Once I find a good comparison for a player, I like to stick with it. For years now, I've been saying that Matt Cassel is Rob Johnson. You know Rob Johnson. He was the starter for the Buffalo Bills for years and was viewed as a guy that could "do it all" because he was mobile and had a strong, accurate arm. However, he kept losing his job to Doug Flutie because he was terrible under pressure and got sacked a hundred times a game.
Matt Cassel doesn't have a Doug Flutie to lose his job to. Good for him, I guess. He also has 2+ years left on his contract and they're not inexpensive (this season is actually the least expensive of that deal). The Chiefs are going to live or die with him as their starting QB, at least in 2012. That's good news for the Chargers, who Cassel has been terrible against.
Cassel has played the Chargers 7 times in his career, once as a Patriot and 6 times as a Chief. The only team that he has a worse QB Rating against is the Detroit Lions, whom he's played just once. Against San Diego, he's completed 56.3% of his passes and averaged 142 passing yards per game. He's thrown 9 interceptions and has lost 2 fumbles against just 6 touchdown passes.
When we look at just the last two years, things have only marginally improved for Matt. He's started 3 games against San Diego since the start of the 2010 season, throwing 3 picks and losing 1 fumble against 4 passing touchdowns. He's averaged 168 passing yards per game and completed 59% of his passes. That's maybe good enough to be a "game manager", but by no means has Cassel looked like a playmaker against the Chargers.
Call me crazy, but I'm a believer in Ryan Mathews in 2012. In his first carry of the preseason, he broke his clavicle. Bad sign. In his first regular season game, he fumbled on the opponents' 5 yard line. Bad sign. I don't care. I still think he's going to be one of the best Running Backs in the league this year. I think he's going back to the Pro Bowl. I think, by the end of this season, Mathews will be the most important player on the San Diego Chargers' offense.
For that to happen, it needs to start this week. Mathews needs to build on the good of last week (76 yards on 15 touches) and eliminate the bad (the fumble). Ryan needs to bring his "A Game" to this important division matchup, the way that LaDainian Tomlinson used to. I think he will.
Here's a nice positive: The San Diego Chargers are getting healthier, specifically Ryan Mathews, Antonio Gates, Antonio Garay and Jared Gaither. At the same time, the Chiefs are very injured.
Those are some real impact players that are missing time for them. If any of these guys miss the game, which is definitely possible, it helps the Chargers in big ways:
- Peyton Hillis
- Kevin Boss
- Glenn Dorsey
- Dwayne Bowe
- Dexter McCluster