Crennel, KC look around
Cassel may not be a lock for QB job
INDIANAPOLIS - Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said Friday that Matt Cassel is the team’s starting quarterback, but yesterday, coach Romeo Crennel did not exactly give a ringing endorsement to Cassel, who finished 2011 on injured reserve.
Crennel spoke highly of Kyle Orton, whom Kansas City claimed off waivers after Cassel’s injury, and said he might not be coach if it weren’t for Orton. Crennel also spoke glowingly about Robert Griffin III, the Baylor product and Heisman Trophy winner, and even raised his eyebrows when it was mentioned that Brady Quinn, his former quarterback in Cleveland, was slated to become a free agent.
“We have Matt under contract, along with [Ricky] Stanzi, and Kyle is an unrestricted free agent,’’ Crennel said. “This free agency thing, we have to let that play out. Until we get another quarterback on the team, Cassel is the guy.
“Now, if we get Kyle on the team, if he comes back to us, we’ll see how it works out and we’ll play the best guy. Until that time, it’s all speculation.’’
A seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 2005 who garnered attention three years later when he capably stepped in for an injured Tom Brady, Cassel was traded to Kansas City in 2009, the year former New England personnel chief Pioli took over that organization as general manager.
With Cassel as starter, the Chiefs won the AFC West in 2010 and made their first playoff appearance in seven years. But he struggled last season, even before the injury to his throwing hand in November that required surgery.
Stanzi stepped in before Orton was acquired.
Crennel seemed enamored with Griffin; they have common ground as fellow Army brats. The Chiefs hold the 11th pick in the draft.
And there was yet another player Crennel showed interest in: Peyton Manning. Crennel walked the line on a potential tampering claim with this statement: “I’m not supposed to talk about anybody else’s players, and he’s still a player with Indianapolis, but with a talent like that, I would be crazy not to consider it if he were available. I’ll leave it at that.’’
Yet another individual with New England/Bill Belichick ties, Brian Daboll, was Crennel’s choice for Kansas City’s new offensive coordinator, and based on what was said yesterday, the two are in the market for a quarterback.
Loiseau in the mix
From the time he was 7, Shawn Loiseau has thought of playing in the NFL. Not getting to play at a Division 1 - or even Division 1-AA college - didn’t sway him, nor did those individuals who laughed in his face when he told them his dream.
Not many kids from Shrewsbury, Mass. - and even fewer who play at Merrimack College - get the chance to play in the NFL.
But yesterday, Loiseau was among the 35 linebackers who began their combine process, starting with a 4:30 a.m. drug test, medical tests, and the official weigh-in. (Loiseau came in at 6 feet, 244 pounds.)
Loiseau has been driven by the slights, saying he constantly has a chip on his shoulder. Left unsaid is that a fight in high school that left him with 28 stitches and another teen in the hospital with a head injury is part of the reason he didn’t get the chance to play at a bigger college.
Loiseau made the best of his shot at Merrimack. After not playing a snap his freshman season, he started every game from his sophomore year on and was twice named Northeast-10 Defensive Player of the Year and received Division 2 All-America recognition.
He has received late-round grades from a couple of scouting services for the draft, and knows what he has to work on.
“Probably the pass game,’’ he said. “Just coming from Division 2, we see a lot of run-oriented teams, a lot of teams that want to run a lot more than they pass, and when we do see pass, it’s mainly play-action or just small, short stuff, or they’re going deep on third and long or something like that.’’
While Loiseau didn’t hide the fact that he grew up rooting for his hometown Patriots, Kendall Reyes, a Nashua, N.H., native who played at Connecticut, wouldn’t say which team he favored. “I’m a fan of the game. You can’t get me with that one,’’ said Reyes.
The defensive lineman measured in at 6-4, 299 pounds, and is projected as a second- or third-round pick.