Kansas City, Mo. Matt Cassel took the snap from center, scanned the practice field as he dropped back to pass and just for a moment must have felt like a little boy on Christmas morning.
There was Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles coming out of the backfield and Dwayne Bowe heading for the sideline. Dexter McCluster was out in the flat, tight end Kevin Boss was coming over the middle and wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin was making a beeline for the end zone.
So many options — such a luxury.
And so very different from last season.
Injuries and a lack of depth conspired to rob the Kansas City quarterback of some of his most valuable targets a year ago.
But with Charles and tight end Tony Moeaki back from knee injuries, the signing of Boss in free agency and the sudden emergence of McCluster and Baldwin as reliable options in the passing game, Cassel could be poised for another season like 2010, when he landed in the Pro Bowl.
Instead of last season, when he became many fans’ favorite scapegoat.
“You know, every year is a different year and we’re excited about this year,” said Cassel, who passed on uttering anything disparaging about last season.
“Obviously having the OTAs this year has a much different feel coming into the season, and I think we had a strong camp up there at St. Joseph, and now this whole week is about getting back into camp mode and continuing to work,” Cassel said. “Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but we’re moving in the right direction.”
The Chiefs offense under new coordinator Brian Daboll looked dominant in its first preseason game against Arizona. Cassel was 5-of-6 for 67 yards and a touchdown, and the 14 passes completed by Kansas City quarterbacks went to eight different targets.
That was before Bowe signed his franchise tender and joined the team, too.
The offense looked more pedestrian last Friday night at St. Louis, its biggest sore spot the four turnovers. But it looked good running the two-minute drill at the end of the first half, and now Bowe is back in the fold for tonight’s game against Seattle.
The Chiefs’ No. 1 wide receiver will play against the Seahawks, coach Romeo Crennel confirmed Wednesday, but it’s unclear how much after only a week of practice.
“I’ll play him some, just give him a couple plays here and there, but I don’t think he’s ready to play a full game or anything like that,” Crennel said.