Positively Gruden: Chiefs at Steelers – The Mental Toughness of Matt Cassel

Let me preface this week’s Positively Gruden by letting you all know that I am merely substituting for The Wise Guy, who had some kind of “day job” lawyerly thing to attend to last night. (Lame!). These are big shoes to fill because The Wise Guy brings to this column a unique brand of two very big feet.

Luckily I don’t have to be The Wise Guy because our favorite former coach/cheerleader/master of hyperbole came to party last night. Big time. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed watching what was an otherwise sloppy game through Jon Gruden’s lens of sheer positivity. That man is contagious. I even have a newfound appreciation for my laundry.

As always, Grudenisms are graded on a sliding scale of hyperbole, vivid imagery, and outright absurdity

11) “I’ve seen Jamaal Charles go 90. I’ve seen him go 80.  I stood on the sidelines in Tampa and got whiplash watching him run through our defense one time.”

10) “Ryan Clark gave Ike Taylor some help buzzing underneath on that hook route. Clark does a great job playing this game. Watch him come down. You’re gonna see a hook route and he’s going to rotate right underneath it and make it an impossible conversion. Look at that break and drive by the 33-year-old, 11-year veteran. What a player!“


9) On the Chiefs running back corps: “That’s what you pay for season tickets for, Mike, if you’re a Chiefs fan. I want to see Jamaal Charles. And when he gets tired I want to see the big back jamming off the left side.” (If I’m Chiefs fan I want to see a refund check – pronto! Too easy.)

8) On Matt Cassel “He epitomizes mental toughness. Hard to evaluate. He’s had four offensive coordinators, three different centers, two different head coaches. That translates into one tough job.” (Also epitomizes overpaid free agent.)

7) After a big 4th quarter stop by the Chiefs: “You got to give him credit.  Watch the inside linebacker Derrick Johnson key it the whole way. WOW! 179 tackles last year. He broke a Kansas City Chiefs record. It doesn’t matter if they’re 7-1 or 1-7 you’re going to get the best he has. That’s why I like that kid.”

6) “LaMarr Woodley eats backs and tight ends for breakfast.”

5) “This Jerricho Cotchery. Four catches last week in key situations. He blocks the perimeter. He covers kicks. Throws the cape off and makes big catches when you need him the most.”

4) “I like Willie Colon at left guard. It’s gonna be a double team and Colon pulls the opening. Willie Colon who had a couple penalties early. He’s a Gruden Grinder candidate.”

3) Tirico: Did you know that cursing an official was a penalty.  “Don’t get me started, Mike.”

2)  “As gritty and tough as Matt Cassel’s been tonight, that’s a horrible way to end a football game.” (After Matt Cassel threw the game-losing interception that likely nailed the coffin in his career.)

1)  After Tirico mentioned that most pundits rank Ben Roethlisberger in a second tier when it comes to elite quarterbacks:  “That’s their problem. You should start with Ben Roethlisberger.”