"I'm not the type of player that looks over his shoulder," Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel
said this week.
In Kansas City and among Chiefs fans everywhere, he doesn't have to look over his shoulder to know they are angry and demanding his job. He can hear that, even if he doesn't watch TV or listen to sports talk radio.
The 2012 season was the year where Cassel was expected to elevate his game and help the Chiefs get back into the picture for the AFC playoffs. It's his fourth season as starter and the team began the year with more offensive weapons than they've had for some time.
What's happened has done nothing to convince the red and gold populace that Cassel is the man for the job of leading the Chiefs to football's Promised Land. After four games, Cassel was among the top half of the league leaders in passing yardage with 1,058 yards to rank No. 14. But he was No. 29 in passer rating (70.4) and interceptions (7), No. 28 in interception percentage (4.3) and average gain per attempt (6.57) and No. 27 in TD pass percentage (3.1).
He has also turned the ball over 10 times this season (seven interceptions, three fumbles lost.)
The worst statistic is the team's record at 1-3. Cassel has now started 44 regular season and postseason games for the Chiefs. The team's is 19-25 in those games.
But Romeo Crennel says he's sticking with Cassel, for now.
"I think that what he's been able to show is that he can make plays," said Crennel. "We think that he's capable and we just have to get him to be more consistent. If we play more consistently and better, then we'll be better. But you see flashes of it, you just don't see consistency. We're not consistently good."
One reason that Crennel may not be pulling the trigger quickly for a quarterback change are the alternatives -- Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi. The Chiefs head coach knows Quinn from their mutual days with the Cleveland Browns. But the former Notre Dame passer has not played in two seasons and four games, spending two years on the far end of the bench in Denver.
So what will it take for Crennel to change his QB?
"You see what's happening in the game, how a guy is reacting and how he's responding," Crennel said. "If you feel that he's inept, constantly making poor decisions, bad choices, then that's when you move on from him and give someone else a chance."
Cassel has never been pulled from a game where the Chiefs still had a chance to win. Of course, Cassel has never had to compete for the starting job. It was handed to him in 2009 when he was acquired in a trade with New England and there has been no competition since he took over.
"I'm just working to get better," said Cassel. "That's all I can do, and I will do that. I will get better."