New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, December 4, 2008.
Q: What kind of role have Dan Koppen and the offensive line, as a whole, played in your development this season?
MC: They have done a great job. They really have rallied around me. They continue to instill confidence in me, tell me that and support me. It all starts with the offensive line. Every offense starts with the offensive line. We have to have protection, we have to do well in the running game and they have done that all season.
Q: How important is the relationship specifically between you and Dan Koppen?
MC: It is really big in our offense, especially with all of the communication that goes on from the line changes to the linebacker positions. We have to have a good understanding of what is going on between us from our protection scheme each and every week.
Q: What will you draw on to personally rebound from a game like last Sunday against Pittsburgh?
MC: You just have to always go out and continue to work hard, watch the film, see what you did wrong from an offensive unit and individually. Then, you just have to go out and do better the next time out. That is what sports is all about.
Q: Do you have anyone you lean on? Is there anyone that you go to for counsel or advice?
MC: No, I think we just rally together as a team. We know we have to play better as a team and there is no one individual that you pinpoint for that game. You have to take your hats off to the Steelers, they are a good defense and they did a good job. We needed to make more plays and we didn't do that on Sunday. Individually, I have things to work on. I need to take care of the ball, obviously. You just have to come back and rebound and that is what you have to do in this game. You don't rely on any one person to do that for you. You just rely on yourself, prepare to do the best of your abilities and try to get ready for the next week.
Q: Qwest Field is known as one of the louder stadiums in the league, how do you go about this week preparing for that?
MC: Just try to crank up the noise at practice and get as prepared as we can. The Jets game [at Giants Stadium] was one of the first ones that I have played in this year and we just have to deal with whatever elements there are.
Q: Can you talk about specifically what is in your week of preparation to make sure you are on the same page with your teammates?
MC: Like I said, we just try to emulate the noise as best as we can at practice. We have to use a different message of cadence. You have be sure to communicate what we are trying to get done in the huddle, be loud and if there are any questions ask before we break that huddle because we know that can be tough at times.
Q: Seattle is 2-10. Do you expect them to fight to the finish? What do you think their mindset will be when you guys go out there?
MC: I am sure they will fight to the finish. This is their job. Despite what their record shows they are a very good defense and a very good team. They are an experienced team and we definitely have to go out and put together our best game. They have been in a lot of tight games this year that have not gone their way. So we are expecting a dogfight out there. They play very well at home so we are going to have to be up and ready to go.
Q: Seattle's pass defense isn't rated very highly. Do you think this might be a game where you and Randy Moss can take advantage of that?
MC: You hope so. Every week you go in and hope that you have production in the passing game and also in the running game. Hopefully, come Sunday, they will give us some opportunities to hit some throws. But you will never know until you get going in the game and see how they are going to play you and see how your scheme is going to work out against what they are going to do.
Q: What is your relationship with Lofa Tatupu?
MC: He is one of my close friends. We actually talk all the time. We had a great relationship in college and continue to have a great relationship. Every offseason, we usually spend some time together. He is a great player, a great friend and he's doing his thing.
Q: How did that friendship start? You were on the same team but play completely different positions.
MC: I don't know. We ran with the same crowd, had a good relationship and always had a good bond together. I respected him as a player - on and off the field we just clicked.
Q: You are in different parts of the country here, you mentioned you talk a lot, did you talk this week?
MC: No. We haven't talked this week, but I am sure I will see him come Sunday.
Q: This weekend the MIAA EMass High School Super Bowl's will be played here at Gillette Stadium, can you talk about what that would mean to a high school player?
MC: It has to be exciting. I remember in high school, when I was there I played at the Coliseum. For these young kids to get an opportunity to come into a professional stadium and to play in this environment, it has to be fun and a memorable experience for any 18-, 17-, or 16-year-old kid.
Q: Did you play for a championship in high school?
MC: We played for a 3A championship so it is a great experience. Still, some of my fond memories come form that game.
Q: Tom Brady always did a good job of bouncing back after a tough game. Have you talked to him this week about dealing with that?
MC: Not too much. We talked after the game briefly. He offered his typical support and said, 'these games are going to happen.' This is the NFL and that is a good team out there. We just didn't have a lot of things go well in the second half. To lose confidence in yourself or the team wouldn't help us down the stretch. We need to go out and play better collectively as a unit, as a team and individually and everybody will be OK.
Q: What is the mindset of a team with four games left in the regular season?
MC: One game at a time. It all starts with one game. We can't do anything without going out and handling and taking care of business in Seattle. Really, it starts with this game and we look forward after that. It all starts with Seattle.
Q: Did Lofa Tatupu (a Wrentham, Mass. native) give you any advice whenever you first moved here on living in the area?
MC: Wear a lot of layers [laughter]. That is about it. Stay indoors when you can.
Q: He didn't give you any restaurant tips or anything like that?
MC: No, I think he was here a little bit earlier when Mosi [Tatupu] was here. I still keep in contact with Mosi and play some golf with him as well.
Q: Do you and UCLA alum Matthew Slater have anything on the line this week with the USC-UCLA game this weekend?
MC: Yes, we do. Of course we do. I am going to be given a lot of points I am sure.