Romeo Crennel again said Monday that Matt Cassel will be the starting quarterback for the Chiefs when they play Baltimore on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
But Crennel also left open the possibility that backup Brady Quinn could play against the Ravens. Crennel said the Chiefs might give Quinn some of the starter’s work in practice this week.
Crennel also laid out in general terms what it might take for him to bench Cassel and replace him with Quinn.
“At some point, as a coach, you go through and you see what’s happening in the game and how a guy is reacting and how he’s responding to what’s happening in the game,” Crennel said. “If you feel he’s inept, constantly making poor decisions, bad choices, then that’s when you move on from him and give someone else a chance.”
By that standard, Crennel had to be close to pulling Cassel in Sunday’s 37-20 loss to the Chargers at Arrowhead. Cassel threw three first-half interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown, as San Diego built a 27-6 halftime lead.
Crennel didn’t say whether he was close to pulling Cassel against the Chargers.
“Matt is the quarterback,” Crennel said. “What he has been able to show is that he can make plays. Even after he had those turnovers, he came back and drove the team down the field. We think he is capable, and we just have to get him to be more consistent. (Sunday) the whole team needed to be more consistent.
“You see flashes of it. You just don’t see it consistently.”
Cassel has committed 10 turnovers in the Chiefs’ four games. Projected over a 16-game season, that’s a staggering 40 turnovers from their quarterback.
The Chiefs turned the ball over six times against the Chargers and lead the league with 15 turnovers.
Cassel is fifth from the bottom in the NFL in passer rating. He’s better only than rookies Branden Weeden of Cleveland and Ryan Tannehill of Miami and struggling veterans Mark Sanchez of the Jets and Jay Cutler of Chicago.
Crennel suggested the Chiefs might pull Cassel for a small part of a game, even one series, before putting him back in the lineup.
“You pull him out, put somebody else in, let him settle down and maybe he goes back in,” Crennel said. “As a coach, you get a feeling about whether he’s making good decisions, poor decisions … those kind of things all kind of play into it.”
What to do about Cassel has long-term ramifications for the Chiefs. They have no other quarterback on their roster with the look of being a serious challenger to his job.
Quinn is a veteran who hasn’t played in a regular-season game for any team since 2009. He joined the Chiefs in the spring when he signed a one-year contract.
Their other quarterback, Ricky Stanzi, was awful enough in training camp and the preseason that even his continued employment in Kansas City is in doubt.
Even at that, it would be difficult for the Chiefs to reinstall Cassel as their quarterback after he’s been benched, much as it would for any team with its starting quarterback. But Crennel said he might try it anyway.
“With the quarterback, it’s always a touchy subject because that position is a special kind of position,” Crennel said in acknowledging the situation. But then he said, “It’s not difficult. The starter is still the starter if you just take him out for a series. You can put him back into the game. It doesn’t say you can’t put him back in the game when you take a guy out.”
Quinn was a No. 1 draft pick of the Browns in 2007, when Crennel was Cleveland’s head coach. But he was unable to establish himself as a starter and was traded to Denver in 2010.
He never played in a regular-season game for the Broncos and left to sign with the Chiefs as a free agent in the spring.