What to do, what to do? That must be the sentiment in Kansas City these days when it comes to their situation at quarterback. The offensively inept Chiefs have just one win in what is undoubtedly a lost season. Like it or not they’ll be forced to field a team for five more weeks, which includes the quarterback position, where there have been questions but no answers all season long.
The Chiefs have three viable – to use that term loosely – candidates at quarterback in Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn, and Ricky Stanzi. Kansas City hasn’t been able to find a stable and productive quarterback all season, and the situation is complicated because the organization would like to use the rest of the season to look into the future at quarterback, but whether the head coach and general manager will be around for that future may depend on how the team plays down the stretch and if they can earn a few more wins. So who should start at quarterback for the Chiefs the rest of the season?
Cassel began the season as the starter, and has garnered the most playing time this season, but he has thrown twice as many interceptions as he has touchdowns and has a disappointing QB Rating of 66.7. After having more than ample opportunities to prove himself, Cassel has been removed as the starter, even after a brief reprieve when Quinn missed time due to a concussion. Based on performance, Cassel has no place stepping foot on the field the rest of the season; but he’s under contract for two more years and more than $16 million, so it would make fiscal sense to keep him around with the possibility of returning to the starting quarterback position at some point.
Quinn has recently taken Cassel’s place as the starting quarterback, and has been ineffective in limited action. In terms of career reps, Cassel has roughly five times as many pass attempts as Quinn, which makes Quinn more deserving of additional opportunities to prove himself, especially considering Quinn’s collegiate prowess and the fact that he was set up to fail in Cleveland and not given an opportunity in Denver. However, Quinn is not under contract with Kansas City beyond this year, so if he were to start the rest of the season he would be auditioning for a future job for more teams than just the Chiefs. Also, if Quinn performs well and draws attention from other clubs, he may not want to return to Kansas City, where he’d be returning to an organization in complete disarray and where he may still be in a complicated situation alongside Cassel. In essence, Quinn is most deserving of the chance to start, and he may be the best bet the Chiefs have at this point, but he’s far from likely to be a part of the team’s future plans.
Then there’s Stanzi, the Chief’s fifth-round draft pick in 2011. Stanzi is yet to take a regular season snap in the NFL, but he has the size to be an NFL quarterback, a good enough arm to make the necessary throws, and he had a successful collegiate career at Iowa, helping the Hawkeyes to a 14-4 record as a starter. After close to two years on the sidelines, and knowing he’s under contract with the team for two more seasons, it’s reasonable to give him an opportunity to play at some point this season, especially since at this point the Chiefs have nothing to lose by doing so.
It certainly is quite the conundrum the Chiefs have at quarterback for the next five weeks. Do they continue to play Quinn? Does Quinn have a future with the organization? How long do they stick with Quinn if he continues to struggle? Should they go back to Cassel or do they give Stanzi a chance? What exactly are the plans for the highly paid Cassel going forward? What needs to happen for the head coach and general manager to have a future in Kansas City? It’s a whole lot of questions for an organization that has had so few answers all season long.