Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tradition Tuesday: We're (Maybe Just This Once) Goin' Joe Morgan On Yous

The rough focus of this blog is the rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos, and Tradition Tuesday is our weekly state-of-the-rivalry address. Most of the time, it's a pretty decent offering. Today is not one of those times. So the choice is yours: Click ahead and risk a massive reading disappointment, or just keep navigating the Web, and pretend like you were never even here.

We're still somewhat saddened by the extended hiatus currently underway by the masterminds over at Fire Joe Morgan. So today, we've decided to ruin the very essence of what they stood for honor them. Or at least attempt to.

About this time last week, folks were up in arms over the (Matt) Cassel-to-KC trade the ultimately revealed that Mosh McDanahan was interested in shipping Jay Cutler off to Wyoming in exchange for a can of Pringle's and some grape drink. This triangulation prompted many articles, posts, conversations, and speculations to flourish. Some of which were hybrids, or even tribrids. One such example was the chat that took place between ESPN's Bill Williamson, and whoever the hell this Tim Graham character is. Have a look:

Why would McDaniels prefer Cassel over Cutler?

Tim Graham: Let's go ahead and cut to the chase, Bill. Cutler is one of the worst decision-makers in the NFL. He might be the league's most reckless starter now that Brett Favre has retired. McDaniels was raised within the Patriots organization, which places a premium on efficiency and accountability. McDaniels groomed Cassel from a player who hadn't started since high school into one of the NFL's more trustworthy passers. Cassel had a 2.1 interception percentage compared to Cutler's 2.9, but he rarely killed a drive with a bone-headed play.

Good points, Timmy. He is in fact reckless, and you didn't even mention the reckless abandon with which he throws bombs to the often-wide-open media. What's more, I'm not sure that we can yet say that Favre has officially retired. Can we? Regarding the interception percentages, let's not forget that neither club had much in the way of noteworthy running games last year, so they were both pretty pass-happy.

Bill Williamson: Tim, there is no doubt about it. Cutler makes his share of mistakes. This guy is from the Brett Favre school of gun-slinging. He is fearless. Cutler has never seen a route he doesn't like. Often, it works in his favor; sometimes it doesn't. He does need to cut down on his interceptions. But the thing that teammates like so much about Cutler is that he tries to make the big play. And he is capable. Cutler has the ability to carry a team on his back. Cassel, again, is a system guy. In the fourth quarter, I'd take Cutler's arm and gumption any day.

Hmm. I'm gonna go ahead and chalk that up as a pile-of-crap paragraph. You've only re-stated the Favreness, and thrown in some tired phraseology behind it. Sure. Cutler can carry the team on his back. As can Marmalard. In fact, I'm pretty sure that both of them are comfortable and adept with piles of sweaty men chained to their shoulders. Gumption? Gumption? I think the most familiar portion of the definition of "gumption" relates to common sense. I'm not certain that, at this point, I'd award Mr. Cutler with any verbal trophies of that nature.

TG: Cassel is no slouch late in games. Let's not forget that amazing play at the end of regulation in Week 11. With eight seconds left and the Patriots down by seven points from the New York Jets' 16-yard line, Cassel rolled right and threw a pin-point pass to Randy Moss along the sideline to send the game into overtime. It was a gutsy throw. But he never was tougher than in Week 15. A few days after his father passed away and before the funeral, Cassel threw for four touchdowns against the Raiders. Nobody can question the guy's heart.

Zzzzzzzzzzzz. Pretty sure Favre and many others before him had huge games immediately after giant personal-life crises. Those were the Jets and the Raiders, bro. And Randy Moss is his number one. Let's hold off on the man-showers until Mr. Cassel does that with a college-rank offensive line, a much more inferior receiving crew, and, most importantly, a team that is being handed down by the one and only Herman Edwards.

BW: Good point, Tim. Cassel has been impressive in a short period of time. Cutler has his share of fourth-quarter magic as well. I think it all comes down to individual talent. Cutler possesses more talent than Cassel. There is a greater chance for Cutler to make a play by himself than Cassel. I think Cutler can freelance a little bit more, and he has the ability to wait out a play more because of his arm. If a play breaks down, Cutler can still make the best out of it because of his arm, field intelligence and scrambling ability.

Who has the better talent and upside?

Jesus. What. Ever. Have a look at the Jay Cutler highlight reel of said "fourth-quarter magic."

BW: Tim, this is a no-brainer for several reasons. Cutler is younger. Cutler has 37 games of NFL experience. Cassel has 15-plus games of experience. Cutler has a rocket arm. Cassel relies on his receivers getting yards after the catch. Cutler is considered a franchise quarterback. Cassel is a system quarterback who was considered a backup until last September. Ask the other NFL teams who they'd rather have as their quarterback and in all likelihood, all of the teams that don't subscribe to the "Patriot Way" would pick Cutler. This is no knock on Cassel; he did a fine job in New England as Tom Brady's injury replacement, and he should be a good fit with former Patriot executive Scott Pioli in Kansas City. But Cutler is a player you can build a team around. Cassel is a player who fits a specific system.

Forgive me while I vomit. Cassel relies on his receivers getting yards after the catch? Is there an NFL quarterback that doesn't? Cutler's a franchise quarterback? Yeah. We know. Cassel was a backup until last September? Thank you, Captain Obvious. Man. Then you went and said the P-W phrase. Tisk. Tisk. You build a team around Cutler, but you put Cassel in a system. Okay. Let's play to win the game while we're at it.

Matt Cassel
#16 QB
Kansas City Chiefs

2008 STATS
516 327 3,474 21 11 89.4

TG: Cassel was a backup until September because he played behind two Heisman Trophy winners and a future Hall of Famer. That he was able to step in after so many years of holding a clipboard says an awful lot about the kind of ability he has. I'm not ready to classify Cassel a system quarterback. We do know that he thrived in the Patriots' system, but that doesn't mean he's limited to that. Cassel doesn't possess Cutler's rocket arm, but he can throw it. He also is a dangerous runner.

Now we're getting somewhere. I think.

BW: Cutler also can run when he has to. He is a gamer who has a good field presence. If you take away their offenses and rebuild the other 10 players around them, I think Cutler's offense would succeed faster. Cassel seems to rely on the players around him. Cutler is a type of player who makes his teammates better.

Gamer. Good field presence. Sorry, but BW's homerisms are bleeding through now.

TG: I get where you're coming from, Bill. Cutler is a franchise quarterback. I realize he was selected 11th overall and Cassel was lucky to get drafted at all. But I would be interested to see how many personnel executives would value Cassel's rare combination of age and potential if they could draft him today. This isn't a Chris Weinke situation, where you have an older quarterback with little experience. Cassel has been in the NFL for four years, albeit as a backup, but he has been working with elite teammates and has proven he can compete against elite opposition. He has the wisdom of years, but at the same time, he still might have untapped potential.

When it comes to being a winner, who has the edge?

Jay Cutler
#6 QB
Denver Broncos

2008 STATS
616 384 4,457 25 18 86.0

TG: I think we can agree that both quarterbacks have had incredible supporting casts. Cassel had Moss, Wes Welker and a deep backfield. Cutler has Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Brandon Stokley and Tony Scheffler. They both have benefited from legendary coaches. But maybe the bottom line is Cassel won 11 games and the Patriots got better as the season wore on. They should have appeared in the playoffs. With Cutler at the controls, the Broncos fell apart.

Jackpot. Count it.

BW: Did you pay attention to that Denver defense, Tim? San Diego is still scoring points from that last game. Yes, Denver fell apart as the season wore on, but don't blame the quarterback. He didn't make all the right moves, but he had incredible pressure on him. Cutler virtually had to score every time the ball got into his hands. The defense was a liability all season, and it was incredibly porous at the end of the season, when it allowed a combined 112 points in the final three games. Denver blew a three-game lead with three games to go. It all culminated with that 52-point beauty at San Diego in the season-finale (sic) in a winner-takes-the-division game. Without Cutler, Denver would have won four or five games.

Hate to keep picking on B Dubs here, but how is a defense a liability all season, but only incredibly porous at the end?

TG: Did you see the Patriots' offensive line? Cutler was sacked only 11 times. Cassel got dumped 47 times. That Cassel never went into shellshock is a miracle. But you're right: The Patriots had a defense that helped keep games manageable for Cassel. I guess the last thing I will say in Cassel's defense is that the guy is a survivor. He came to work every day and just waited for his chance to be an NFL starter. Now he finally gets a team to call his own. Cutler, on the other hand, has a team and he already wants out. I guess I find Cassel to have a cooler head inside his Riddell.

Riddell me this: How can a stoned, double-chinned media venter have a cool head at all?

BW: Tim, I can't argue with the first part of your response, so I will take my shots at the last part. First, Cutler didn't want out until McDaniels wanted him out. Second, Cutler is as cool as they come. He is always composed, almost to the point where you wonder if he even has a pulse on the field. This stems from his days of excelling in the SEC despite playing for perennially outmanned Vanderbilt. Again, Cassel had a nice season and he should be fine with the Chiefs, but Cutler is a more known commodity, and he is more refined and more experienced. We know Cutler will get better because of his tools and his age. He's a sure thing. Cassel is a bit of a mystery. Is he a product of the Patriots' system or is he a diamond in the rough? We already know Cutler is a diamond.

I'm not sure I'd be able to disguise my biases any better if I were ol' Bill, but I wouldn't be calling Young No. 6 a diamond. Not just yet anyway.


Cecil said...

Dude, Williamson isn't biased. He's just a total moron.

He spent more time covering the Vikings and Seahawks than he ever did the Broncos. At neither stop did he learn to write. His early ESPN posts were hideous. They've clearly assigned him an editor.

It also doesn't hurt that he has a much stronger argument than Graham does.

Our defense was completely nonexistent *all* season. New England's, it goes without saying, was much, much better. Cassel also had a pretty poor first half and only came on at the end.

Not to mention that he took all those sacks behind a line that had paved the way for a record-settin offense the year previous. He's a flippin' statue. Even our guys hit him a ton in our game against them--not that it did any good, of course, but still.

The only argument for Cassel over Cutler is that he knows the weirdo offense McDaniels wants to run like the back of a Song Girl. The. Only. One.

As TLR would say: don't drink the Patriot Kool-Aid, dude.

bankmeister said...

No Kool-Aid drinkin' here, bro. Don't know how one can say that "a total moron" has "a much, much stronger argument." My take on BW's slant is that he hardly has one at all; he merely strung together a bunch of football tag lines, and showed that he clearly knew more -- whether that's because of a previous job or a bias isn't totally clear -- about Cutler, and was therefore going to side with the notion of "he's better."

I'm not interested in diving into a Cassel-over-Cutler debate. Yet. I merely wanted to point out that Williamson seemed awfully stooge-ish in most of his sentences.

Cecil said...

I should have mentioned, too, that TLR is most definitely happy to sip any drop of the Kool-Aid if it will mean a win. If you guys surprise the world and go 12-4, he'll write a dissertation on how Scott Pioli's way represents the best of the NFL.

Re Williamson: you don't understand how that can be? Even a Nebraskan with a head injury knows that the sun rises and sets in the same spot every day--Williamson had one point to make, that Cutler was a better QB, and he didn't *have* to make it because it's obvious. It makes itself.

So of course all you get from him are dribbles and grunts. The sun doesn't need to justify its own schedule.

Cecil said...

I should further add that dribbles and grunts are the limit of Williamson's capacity.

Listening to him make a case for anything pro-Bronco is like listening to a broken transistor radio that just screeches. And is a big fattie.