New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, November 12, 2008.
Patriots Quarterback Matt Cassel Press Conference November 12, 2008
Q: How are you doing on this short week?
MC: It's moving along quickly. We're trying to rush, put everything together, get the game plan tightened down and get ready to go tomorrow night.
Q: When people talk about the Jets it's usually Brett Favre first but can you talk about their defense?
MC: They've done a great job this year. They continue to get stronger. They're very opportunistic, I think they have 18 turnovers in the season, four turnovers returned for touchdowns. They're a ball hawking defense and I think they have nine interceptions and also nine fumble recoveries. They also have 16 different guys with sacks, so obviously they bring a lot of different pressure from multiple groups. They are playing really well. They've got a great secondary with [Kerry] Rhodes, [Darrelle] Revis and [Abram] Elam stepped in and is playing really well. Their front seven is doing a great job and obviously the additions with [Kris] Jenkins and [Calvin] Pace this year, they've really stepped up. They're doing a great job and they've got a great defense. We've got our work cut out for us.
Q: You said last week that you were starting to get into a comfort zone things and were slowing down, now all of a sudden you have a short week, do you feel like an extra wrench is getting thrown at you? How are you doing with the short week?
MC: Not at all. I feel fine. This is just part of what we do. You've got to adjust to things on the run and we've got to adjust to this and they do too. I'm sure both teams are out there trying to get the game plan set in stone and get ready to go for tomorrow night.
Q: How do you feel having already faced the Jets once this season?
MC: You definitely have a comfort level with the team, you're already familiar with their personnel, some of the things they do schematically but obviously as the season has progressed they've changed a little bit and so have we. It will be interesting to see how that all plays out tomorrow.
Q: When you think back to the first time game against the Jets there's a perception that you've come a long way since then. Do you see it that way or do you see it as you're the same guy that you were back then?
MC: I think we're continuing, as a unit as and as an offensive unit we've continued to grow. I think myself personally, I've continued to grow, continued to mature within the offense. I feel like I'm a different player from what I was then but not an overall reconstruction of who I was just you continue to grow and become more comfortable.
Q: How much have you grown?
MC: I don't know it's hard to say. It's just one of those things, you go out and you play every week and hopefully you play well. We're winnings some games so that's all we can ask for.
Q: Looking at the Jets schematically, since this is the first team you've faced twice, do you look at the Jets like, 'well this player did this to me, so I have to watch him or I have to watch his speed' - is that a little different at all?
MC: You always try to get things and take things away from the first time you play [a team]. That's what you rely on your film study for, to see how certain players are playing to see if they are playing different from the first time you played them. That's why you're able to go back and take some small details away from that and try to apply them to the game come Thursday night.
Q: How's it having Tom [Brady] back?
MC: It's been as good as it's been. He's in there getting rehab, he's getting better and everybody's hoping the best for him. It's great to have him back around the locker room he's obviously a great leader and he's always there for support for myself and our other teammates as well. He's a guy that we love having around and the more he's around the better.
Q: Tomorrow night is Troy Brown night can you talk a little bit about what it was like having him as a teammate? And would it have been cool to have in your offense now?
MC: Anytime you can have a guy like Troy Brown it would be obviously a huge asset. He's been an amazing player for a long time and a lot of those Super Bowl banners are because of him and his leadership, his work ethic and his determination. Obviously that trickled down throughout the entire locker room and he was one of the guys that everybody looked up to. To honor him tomorrow night is a great honor for him, he was a great player and you just can't say enough good things about a guy like Troy Brown.
Q: Why have you and Wes Welker been able to develop chemistry so quickly?
MC: He gets open. It's about as easy as that.
Q: How do you know that? Do your eyes go that way first sometimes?
MC: No, it is just that you go through your reads as a quarterback and he's a reliable guy. He continues to work hard, coaches continue to put him in a position to get open and he's been able to do that.
Q: Where you nervous at all going into that game against the Jets? Because it was your first start after all these years was there a case of nerves then?
MC: There's no doubt, there's no doubt. This position is a lonely position and it's a tough position especially going into your first game. As you go in the season it starts to calm down a little bit but there's obviously an adrenaline pump and there's a little bit of nervousness of the unexpected. Then you get in there and you realize it's football and you've been working hard for this, you've been practicing for this for a long time. Eventually it starts to all settle down and you say, 'I'm ready' but there is definitely some nervousness going into that first game.
Q: Now there really isn't?
MC: There are your butterflies, your typical butterflies, then as the game sets in you move on and you start getting going.
Q: Yesterday you said this was like cramming for a midterm what are the similarities?
MC: Well you've got your week is cut straight in half. Normally the days you're off resting your body and everything like that, you're in here studying film, getting going on the personnel, on the game film and everything like that. It's just a shortened week in which the time allotment that you have to really study these guys and get ready for them is cut in half. You just have to be ready to go out there and play physically without as much preparation mentally.
Q: Where does Brett Favre rate in your book?
MC: I've been watching him for a long time. I mean he's always been one of my favorites. He's a guy that goes out there and competes and competes the way that you want to see week in and week out. He has fun and continues to make great, amazing plays, so it's always fun to watch. He's up there in my top three to four or five, I don't know.
Q: Have you gotten any advice from Tom [Brady] since he's been back?
MC: Not too much. We talk, we talk about football. It's not so much always advice as it is maybe bouncing some questions here and there. When we do talk sometimes it's just personal stuff, 'how's your family?' It's not always football oriented.
Q: Has he been the meetings?
MC: No he hasn't.
Q: I know game wise you don't have this kind of experience but even in practice how much experience do you have in wet weather and inclement weather?
MC: Well, when you play in New England we've had plenty of practices out there in cold weather and wet weather so we'll be fine out there. We're just going to go out there and play. You have to deal with the conditions. I don't know what the conditions are going to be. What are the conditions going to be?
Q: It's supposed to rain…
MC: Oh great, I'm looking forward to that.
Q: What are your general thoughts on BenJarvus [Green-Ellis]? What do you remember seeing when he first reported?
MC: I know he had a heck of a college career and everybody talked about him and were high on him when he came in and he obviously performed well in training camp. We saw that he really pushed himself and that there was a reason he made this team. Then for him to step up the way that he did when we had some injuries at the running back position was great for us and spectacular. He did a great job and he continues to do a great job. I think he's really earned a spot on this team with the way he's performed and continues to perform week in and week out.
Q: Did you have a component on your offense as you dig deeper and deeper down the depth chart, is there a certain amount of trust that needs to be there and is that won over in practice on a week to week basis?
MC: You just hope guys step in and step up. That's what happens in this league. There's going to be injuries, there's people that go down and when you're a backup in any system you have to be ready to step in and step up, close ranks and move forward because that what happens. We play a volatile game and it's a violent game, people are going to get injured. That's just really what it is and a lot of these guys wouldn't be here unless they had the talent level and the coaches didn't believe in them.
Q: The offense didn't need to run as much last year because of the success of the passing game but this year you've had a good running game. How much do you think that has helped your development?
MC: I think the running game always helps any quarterback. That's a quarterback's best friend sometimes because it takes the pressure off you in the passing game and it makes them think of different dimensions of the game. They can't always just rush the passer to one spot. The running game helps any offense and it's definitely helped us this year.