According to a Jay Glazer Fox Sports 1 report, the Minnesota Vikings’ coaching staff has informed it’s players this morning that Matt Cassel will be the starting quarterback week 1 at St. Louis.
This may come as no surprise to some fans, for many reasons. First, why would you want the quarterback of your future (Teddy Bridgewater) to play his first game on the road, against (arguably) one of the best defensive lines in football?
Second, Matt Cassel has performed better than expected– at least better than I expected– so far; and he was the front runner for starting when the preseason started, and he really hasn’t done anything to lose that title.
Don’t worry Bridgewater fans, Teddy is the quarterback of the future, and you will certainly get to see him soon. Even if Cassel was named starter for week 1, if he doesn’t perform up to par in the regular season, Bridgwater has played well enough to at least be given the opportunity if the Vikings start off slow with Cassel under center.
Let’s compare pure numbers from the preseason:
26/39 passing with a 66.7% completion percentage, 367 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Cassel finished with a respectable 103.3 passer rating in the preseason.
26/40 passing with a 65% completion percentage, 266 yards passing, and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions. Bridgewater had a higher total passer rating with an outstanding 117.3.
Even though Bridgewater had more touchdowns, and less interceptions, 2 of Bridgewater’s touchdowns last weekend against the Chiefs were on drives that started in the Chiefs’ goal line. Bridgewater was also facing less competition, considering he was usually playing against 2nd string or 3rd string players.
I think this is the best move for now, because Cassel seemed to be much more comfortable with the offense, and works the offense much better than Bridgewater in every aspect, including the huddle, line of scrimmage, and overall execution of the offense. Bridgewater also seemed uncomfortable in the pocket at times, because after all he is a rookie quarterback.
This is also good for Bridgewater, as he will have more time to learn from Cassel and Norv Turner, as well as giving him more time to perfect Turner’s complicated offense.
Maybe this extra time will make a difference, maybe it won’t. But either way, Cassel is the team’s starting quarterback going forward, but that does not mean that he will be forever. Who knows when Bridgewater could take over for Cassel, but I’m guessing it’ll be somewhere around week 8 or 9, especially if Matt Cassel struggles over a 3 or 4 week stretch.