New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel addresses the media during his locker room interview on Thursday, November 6, 2008.
Q: As a young quarterback yourself, have you appreciated from afar what Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards has done?
MC: He [Trent Edwards] has done a great job. He has won a lot of games out there and continues to progress. Even from last year, I think his first playing time was against us and I thought he did a great job last year. He continues to get better and I have always been impressed with the way Trent has played.
Q: You have this stretch of three straight AFC East games. You guys have run away with the division the last few years. Have you thought much about how it is a much tighter divisional race this year?
MC: No, it just is. We are in a tight race and we are going to take it one game at a time. This one is a big one this week. If we can hopefully go out there and put a good performance and a get win that will set the tone.
Q: Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels talked earlier this week about how you did a good job against the Indianapolis Colts of avoiding the pressure and getting rid of the ball. Can you talk about your development in that part of the game?
MC: That was just part of the game plan. We knew that they [Colts] had a good rush last week. Part of the game plan was to go out, get the ball out quick, go through the reads and if you didn't have anything downfield then get the ball to the [running] backs. We were able to do a good job last week. Whatever the game plan calls for that is what we try to accomplish. We were able to execute that well last week.
Q: Any comfort in not having to face Buffalo Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel this week?
MC: He [Aaron Schobel] is a great player. We have a lot of respect for him around here. He played well against us throughout the years. Unfortunately for him, he has an injury right now. Everybody wishes, for their sake that he is healthy. Nobody likes to see anybody not play due to injury. We have a lot of respect for him.
Q: How good is this Buffalo Bills team?
MC: They [Buffalo Bills] are a very good team. They play well on defense and they run around and give you a lot of different looks. Offensively, they are playing well. They have a lot of great skill players. They have some good running backs. We have our work cut out for us. We have to have a good week of practice and be ready to go come Sunday.
Q: Are you happy with how the offense has progressed since you have become the starting quarterback?
MC: I am happy to see that we are having some production on offense. I think that we have a lot of work to do. I do think that we are growing as an offense and I think the guys are stepping up and making some pretty big plays. We have to continue to do that if we are going to be successful in these next eight games.
Q: How much does it help to have your entire offensive line back?
MC: They are doing a great job. They continue to push themselves each and every week. They did a great job last week and hopefully we can maintain that throughout the rest of the year.
Q: What has been the most surprising thing to you so far this season?
MC: Surprising? It is hard to say. Every week there is something new and there is a new challenge that comes about. For me, obviously, from Week One to Week Eight it is a much different challenge. In Week Two and Three, you are trying to gather yourself, kind of understand what your role and grow into that leadership role. Now, it is more we have defined that aspect so we are moving forward as an offense and trying to get better each and every week. Every week, there are new challenges. Now that I know what my role is and how to approach it week in and week out, I feel that we can work on other things.
Q: Last week you guys said the game against the Indianapolis Colts felt like a divisional game because you have faced them so many times. How does it feel now that you are in a real divisional game this week?
MC: It is a huge game for us. We are fighting for first place. I am sure there will be a great atmosphere there Sunday. We are all looking forward to it and we will up for the challenge.
Q: How do you feel the rhythm of the running game is going? It seems like you guys are still getting production there with guys like Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
MC: Those guys have done a great job. They have stepped up and they have fulfilled that role. We have had some injuries there. They continue to step up and continue to run the ball hard. That is what we are going to need.
Q: Wes Welker is third in the NFL with 56 receptions. Have you done anything with him specifically to build chemistry?
MC: Not really. I just tell him to get open and I try to throw him the ball. He does a great job and he continues to work hard. He is definitely a reliable guy when you are out there and you see him. His work ethic shows up on Sunday. You really see that. We just have to continue to do that and when he is open throw him the ball.
Q: You guys have run a few "Wild-Cat" plays. Are you interested in catching passes in that formation?
MC: Whatever they say. It is up Josh [McDaniels] and Bill [Belichick] when it comes down to that. I don't design the plays. I just try and go out there and execute them.
Q: What were your thoughts when you were lined up wide as a receiver?
MC: Throw me the ball, right? I was waving my hand. I thought he [Kevin Faulk] was going to give me the rock. That was the formation and that was what the play called for [to be lined up wide].