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Matt Cassel Interview Transcript

Q: Coach Bill Belichick said earlier this week that he was sticking with you as the starting quarterback. Was it ever in doubt in your mind?

MC: No, unless told otherwise. I am just going to go out there and play the position and do it to the best of my ability.

Q: Do you feel your rhythm comes and goes or is your rhythm getting better every week?

MC: I feel comfortable with what we are doing. Unfortunately we weren't able to get in a great rhythm last week [vs. San Diego]. You look at about five or six different plays in which if they went a different a direction then the game might be a little different. Unfortunately we weren't able to get those things done and the results are the results.

Q: Cornerback Ellis Hobbs said yesterday that a lot of eyes are going to be on this team and he feels like this is a game you guys could prove some people wrong. Do you feel that way? That a lot of eyes are going to be on you and the offense on Monday night against the Denver Broncos?

MC: I think eyes are always on us to perform. Obviously there has been a standard here, a very high standard for how ever many years. We have to come out and perform and put points on the board in order to win.

Q: When you are watching film do you see some mistakes you made that you feel were due to inexperience and learn from them?

MC: There are a few plays that definitely come up through the course of a game, in number of games where you say 'gosh, I wish I would have done this or I wish I would have done that.' That is what you learn from as a young quarterback. You try to build on that and put it away in your memory bank so next time it comes up you can make that correction and be better off.

Q: Do you have those thoughts all the time or less as the season goes on?

MC: Less and less. You start to see more defenses, you start to see things and you start to understand more each and every week. This is going to be a process where I can continue to mature week in and week out. Hopefully it happens very quickly.

Q: Can you talk about the Denver Broncos' defense?

MC: They have a lot of speed. They have a great linebacker core with [D.J.] Williams, [Nate] Webster and Boss Bailey. They have a great secondary with Champ Bailey and [Dré] Bly as well, who are two experienced corners. We are going to have our work cut out for us and we just have to go out and put together a great game plan, start quick and execute.

Q: What are the challenges for a quarterback in the red zone?

MC: Anytime you get in the red area the windows close. Everything happens a little bit quicker because there is obviously not as much field to defend. You just have to make quicker decisions and get the ball out to your receivers without as much time.

Q: What do you see from cornerback Champ Bailey that makes him one of the best in the league?

MC: Well he [Champ] Bailey is one of the elite corners in the league. Obviously there are a number of things that he does well. He has great speed, great closing speed, great hands and great instincts and awareness on route recognition. There are a number of things that he does really well and you always have to be aware of where he is at all times.

Q: One of the things coach Bill Belichick has said you guys need to improve on is deep passes. Is that one of the harder throws to make consistently just because of all the variables?

MC: You try to put the ball out there and you try to recognize what the speed is going to be on different throws down the field. You really try to put it out there at the best of your ability and give your receiver an opportunity to make a play. We weren't able to do that the other night. That is one of the more difficult throws because it is not a timing throw. It is not something where you know he is going to be at five yards. It could be anywhere from 20 to 50 yards. It is just something that we have to continue to work at and get better at.

Q: Can you talk about how offensive tackle Mark LeVoir did stepping in last week against the San Diego Chargers?

MC: He [Mark LeVoir] did a great job. He stepped in and we picked up where we left off. He was able to step in and go in there and execute like he needed to.

Q: You got off to a quick start against the San Francisco 49ers with the touchdown pass to wide receiver Randy Moss. Are you able to feed off that momentum in a game?

MC: You always want to start quick and you always want to put points on the board early. That was obviously a good start [Moss touchdown] for us but we actually didn't start that game really well to be completely honest but we were able to hit that long pass and that gave us a boost. We went on to get a victory. We just weren't able to make those big plays in the San Diego [Chargers] game. Like I said, you take five or six plays that can change the result. That makes the big difference in a game.

Q: With the more experience you get do you become more comfortable in the pocket?

MC: I believe so. You start to feel different things. You start to feel the rush and see different blitzes. You just kind of recognize when you have to step up. It's also [about] feeling different defenses and knowing different schemes. I would definitely say that is a true statement.

Q: You said you were comfortable knowing you weren't going to be benched after the San Diego Chargers game. Does it help when you get the vote of confidence from the coaching staff?

MC: I believe so. I think I have had to the vote of confidence from the coaching staff all along otherwise I wouldn't be in the position that I am in. Just because we lose a game, I don't feel I should be worried about my job to be completely honest. We are 3-2 right now and one game back of Buffalo [Bills]. I am sure there are a lot of teams wishing that they were 3-2. Do we need to go out and have more production? Of course we do. That is what we are working towards right now. We are not 0-5 right now, I will tell you that much. We are still working to get better. I am maturing every week and that is what we are going to work toward.

Q: Cornerback Ellis Hobbs said yesterday that it is tough to compare the 2007 season with the 2008 season. Do you feel that comparison is unfair?

MC: You talk about last season and it was one of the magical seasons in all of NFL history. We had an unbelievable run. You look at last year and say 'last year was last year and this is a different team.' Every year is a different year. You never know how it is going to turn out. Do we wish we had another 16-0 run? Of course we do. Is that the reality? It is not right now. We have to go out and try to win games in 2008.

Q: Can you talk about how your chemistry with wide receiver Randy Moss is at this point in the season?

MC: Chemistry is fine. We are still working together. We are working to get on the same page at certain things. We will continue to grow and continue to work each day in practice and try to get better.

Q: Can you relate to quarterback Jay Cutler in relation to the fact that he is kind of playing in the shadow of John Elway and you are playing in the shadow of Tom Brady?

MC: I relate to him [Jay Cutler] in some regard but he has been there and been a starter. He has done a great job for the Denver Broncos for how ever many years. I am in a little bit of a different position right now. I know that he had big shoes to fill and has done a great job of doing that. Hopefully I will continue to mature and grow and try to do the same thing here.

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