New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, November 9, 2008.
Q: Can you talk about your comfort in a shotgun offense?
MC: Well that's what we do; we do multiple personnel groups, we mix it up, we spread them out, we bring them in. Coach Josh McDaniels did a great job tonight of mixing it up and mixing up the personnel and we executed well and were able to get a victory tonight.
Q: Are you getting more comfortable understanding when to run?
MC: You just kind of feel it as you see the defense and you see what they're running and the opening appears and you just kind of take advantage of it.
Q: Are you calmer now? Is the game slowing down for you, or maybe even your heart rate?
MC: I think early on the heart rate was definitely through the roof, especially when you get into that first quarter and there's obviously the adrenaline that goes along with playing this game. But as the weeks go on you kind of get into a routine and start to realize how to manage yourself before the game and as the game starts to goes on and how to prepare yourself, so it's a little bit easier now than it was earlier in the season.
Q: How would you describe where the offense is at this point in the season?
MC: We're winning ball games. We're in first place in the division and that's where we want to be and we've got a big ballgame coming up this week on Thursday night and we've got a quick turnaround. Everybody's excited about it. It's against the Jets and we're always excited to play the Jets and they're coming to us this time, so it should be a big challenge for us. We'll be up for the challenge, I'm sure.
Q: With your time of possession and a 19-play drive, is controlling the clock something you pride yourself on?
MC: There's no doubt. If we can control the ball and keep their offense off the field, then they can't score points. As long as we can stay on the field and continue to put together long drives and take time off the clock that's great for us; it keeps our defense fresh and keeps our offense moving down the field.
Q: Wes Welker became the first player to have six or more catches in his first nine games. What is it about him that makes him your go-to guy?
MC: He's just a stud. He goes out and he gives you 150 percent every single play. There's no let up in the guy, he's got fight and he's got grit. He's a guy that every guy on this team looks to and says 'I want to play with you and I want you on my team' because he's a special guy and he continues to get better and he continues to work hard and he's never complacent. And that's one thing Welker is so good at: he just continues to push himself to be better.
Q: Why do you think you were able to move the chains so well today?
MC: Just execution of the offense. Everybody did a great job. The offensive line did a great job blocking, the running backs ran the ball well for positive yardage, and we were able to convert on some third downs—some big third downs in the game. All those things combine together and you get a good outcome.
Q: How often are you getting further down in your reads—second, third, fourth—compared to the beginning of the season.
MC: I think we're at the same point. Before I came in early in the season, I was a fourth year guy, so it's not like I didn't know the system. I knew the system all along so I would always go through my reads. Now, yeah, I think there's a little bit higher comfort level because you're more familiar with your guys and what they do well, whether it be this receiver or a tight end or a running back, and you kind of go to those guys on certain routes or certain coverages.
Q: Can you talk a little about your touchdown run? Were you surprised when you saw that big opening?
MC: It was zone coverage and it just opened up and parted and I saw the opening and just stuck my head down and went for it and was able to get in the end zone. It was a good feeling—good way to start the game.
Q: What's the biggest challenge you foresee in Thursday's game against the Jets?
MC: These games are always tough. They're always tight and it's a division opponent and they're playing well right now and they've got a great defense. They give you multiple looks and multiple schemes. Their offense is obviously playing well and it's led by one of the greatest quarterbacks that ever lived in Brett Favre. So we've got our work cut out for us, but like I said before, we'll be up for the challenge. We'll be ready to go. There will be great energy here and it'll be fun.
Q: Is it a new challenge for you to see a team for the second time and for them to have seen you before as well?
MC: I'm sure there's a little of that, but in the end it all comes down to execution. Week in and week out, whoever executes better on offense and on defense and on special teams is going to win the game, so that's what it comes down to every week.
Q: What special challenges will you face playing a game Thursday night on such a short turnaround and how are you feeling after this game?
MC: We'll be ready to go. We don't have a choice, so we'll prepare and we'll prepare hard and we'll be ready to go. Obviously the week is cut in half, but it's also cut in half for them as well. We just have to go out and fight and prepare and be ready to go Thursday night.