Is Cassel progressing in intangible ways

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Oct 22, 2008.

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  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    First, this isnt a Cassel is great, or Cassel sucks post, so I apologize in advance for not posting the hyperbole that seems to be required around here.

    During Monday Nights game, 2 things occured to me about Cassel.
    1) When Cassel gets pressure and sacked, I get the feeling that he reads the play, the first thing isnt there, and then he is suprised there is a pass rusher and takes a few moments to think about what to do because there is a pass rusher there, and by then he is sacked. I may not be describing this well, but its like he is surprised when a pass rusher is near him, and seemingly stops to think about what to do rather than react to it.
    2) Before this year, the biggest complaint about Cassel, and one that worried me a lot was that he would take off and run all of the time. He would look at one receiver, then tuck it and run. He does not do that anymore.
    It would seem TO ME, that Cassel shows a lot of traits that indicate he is well schooled in the Pats system and philosophy. He is absolutely not going to try to make a play in the grasp and risk a turnover. He is absolutely not going to try to make the 'hero throw'. It seems that his development off the field is pretty good, but the development you get in live action is still a work in progress. A big part of the live development is dealing with the rush. Frankly you can learn everything else there is to learn on the practice field in 4 years, but dealing with the rush can only happen live.
    I've seen Cassel go from a gut reaction of running from the first sign of pressure, to knowing not to run, but having trouble reacting when the first couple of progressions are shot. Compared to Brady, what Cassel does not do, is buy time in order to find the receiver. He seems to pretty much stand there hoping what he should do occurs to him.
    I know the way I'm describing it may sound like he is stupid or something, but I don't mean that I just can't describe it any better without that connotation. Its not dumb, its inexperienced.
    Given the alternatives of heaving it up, or running around trying to escape, I think I prefer indecision and a sack, but the trend I see is that learning how to buy time WHILE looking for a receiver is just the next step in his development.
    Brady was sacked a lot as a 'rookie' and this trait was one that was slower to develop in him as well, but the improvement was apparent within that first year.

  2. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

    Cassel does not make many costly mistakes, look at how many attempts and interceptions he has.

    His pocket presence is constantly improving.

    Right now he plays like Bledsoe but his ceiling is much higher in my opinion, because he makes less costly mistakes and also is improving his pocket presence and sack-taking.
  3. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    I believe that BB has some sort of official plan/procedure for bringing along a new QB. Thinking about Cassel and Brady here and how they were/are brought along in their first year. I think the coaches are slowly and will continue to allow/coach Matt to do more.

    We have definitely seen some progress in Cassel and I only expect that to continue. When you heard him talk earlier in the year about how certain things you don't want to do as a young QB trying to learn it sounded like that came directly from the coaches.

    In the Denver game I finally saw Cassel avoid some pressure and "scramble" around the pocket without tucking the ball. The throw to Moss in the endzone that Champ broke up would have been a GREAT play had he thrown the ball a couple more inches to the upper left away from Champ. And of course the INT that wasn't would have been a real BAD play had the defender caught it. Which brings me to my next point.

    He still doesn't have the confidence (or maybe not enough leash from the coaches yet) to pull the trigger on throws that have a smaller window, which limits his "big plays". This isn't a bad thing at this point in his career because it also limits his "bad plays". I believe this is the single biggest limiting factor in his game right. Randy hinted on it in previous weeks saying it wasn't about them having confidence in Matt it was about him having confidence in himself. This will come in time, but is probably the most difficult aspect. He must pull the trigger quicker while at the same time pulling the correct trigger. He has gotten faster with pulling the trigger on his first read since week 1, and the speed at which he goes through his reads and makes his decisions will undoubtedly improve.

    Once he has this confidence and starts pulling the trigger and being comfortable with his ability to read the play, then will come that one game where it seems every decision he makes will be the wrong one. His task after that is not losing his confidence but at the same time learning from the mistakes.
  4. jays52

    jays52 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Wow, a thoughtful, well laid out post! Shouldn't take too long for the troglodytes that dominate other threads to call you an idiot and then refuse to substanciate their opinions!:D

    I think along the same lines. I think he doesn't work through his progression well. To a certain degree, this should be expected with a developing quarterback. Then again, it should be expected for an NFL quarterback to have the awareness to read the coverage, find the primary, find the secondary, find the checkdown. I think he reads recievers, not coverages and that is his problem. It's not that they're keeping him within their plain system, because I saw them run a bloody waggle at 8 on Monday. There's two reads on that waggle, the split end running a 9 and the backside tight end running in back of the linebackers. Watson was wide open on that play. He was the second read. All Cassel had to do was read the playside safety and he missed that. The tailback wheel to Faulk he forced as well. He should have just tucked in in behind the man'ed tailback and ran through the clearout. Hell, they coach that in highschool.

    That said, he is clearly playing within his bounds and not making mistakes. That is certainly a plus. What concerns me is later in the year when teams such as Tennessee are potentially on the radar. Can he progress in his reads enough to stay ahead of the coordinators that will be working on him. I think he's doing a good job, just needs to improve in this aspect of the game. If Cassel can essentially become brighter, he will be playing like a legitimate quarterback.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  5. Frezo

    Frezo In the Starting Line-Up

    #50 Jersey

    What Cassel can't do that Brady could is read defenses and call blitz pick ups. This is one of the reasons the o-line looked great with Brady. Tom also knew precisely when to send Faulk out for a pass or leave him back to block. The o-line is going to have to get used to making its own reads while Cassel gets up to speed. Of course there is also Brady's movement in the pocket which was stellar.
  6. spacecrime

    spacecrime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    When you say he "can't," do you mean he is not allowed to, or that he is incapable of doing it?

    Just out of curiousity, how do you know that he doesn't call blitz pickups now?
  7. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 Supporter Supporter

    #3 Jersey

    This question comes from not really paying attention to this sort of thing back then: was Brady really able to do this well in 2001, or is this something he's gotten significantly better at over time?
  8. Run DMC

    Run DMC In the Starting Line-Up

    #24 Jersey

    I'm surprised to hear myself say that I am impressed by his physical toughness. I've seen this kid take some shots and he keeps right on going. Also, his improvement from week to week is tangible. This could get interesting.
  9. Frezo

    Frezo In the Starting Line-Up

    #50 Jersey

    I'm sure he does. He just can't do it with the precision that Brady did. He'll slowly get better at it. This is one of those experience things that time teaches as well as being a game tape aficionado. I think we all agree that he has enough talent to be successful if he pulls the mental end of it together. The only thing that could hold him back is reaction time. I feel this was one of Bledsoe's downfalls.

    Considering the amount of game prep a starting QB goes through and the burden he has to bear, he's doing a fine job as a dose of responsibility this large can make or break a young QB.
  10. dtbrks

    dtbrks 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #87 Jersey

    That would be increadible if that pans out, I mean, Bledsoe had his pocket issues but he could throw it into any spot (and most times relied on his arm too much instead of his head). I personally don't think he has a higher ceiling than Bledsoe had but if he can, then some team will have a great QB someday. As much as Bledsoe get's bashed, he carried the team with his arm at times. JMHO.
  11. PatsFan37

    PatsFan37 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #37 Jersey

    One of the things the announcers said (don't remember which one) on one play was that Cassel was waiting for the safety to commit and holding the ball until he did, and then throwing too late. During that time, he fixed his eyes on that part of the field and didn't see another receiver coming open.

    Experience brings the ability to anticipate the action on the field. I thought he threw more accurately this last game and yes, held the ball instead of trying to be a hero. In effect, he let the defense win the game with turnovers and spectacular field position, and by taking short passes and handing off to RBs until the Denver DL wanted to go home.

    They had him on a short leash, he didn't try to be a Favre or a Bledsoe and take something that isn't there. He takes sacks because he emphasizes (I'm sure he's coached) to keep his eyes downfield and make a play instead of trying to improve his pocket footwork. That will come over time and he's slowly getting better. I don't see the signs of a great QB, but if he keeps at it, he might be decent after a while.

    That may not sound like a glowing endorsement, but I don't see any reason to panic. They've got a solid D, great skill players, good STs, and a QB who doesn't do anything stupid and can occasionally make a play. Not bad for this point in the season.
  12. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah Supporter Supporter

    Disable Jersey

    I'm not a QB caoch but I think that Matt with more game experience can develop an improved pocket presence which will lead to better finding of alternate receivers.

    In the pocket I would coach him to shuffle left or right towards the tackle boundary so that should nothing develop he could have a better shot at steping out and throwing the ball away w/o geting called for intentional grounding. Even if he got a few of those penalties I'd actually call it progress.

    I'd show him the Denver film and caution him that it is unlikely that another D would let him STARE at the flanker or RB screen before the pass like he often did without risking a PICK 6.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  13. dtbrks

    dtbrks 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #87 Jersey

    He is getting better and I hope the trend continues. I want him to be a starting QB for another team next year for a couple of reasons:

    1. Brady is back and healthy
    2. He has proven himself worthy enough of a starters job by showing he can run an offense while continuing to progress during the season. Maybe even help lead the pats to a few playoff wins???
  14. Frezo

    Frezo In the Starting Line-Up

    #50 Jersey

    ...I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express. ;)

    Aren't you glad that we don't have to look at Garcia, Leftwich, etc., every game? It just wouldn't seem right. Watching this home grown kid mature is pretty cool.
  15. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah Supporter Supporter

    Disable Jersey

    Precisely my feelings. I hope he plays well enough to earn a big 8 figure offer from another team next March. Good for him and better for us fans.

    EDIT: Agree with Frezo's sentiment too
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  16. Batman

    Batman Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #24 Jersey

    He is clearly getting better. I am no QB coach but I would like him to move around a bit more in the pocket unless this is what he has for a pocket;

    But he has doubled his TD tally in 1 week even if Welker and Moss had to do more of the hard work, Cassel still had to make the read pick where to put the ball and the put it there. He done his job on the plays and the WR's done theirs as did the oLine. Cassel is playing better than he was on this team each week and when they played as a team they won big as a team. We can't ask anymore than him to improve game by game it's not going to not be there then be there 2 mins later it takes time and we have 10 weeks of time until the playoffs. I hope he keeps improving and can lead us in the playoff's maybe not to the SB but I hope he can.

    It's good to have a football thread not full of spew.
  17. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 Supporter Supporter

    #3 Jersey

    Now that's a roomy pocket. :)
  18. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Is there any evidence he can get beyond locking in on one receiver?

    Brady certainly used to have a lot of plays where he went to his first read, period (specifically, swing passes). But I don't recall him EVER being this helpless when the first read didn't pan out.

    Good point that he's now at least TRYING to look for the second read. But he hasn't yet gotten as far as succeeding at it.
  19. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae Retired Jersey Club Supporter

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    It's not his second read that's the problem, it's his third that's hanging him up.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  20. JoePats

    JoePats In the Starting Line-Up

    Look if he can get to 5-3/6-2 through his first eight games and keep improving we have a shot. The encouraging thing is that while he's still learning on the job, the team is winning. How quickly he would progress, that's a hard question to answer. The shaky pass protection is not his fault, and I would rather he be conservative with the ball when the pocket breaks down than run around and force passes, which he hasn't really for the most part.
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