Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli is Quite Confident in Matt Cassel

May 17, 2012 – 6:00 am by Brad Gagnon

The Kansas City Chiefs’ offseason program is off and running and Matt Cassel is once again the man under center in KC. Considering Cassel’s play during his last full season in 2010, that’s not overly surprising, especially when you take into account the veteran’s longtime relationship with general manager Scott Pioli.

That said, there are still quite a few Chiefs fans who aren’t comfortable with Cassel under center, and many of them were disappointed that the team didn’t draft a quarterback or reel in a big-name free-agent pivot this offseason.

Chiefs GM Scott Pioli joined Kevin Kietzman on WHB in Kansas City to break down his quarterback situation and clarify why he didn’t draft a signal caller in April. He started the conversation by providing an interesting take on the kind of players he looks to draft in general.

On the learning curve for rookies being smaller than ever and the difficulties that presents:

“Fortunately, it’s a league-wide issue. I can’t even call it an issue, it’s a circumstance that is league wide, so everyone’s under the same rules — it’s a plus and minus for everybody. So everyone’s trying to do the same thing. But that’s why I think one of the things that’s become even more true is trying to focus on the right kind of guys and having the right people and getting players that — maturity, emotional, mental maturity is a really important thing to us. And it’s become even more paramount I think because if you get young guys that are a little bit distracted you actually have less time to develop those players. You wanna get players that are mentally and emotionally a little bit closer to being ready to throw up and their arms and say, ‘Please develop me.’”

On the lack of a so-called franchise quarterback in Kansas City:

“I think that we have a really good quarterback. I think we have three good quarterbacks. I think the guy who’s set to be our starting quarterback is a good quarterback, he’s a good starting NFL quarterback. And I hear the numbers and I hear trends and you can look at certain statistics and put them in any direction you want to support a position or an argument. And again, there’s a number of quarterbacks out there that have been successful. You wanna look at the history of the Kansas City Chiefs, you look at a quarterback by the name of Len Dawon — a first-round pick, didn’t play for five years, was trying to be run out of this league and couldn’t get a job, couldn’t get a start. And he’s without the doubt the greatest quarterback in the history of this franchise. And I think as he gets more opportunities, Matt (Cassel) is gonna continue to show people that he’s a good NFL quarterback. It’s interesting. I’ve been out and about town with my family, and I talk to fans, you talk to fans, you hear different things, and there’s a lot of times where I hear from people — there’s people out there that don’t understand the criticism of Matt, or this growing groundswell in pockets of Matt allegedly not being a good enough quarterback.”

On if he didn’t take a quarterback in April’s draft because the QB class was weak beyond Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III:

“I wouldn’t say it was a weak class but I think we would’ve been reaching . . . By the time we made our first pick there were three quarterbacks off the board and I think it continued to shift dramatically. I’m also a firm believer in: You don’t wanna overdraft. Philosophically I’ve talked about drafting based on best player available and trying to do a combination of best player available and need.”

The quarterback draft debate continued between Pioli and Kietzman for several more minutes. Click here to listen to the rest of it on WHB.

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