The League

Shawn Zobel
Draft Guru

Shawn Zobel

The founder and editor of Draft

Bright Future in KC


When trying to determine whether Matt Cassel's success will translate to Kansas City this season, I believe that three questions should be considered: Who is his new coach?, What supporting cast does he have? and What are his expectations?

In regards to the first question, I wouldn't be worried about coaching. General Manager Scott Pioli is one of the most well respected executives in the league. He signed Todd Haley to be his new head coach, likely knowing that he was planning on acquiring Cassel.

Both Haley and Cassel had success last season with their respective offenses.

In Haley's first full year as the Cardinals offensive coordinator, he took the team's offense to a level that fans had dreamed about when they made Larry Fitzgerald the No. 3 overall pick back in 2004. Their offense was difficult to stop and it was the key reason why the Arizona Cardinals made it to their first Super Bowl. A very smart and creative offensive mind, Haley knows how to take the players that he's given and turn them into superstars.

Coming into the 2008 season, casual fans of the NFL had never heard of Matt Cassel. As Tom Brady went down in the first quarter of the first game of the season, the NFL world watched Cassel pick up where Brady left off in 2007 and lead the New England Patriots to an 11-5 record in what was his first season as a starter since his senior year in high school.

Cassel's instincts and intelligence will go a long way toward making this pairing work. If there are worries involving Haley's ability to develop Cassel, a former seventh round pick, one should look back at Haley's body of work. From 2004-06 he played a key role in the development of Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo, a former undrafted free agent who is now one of the faces of the NFL. I have no doubt that Haley will be able to mold Cassel into the type of player that he wants him to be. If there were any doubts about whether Haley could do that, Pioli would not have acquired Cassel.

In 2009, the Chiefs are considered to be a re-building team. The supporting cast that Cassel has to work with is adequate, but it sure isn't like having Randy Moss split out right and Wes Welker in the slot to the left. Dwayne Bowe will be expected to step up fast while Tony Gonzalez should remain the consistent and reliable threat for Cassel that he's been for his entire career. The upcoming NFL Draft will be key to Kansas City being able to add weapons around their new franchise quarterback.

I'm confident in saying that Matt Cassel won't be a one-year wonder in the NFL. Under the direction of one of the up and coming coaches in the league, I expect to see Cassel thrive in Todd Haley's offensive system. There may be a slight learning curve for Cassel, but I think that the Chiefs could have a bright future ahead.

By Shawn Zobel  |  March 2, 2009; 6:15 AM ET  | Category:  Kansas City Chiefs Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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