Q&A with Matt Cassel 1/5

Posted Jan 6, 2011

OPENING STATEMENT: “I think the team is ready to go. I think we all have a since of urgency. You can see it over the last two days. The last two days we had more guys in here collectively as a group, than we’ve had all year. I think everybody is excited about the opportunity to be in the playoffs and also excited about playing at home. We know we got our work cut out for us against a great Baltimore team. Obviously you look across the board, especially on their defensive side of the ball and its Pro Bowlers all over the field. From an offensive standpoint they’re an experienced group, they’re a veteran group, they’ve played together for a long period of time. For us, we’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’re also up for the challenge and we’re excited about being in this game and going out there to compete on Sunday.”


Q: Is it a big deal your top wide receiver wasn’t out there today? Assuming he plays Sunday can you guys pick up where you left off without having all your practice time together?

CASSEL: “I believe so. We’ve been together for 17 weeks now, and hopefully he is back sooner than later. And he rests up and gets back on the field and we’re able to continue to work together. From a timing stand point I think I understand Dwayne’s body language, his ability to run certain routes and I think we will be fine.”

Q: Did you get to throw to the new guy (WR Kevin Curtis) at all today?

CASSEL: “I did. We got to throw a little bit today, and I’m sure that will increase and progress as he learns the offense and gets acclimated to what’s going on”

Q: Assuming that he has to play some on Sunday. How comfortable would you be with that arrangement?

CASSEL: “I’m comfortable, if he is out there, there is a reason he is out there. We believe, and the coaches believe that he can get the job done. That’s why he is out there in the first place.”

Q: How helpful was QB Tom (Brady) when you talked to him this week?

CASSEL: “Tom has been great. I continue to go to him for support. He is a guy I have constantly leaned on throughout my time here in Kansas City, and throughout my career. He says go out there and have fun, and enjoy the experience, because there are a lot of other teams that wish they were in your position.”

Q: Tom said he passed along a little information about the Ravens to you, because he has played them this year. Something helpful?

CASSEL: “He told me everything we needed to know to beat them (laughs). I think we’re good to go, even though they went into overtime. We had a brief discussion about their team. He just reiterated what you see on film that they’re a big physical team, they have an outstanding front seven. You look across the ball you see Ray Lewis who has been playing forever who is an outstanding player. You got (LB Terrell) Suggs, (DT Haloti) Ngata. In the secondary you’ve got two great safeties with (Ed) Reed and also (Dawan) Landry who has been playing outstanding. They’re an outstanding defense, and they’re the best defense we have seen at this point. We are excited about playing.”

Q: You’ve never looked across the line of scrimmage into number 52’s eyes before, have you? Are you kind of looking forward to that?

CASSEL: “I’m excited about it, he is a great player. Everybody knows about Ray Lewis, we have seen him play for years now, and you respect that. But at the same time we’ve got a job to do ourselves, and hopefully we can go out there and play to the best of our ability.”

Q: What is the common thread between the teams in the playoffs with ties to New England (Kansas City and Atlanta)?

CASSEL: “I think the three franchises are playing good football right now. I haven’t really thought that much about that to be completely honest. I have been concentrating on what’s been going on here in Kansas City. I know that it starts with (General Manager) Scott Pioli and Coach (Todd) Haley and it works its way down to the coaching staff and on to the players. We’ve been doing a great job this year, we’ve accomplished a lot but there is a lot more to accomplish. Our second season starts this weekend on Sunday. As Coach Haley said to us starting today this is a one game season. We’re not worried about anything else but the Baltimore Ravens and this game.”

Q: Are there characteristics and a makeup of the teams that seem to carry over?

CASSEL: “I’m sure that there are a lot of similarities, and how the organization approaches high character guys and guys that want to come in and work and be a part of a program. At the same time I can’t really put a finger on every one of those.”

Q: What did you learn from Tom about the importance of the playoffs and what do you think you can learn in your first experience as a playoff quarterback?

CASSEL: “I think I learn a lot from Tom. I think it goes to preparation. He was so meticulous and especially not just throughout the year but also when it came playoff time. His awareness of what’s going on in the game plan, and went over the game plan 3-4 times the night before the game. So there wasn’t any stone unturned. We made sure we were meeting with the receivers, meeting with the running backs, and everybody was on the same page so there were no mental errors or you try to minimize that as much as possible. So going into this week I think that it is very important for me, as well as the other guys to take it upon ourselves that we do whatever we can to be prepared on Sunday. Another thing I learned is come Sunday it comes back to playing football. You got to go out there have fun, enjoy the experience, and embrace the opportunity because we worked so hard to get here. If you just go out there and you’re shell shocked by the whole fact that its playoffs, you won’t enjoy it, and you really do have to enjoy it.”

Q: How do you put the Oakland game in the rear view mirror and get ready to play the next week?

CASSEL: “Well, I think we have to put that behind us, and we have to move on. It comes down to a one game season; there is no next week if you can’t win this week. I think we all turned the page pretty quickly here. We made some corrections from the game. In terms of dwelling on it, it won’t do us any good come this Sunday. We’ve got to get back to playing Chiefs football, we’ve got to obviously play better, and we plan on doing that this Sunday.”

Q: When you guys come in on Tuesday on your day off, is that where the leaders step up, and you all do it as a team, or is everyone doing their own thing? You said you saw the biggest group ever, so is that a chance for you all to be there for each other this week?

CASSEL: “Normally on Tuesdays the coaches are in meetings and trying to put together the game plan, and do that and watch a lot of film. When I said that I saw the biggest number of guys in here on a Tuesday, the receivers group came in on their own and watched film together. The tight ends group, the running backs group, the quarterback groups which is normally in here. But you just saw all these groups come in and watch film together, and they’re trying to get a head start, and that’s great to see. I think that’s what we need. We have to increase the intensity this week. And everybody understands the implications of what Sunday is.”

Q: You said intensity and you said urgency. So this has got to feel a whole lot different than any other week of the season. Is that right?

CASSEL: “Well I think so, its playoff time. Again, there are only so many teams that get into the playoffs every year. We’re excited to be one of those teams and we know that we have to take care of business on Sunday in order for us to continue to be successful.”

Q: Are there any motivational quotes you see around the practice facility, are there any out there that really hit home with you or the team?

CASSEL: “There are a bunch out there, and Coach Haley does a great job of continuing to motivate us and continuing to push us in the right direction. There’s not one that sticks out to me because there are so many that I sometimes get them jumbled in my thoughts. But he does a really great job of motivating this team, and he constantly reminds us of the importance of why those quotes will help us be better players. ”

Q: As good as they are against the run does that make the pass game all the more important this week, and do you see an opportunity there?

CASSEL: “Well, I think we can’t be afraid to run the ball, but we also have to be good in the pass game, and have take advantage of opportunities if we get some. Our whole approach all year in when we’ve been most successful is when we have a balanced attack. If we can go in there and have a balanced attack, and hopefully we can be successful.”

Q: What do you remember about your last postseason start?

CASEEL: “That was a while ago. It was back in high school. It was a lot of fun, we ended up losing. I handed off the ball a lot. We had kid named Wesley, he rushed for like 245 yards, I didn’t have to do much but we lost like 45-44. So hopefully it’s like that on Sunday, but we are on the winning side.”

Q: Your coach makes the dirty sweaty cap fashionable here. Do you guys ever give him a hard time about that?

CASSEL: “It’s pretty amazing to think that that thing is that grungy, and that disgusting considering he’s had that knee and hasn’t been able to work out. So can you imagine how old that thing is? We notice it alright, and we’re not going to tell him anything, so I’ll leave that up to you that he’s starting a little cult going on here.”

Q: If this game goes to overtime, there are new rules. Can you see some interesting coaching decisions where you may want to pin a team deep so you can get good field position? What do you think the dynamic could be?

CASSEL: “I think it adds to the competition of the game and I think it gives each team a fair opportunity to go down and put points on the board and continue the game. If we’re fortunate enough to be in the game and playing in overtime to have that opportunity, then that’s great.”

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