In short order, the AFC West has become a quarterback division and comparisons to Peyton Manning in Denver, Philip Rivers in San Diego and Carson Palmer in Oakland will be natural and easy.
But a renewed spirit in Chiefs camp also adds pressure to everyone on the roster as Kansas City arguably has the most talent on their roster as anyone in a division that is winnable by any one of the four teams.
Simply put – everyone wants to win!
The truth of the matter is that Chiefs Nation should take a wait and see approach with Cassel.
Limited to nine games in 2011 and injuries - including his own – greatly hampered his ability to live up to a monster 2010 season where high expectations were set.
Two years ago, Cassel was aided by a solid running game. That made him more effective as a starting quarterback. In 2010, the Chiefs ran the ball 555-times for a 4.7-yard per carry average. Last season, essentially without Jamaal Charles for the entire campaign rushed 487-times with an average tote of 3.9-yards.
Running effectively on first down cuts down on passing downs and the pressure of forcing balls into traffic to try and make plays. The inability to have any kind of play-action game cuts the field down for defenses, which again leads to poor decisions knowing that the only way to move the ball was through the passing game.
Under new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, the Chiefs will go "old school". In a pass happy National Football League Kansas City will ground and pound. A revamped offensive line, a healthy (we hope and pray) Jamaal Charles and the addition of depth at running back in Peyton Hillis –who had his best season as a pro in Cleveland under Daboll in 2010 are all reasons to be optimistic about improved play from Cassel this season.
There are however some factors going in to camp that are troubling. Namely no Dwayne Bowe as of right now and how long will it take tight end Tony Moeaki to be healthy and contribute.
Cassel told me in an interview during mini-camp that it takes all 11 guys on offense, and while the competitor in him says he can put a team on his shoulders and win, it's just not realistic.
Many Chiefs fans will roll their eyes and scoff at the comment as passing the buck from his poor 2011 performance. I however take it for what it is – the truth.
Let's all just wait and see.
Dave Barr is a 19-year sports radio veteran who has worked for ESPN, Sporting News Radio and in markets like Cincinnati, Little Rock and Tulsa. Currently Barr is the program director for 1450 The Score in Joplin, Missouri and hosts the A.M. Grind weekday mornings from 6-9am. Want more Dave follow him @Daveabarr on Twitter.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Will Chiefs fans every buy into the fact Cassel is the quarterback of the present and future?
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