Cassel’s status for game against Rams undetermined
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
KANSAS CITY (AP) — It will be a bit longer before the Kansas City Chiefs reveal when Matt Cassel will return at quarterback for the AFC West leaders.
Cassel had an emergency appendectomy last week and did not play Sunday in a 31-0 loss at San Diego. Cassel said he is day-to-day, but he was at the Chiefs’ practice facility working out Monday after not traveling to California over the weekend.
“Wednesday we’ll know a lot more,” Chiefs coach Todd Haley said on whether Cassel would be able to play Sunday against the Rams in St. Louis.
Despite the loss, the Chiefs remain in first place in the AFC West with a one-game lead over the Chargers with three games left, so they control their own destiny.
“Exactly, absolutely right,” defensive end Wallace Gillberry said. “There were some things we could have done better (at San Diego), but we didn’t, so it’s on to the Rams. This is not our first road loss and we’ve come back and taken care of business. That’s what we are banking on, to comeback and get back on track, focus on the Rams.”
After St. Louis, the Chiefs’ final two regular season games are at home against two sub-.500 teams, Tennessee and Oakland. The Chiefs are undefeated at Arrowhead Stadium this season.
If the Chiefs had won at San Diego, they would have all but wrapped up their first division title since 2003 with a three-game lead with three games remaining. Now they have the Chargers, who are known for their December charges, looming just a game back. If the two would tie for first, the Chargers would likely own most of the tiebreakers after the two teams split the two games during the regular season.
“It was a very disappointing result in what was our biggest game of the year,” Haley said. “This (St. Louis) now becomes our game of the year. We’ve got to move on. We’ve done a good job of doing that after a win or a loss.”
Haley said the Chiefs would “not dwell” on the lopsided defeat at San Diego.
“Our focus is trying to become a good team,” Haley said. “We’re clearly not there yet. That team we played (Sunday) is in that category and has been for a number of years.”
With Brodie Croyle replacing Cassel as the starting quarterback, the Chiefs had only 67 yards of offense, went 0-for-11 on third down conversions, mustered just 19 yards passing, punted eight times and had the ball for only 19:50.
Haley, however, said don’t put the entire blame on Croyle’s shoulders, calling it “a complete team loss.”
“From start to finish it was a team loss,” Haley said. “Offensively, we never could get anything positive going. It’s an 11-man operation. I want to be clear on that. Defensively, we were unable to stop San Diego. We could not stop the run. Our goal was to make them one dimensional.”
The Chiefs are 0-10 when they start Croyle, a 2006 third-round pick out of Alabama. It was his first start since Sept. 13, 2009, at Baltimore when Cassel was injured.
Would Cassel have made a huge impact on the game at San Diego if he was healthy enough to play?
“I really can’t answer that,” Haley said. ’I don’t know what would have made a difference (Sunday).”
Haley said he has confidence in Croyle to lead the Chiefs to a victory if Cassel is unable to play again.
“He’s disappointed,” Haley said. “He wanted to do better.”
Croyle got little help from his offensive line. He was sacked four times for losses of 29 yards and seldom had time to throw. He completed seven of 17 passes, the longest being 16 yards to Terrance Copper in the first half.
“This is a new week and a new team,” Haley said. “I thought we had a good week of practice last week, but it didn’t carry over.”
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