New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel addresses the media during his conference call on Thursday, October 9, 2008.
Q: What has it been like being on the West Coast? You've said it's a business trip, is that what it's been like? Has it been productive?
MC: Yeah it's been great. It's been like we've talked about before; it's definitely been a business trip. We understand what we're out here for and that is to play football and get that aspect taken care of first. I've talked to my family and seen a little bit of them but they all understand and know that this is my job and it's the number one priority right now.
Q: How satisfying was the last game's offensive production to you?
MC: It was a big win for us. I thought the offense came out and played well. We ran the ball well. We had a balanced attack. We had some good efficiency in the passing game, so overall I thought we did well and hopefully we can build on that and continue to grow as an offense.
Q: There seemed to be a big fuss [from the media] about getting Randy Moss involved in the offense and you did in the last game. Would you call that a natural progression of everything, that you have to learn as you go now that you're the starting quarterback?
MC: I think you continue to learn something each and every week especially as a young quarterback and you're thrown into the fire like I was early on in the season. You go and you try and get better each and every week. I rely a lot on the coaching staff to put me in a good position and I try to go out there and execute the game plan to the best of my abilities. Hopefully I will continue to progress and continue to get a feel for what they're looking for on particular plays and if I can get the ball to Randy [Moss] that's great. I'd love to do that each and every week. We weren't really able to do that week two and three but definitely last week we were.
Q: Matt all along you've had [Wes] Welker available to you and you worked a few other people into it. Can this offense really be successful without the threat of Randy Moss? Is the threat enough or do you really have to go to him? And do you have to complete those passes? Do you feel like that's something that absolutely has to be there for you guys to succeed?
MC: You have to try to get the ball to your playmakers and obviously Randy [Moss] is one of the best playmakers in the NFL, so we're going to continue to try and do that whichever way we can. I told people this before, I rely heavily on the coaches from a play-calling standpoint and I just try to go out there and execute it. I can try to force the ball downfield and do these things but for me, I'm just going to go through my progressions and we if we talk about trying to get him the ball then that's what I'll do.
Q: How helpful was the running game in this past weekends game?
MC: It's always helpful. Any time you can get the running game going it opens up other aspects of the offense. Those running backs ran hard - Sammy [Morris], Kevin [Faulk], Laurence [Maroney] and LaMont [Jordan]. They're all running the ball really hard and hopefully that continues.
Q: As you look at San Diego, you've watched the Patriots play them from your vantage point, now you're the one who has to step in and you're going against a fairly successful defense. What do you see in the San Diego defense that you really have to pay attention to?
MC: They're a very physical defense. The front seven plays hard and they are aggressive. They try to create a lot of pressure at the quarterback position. Their secondary's doing a great job and they've got some playmakers back there with [Antonio] Cromartie and [Quentin] Jammer and [Eric] Weddle has stepped in at the safety position and is doing a great job. They've got quite a few players and they're a physical defense so we have to be ready to match their physicality when it comes to getting off the ball. Whether it be running the ball or blocking up front.
Q: Does it cause any concern for you knowing that they're going into this game at 2-3, this is the second year in a row that they've gotten off to a slow start and it's pretty frustrating for them, do you feel that going to San Diego and being their home game, they're the ones that might be a little desperate. Does that add to the pressure that you're going to be facing?
MC: Not really. We approach every game the same. We go out with the intention of winning each and every game. We're not going to be surprised if they come out with intensity, we expect them to come out with intensity whether they were 5-0 or 2-3. We have to come out and play our best game in order to win. This is the NFL, week in and week out every team should come out and be eager. Whether they're undefeated or they haven't won a game and that's just how it is. That's how the NFL is if you don't come out, you don't perform and you don't play well more than likely you're going to lose that game. We're expecting them to come out with a lot of fire and a lot of intensity and we have to match that.
Q: You've got the national spotlight too, you've got NBC, [John] Madden- all of that. Does that add something to it or is that something you just don't pay attention to it at all?
MC: You just don't pay any attention to it. You go out and you have to play your game. All the rest of that stuff just goes along with it. Once you get out there and you take that first snap all that stuff goes out the window. You can talk about it and stuff but the fact is when it comes down to it, it's playing football.