Draft: 230th overall by New England, 2005
Games Studied: Buffalo Bills 2015 preseason vs. CAR, PIT; Minnesota Vikings 2014 regular season vs. STL
Report:Going into his 11th season as a NFL quarterback, Cassel is limited athletically but makes up for it with a strong desire to compete and with physical toughness. He plays with football intelligence and smarts.
One of his strengths is that he moves the team within the system -- doesn't attempt to do things would cost him during a drive. Finds ways to play within himself and take what he can from the play. Knows where to go with ball pre-snap by reading the coverage. He will stand in the pocket and hold the ball that extra tick to allow a receiver to clear in a route.
I would not say that he has top arm talent or the ability to really drive the ball. He'll take a long stride on his delivery – all while pointing to the target. There were some snaps where his body position looked like he was sitting in a chair. He really tries with his motion to get some zip on the ball. Has a ¾ throwing motion, and it's more about accuracy than power. He had two balls tipped at the line of scrimmage during the preseason.
Because of his accuracy, he doesn't make the receiver work to have to catch his passes. The best throws he makes are the ones when the receiver is right in front of him. He showed nice touch on a screen, where he spun away from the running back then came back to him. On the tape, his accuracy was good both inside and outside the numbers. The ball was a little lower on the outside, but the receiver was able to work with it. He was able to complete the sprint out pass to his right on the move.
The longest pass completion I observed was 22 yards on a deep-in. I did not see him try and force the ball – he took what was given him. There's good poise and awareness. He has vision to see the field despite some breakdowns in the pocket, and his pocket mechanics were good with his feet. He would slide forward when he felt the pressure from the outside.
In the three games I studied, he worked both from underneath center and in the shotgun. I would not say that he has athletic or has quick feet, but he is able to drop and deliver the ball. He's not all over the place with his footwork, either.
For a quarterback with his size, I did not feel like he had especially good upper or lower body strength. His mobility was better going forward, but he's not likely to run away from the rushers. He doesn't have great foot speed.
I thought the offense was more open in Minnesota than it was in Buffalo, but that might have been because of the preseason games. Cassel does what he has to do in the pocket to move the offense. He is more likely to take what is given, then try and improvise to make a play.
He's consistent in his approach without being spectacular. Needs the players around him to play well in order to have success. As tough as you will find standing in the pocket and taking a hit.
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