st in the NFL in passes attempted. This coaching staff values possessions more than anything, and they are not going to ask the rookies to do more than they currently are.

There's no real mystery to why Moeaki was absent from the passing game. For four quarters, the Chiefs' passing attack consisted of little more than Cassel dumping the ball off to Jamaal Charles. He attempted a few longer passes – the failed TD pass to Bowe, a deflected pass to Chambers – but none of them went anywhere.

It wasn't just Moeaki – other than Bowe's one-yard TD catch, none of the Chiefs' receivers did anything. There simply wasn't any sort of downfield passing game operating on Sunday, which is fairly alarming against the league's worst defense. In fact, going into the game, the Bills were particularly bad at covering tight ends, which only makes the whole Moeaki thing worse.

On the final drive, when Cassel knew he had to go downfield in a hurry, he found Moeaki for two big gains. Those plays didn't suddenly come open. They were probably there all game long.



I don't get it and I do. Listen, fans just haven't warmed to Cassel. It really stems from his play a year ago, though it wasn't his fault – the cast around him wasn't all that terrific. The offensive line was bad, the receivers were rotated in and off the roster every week, and they couldn't run the ball.



But that was then and this is now. His passer rating is nearing the century mark. He's thrown ten touchdowns and only three interceptions, two of them were tipped balls, and he's managed the offense to the maximum of his abilities. Fans need to embrace Cassel and if – or should I say when – he leads them to the playoffs, then maybe everyone will give him the credit he clearly deserves.

I'm sorry to tell you, but Cassel hasn't exactly led this team to five wins. If you ask me, that first game against San Diego was mainly because of the special teams and defense, with that final goal line stand and also Dexter McCluster's touchdown early in the game putting the game out of the Chargers' reach.

Also, the game against Cleveland was another defensive showing. Brandon Flowers recorded a \"pick six\" which definitely turned the game around for the Chiefs, who were struggling against the lowly Browns. The only victory where I can argue where Cassel definitely contributed to was the win against San Francisco. He tossed three touchdowns and a season-high 250 yards passing.

That game could have been rivaled if the Chiefs were to pull away from Houston with a victory, but that wasn't the case. I thought the game against the Texans was his best showing, but this question asks about his victories, not his near-victories. By far, his drive against the Buffalo Bills late in overtime has thus far defined how much potential he has in leading the team in tight situations, but still, a game like against San Diego where he throws for only 68 yards doesn't help his case. He still has much to prove, and with a 5-2 record, that's plenty to start a reputation on.

People are hard on Matt Cassel because they want the Chiefs to win a championship. Right now, Cassel has shown absolutely nothing that would lead anyone to believe he can do that.

It's great that the Chiefs are 5-2 and Cassel has limited his mistakes. But that won't cut it in the playoffs. He has to be a playmaker.

Cassel appeared to be on his way to being the starting bench warmer through the first three weeks, but he has really stepped up his game as of late.

There are two issues, in my opinion, that are keeping the Chiefs Nation from jumping aboard the Cassel train. First, this guy was given a big contract, which brings with it big expectations. As unfair as it may be, Cassel is going to continue to hear the ire from the fans until he can play up to those expectations.

Second, this coaching staff is keeping Cassel handcuffed. The math Haley is using to justify his aggressive approach on fourth downs only works if turnovers are not a factor. In turn, the offensive staff minimizes risk by avoiding the pass and going with the safe play. As long as Haley sticks with this philosophy, Cassel is going to be shackled.

Why are people hard on Cassel? Well, he's not particularly accurate throwing the ball. He's not a playmaker. His improvement from last season has been minimal in some areas, non-existent in others. He does nothing to make the players around him better. We never know which version of him – Bad Matt or OK Matt – we'll see from week to week.

He never seems to acknowledge any of his deficiencies. He's only played particularly well in two of the Chiefs' seven games. At his absolute best, he appears to be little more than a game manager. He hasn't shown a single thing that would suggest he could ever put the team on his shoulders and carry them to a victory.

And he has a huge contract that only exacerbates all of the above, because when someone is paid like a good quarterback, people expect that person to play like one.

Are those enough reasons? Because I could keep going. 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