Cassel's Status Still Uncertain

Head coach Todd Haley wants us to believe he'll be making the decision on Matt Cassel just moments before kickoff in Baltimore Sunday. Friday he said the decision would go down to the wire and even on gameday, the Chiefs would still be trying to figure it out.

However, other signs point toward Cassel being under center for the first snap of the 2009 season.

"A guy has to practice to have a chance to play," said Haley. "That's my main philosophy. That's what I'm going off of. At that point you evaluate whether you think they are helping you more or hurting you more."

Haley said Cassel has to practice, and the quarterback has practiced every day this week. To what extent, we don't know. The media is only allowed to watch 20 minutes of practice, so we can't conclusively say he's practiced enough to play. There's been some discussion on message boards and talk radio as to whether Haley will free Cassel to play if he's not a full 100 percent. Haley refused to play that numbers game.

"To talk in percentages and those things would be just playing mind games, because none of these guys is 100 percent," he said. "Our job as coaches is to figure out who gives you the best chance to win on any given Sunday. That's what we do through the whole week, and we hope we get it right."

Ask Cassel if he'll be playing Sunday, and you get the feeling that if the decision was up to him, it'd be a no-brainer - he'd be in there. But Cassel knows he's not the final decision maker.

"I think that's why they have a training staff here," he said. "If I wasn't able to go they'd probably hold me back and that's what their job is. As long as I'm able to walk and get out there I'll be ready to go. It's their job to pull me back,"

"I feel fine. I feel mentally I'm right where I should be. Physically I'm getting better each and every day, so as long as I feel right, the coaches make that decision in the end, and we come together and we collaborate and say we're ready to go, I'll be out there on Sunday.

"My knees feel pretty good. I wouldn't be out there if I didn't feel up for the challenge. It's up to the trainers to say whether or not I'm ready to go, and it's up to the coach to make the decision. He's out there watching and evaluating each and every day what we do. Ultimately it will come down to him."

So there you have it. If Cassel isn't on the field Sunday, blame Haley. In that event, the guessing game at quarterback will continue, because Haley said Thursday that if Cassel isn't starting, the coaching staff hasn't decided who will. After watching KC's last preseason game in St. Louis, it appears Brodie Croyle will be the primary backup, but perhaps Haley is keeping Tyler Thigpen in the mix to try and complicate the Ravens' preparation process even further with the worry of a scrambling quarterback.

With loads of uncertainty surrounding the quarterback, the burden of carrying the load for KC's offense will likely fall directly on Larry Johnson's shoulders, and with some more questions in the receiving corps and on the offensive line, it may be that way all season. Johnson is three years removed from a record 416-carry season and hasn't received more than 193 carries since that 2006 campaign. Does Johnson feel like he's ready to be KC's workhorse once again?

"If I can survive through a Todd Haley training camp, I figure I can survive against the season," said Johnson. "We definitely worked hard enough and trained hard enough for me to just keep it going, because we really had a rough training camp. We were in pads every single day it felt like. To be able to go through that and not come out with a scratch, it feels good to go into a season because that's when you have your most fun is when you're going game in and game out just having fun and doing things that you're capable of doing is a lot different from training camp."

"Coaches come and go and change, but there's only one thing that's stayed with Kansas City is our ability to run the football and the ability to put points on the board. I'm confident in that aspect of the game."

"When you're able to run on a football team, it's kind of demoralizing to them, because it feels like you can't stop. You're doing nothing but going backwards and backwards physically. It's good to be able to get that thing going. If we can get that going Sunday, and just keep pushing, and I think if we do that and not make any mistakes we can win this game." Top Stories