Brady Quinn will take over as the Kansas City Chiefs' starting quarterback, and Matt Cassel will serve as the backup beginning with Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.
Quinn started in the Chiefs' loss at Tampa Bay two weeks ago because Cassel was still feeling the effects of a concussion sustained the previous week against Baltimore.
The Chiefs were off last week, and that gave coach Romeo Crennel an opportunity to evaluate both of them along with the team's miserable 1-5 start.
Crennel said Monday that he hopes changing the quarterback "will get everybody's attention and hopefully that impacts the team." Cassel had committed 14 turnovers in the first five games of the season. He was completing just 58.5 percent of his passes for 230 yards per game.
The quarterback announcement came at the start of Crennel's scheduled news conference.
"We sit back and we look at our record and where we are and what's been happening with this team," Crennel said. "And sometimes I look at the team and I feel like we're pretty close, then other times I look at the team and feel like we're not real close."
He said he evaluated the team to "try to figure out what you need to do to try to impact the team and try to change some things, because it seems like we're kind of in a little rut as far as this team goes."
He said quarterback was the biggest change he could make.
"I kind of felt that probably the most impactful move that I could make to get everybody's attention was to change the quarterback," Crennel said. "So I'm changing the quarterback, and Brady Quinn will be the starter, and Matt will be the backup. I think that will get everybody's attention."
Crennel said he hopes the change will improve the team.
"Because the quarterback position, that's the one that has the spotlight on it, and it gets criticized and it gets praised, no matter what happens, if it's good or bad. If it's good, it gets the praise. If it's bad, it gets the criticism," he said.
The coach said he wanted to make clear that he is not saying Cassel "is the reason were are where we are," because he said that's too broad of a stroke and that everyone must come together to make the team better.
"I think we need to coach better and we need to play better," he said. "If we do those things, then I think we can be better, but my biggest deal was my gut telling me that I needed to impact the team by changing the dynamic, by having a different dynamic, and Brady Quinn is the guy that I want to go with."
Quinn showed poise when he ran the offense against Tampa Bay despite his obvious rust, Crennel said.
"I think with time and reps and play time, he should improve and get better as we go down the road," he said.
Cassel won't like the change, but he will accept it, Crennel said.
"I think Matt is a good pro and he'll be a team player as it relates to it, and I think that he'll continue to do everything that he can to help the team win because Matt does try hard, he does work hard, but as I mentioned, things have not been happening right for this team," the coach said. "So I'm changing the dynamic and (we'll) see what happens with Quinn as the starter and we'll go from there."
Cassel said he was frustrated to be benched, but he pledged to move forward and do whatever he could to help the team as a team captain.
"I care about this team, and again, we move forward, I'm a big boy. I'm not going to hang my head. I'm going to do what I've always done and work hard, tremendously hard," he said. "I'll support Brady Quinn and get him ready to play. That's my role as a teammate and as a captain of this team."
Cassel said he knows Crennel has made his decision and he has to move forward. But he noted it was team problems and that the issues didn't rest just on his shoulders.
"I can b!&^%# and complain, but at the same time it is what it is. I'll move forward and this team is going to move forward, but again, I'm going to do everything I can if my opportunity comes again," he said.
Quinn is the starter for the forseeable future, Crennel made clear.
"What I want him to be is, I want him to be the starting quarterback without having to look over his shoulder, so there is going to be no quick hook or anything like that," Crennel said. "The only future that I thought about was this coming Sunday."
Both quarterbacks were told Monday shortly before the news conference began.
"He took it like a pro," Crennel said about his conversation with Quinn. "He sat there pretty much straight faced, but I felt some excitement emanating from (him) that there's an opportunity for him. He's going to try to make the best of it."
Running back Jamaal Charles said Quinn told him that he's very excited by the opportunity.
Quinn said he is excited but "there is a lot of work ahead of us."
He said he is not worried about losing the starting role, but is focused on getting the team better, targeting a win over Oakland and executing the game plan.
"There is always pressure. Pressure is what you make of it. As a quarterback in this league, you get used to it. We do a good job with our coaching staff and really with the players in here of rallying around each other and focusing on what's on the field and not necessarily what's around it," he said. "I just try to do the job that's called upon."
Quarterback was the obvious change needed to jump start the team, Crennel said. He said he doesn't plan any changes to his coaching staff.
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