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Postgame Comments - Matt Cassel

Posted Dec 26, 2010

AFC WEST CHAMPIONS

Opening Statement: “Huge win for us. It was just a great all around win. It was a collective effort. Offensively, we got off to a great start today, which I think set the tone for the day. The defense played well throughout the entire day. Special teams stepped up. Again, it goes back to a great team victory for us and puts us one step closer to our goal, which is to win the AFC West.”

 

Talk about when you hit your first eight [passes], you hit Dwayne Bowe right away out in the flat. Why were you so efficient today? “I just think the coaches did a great job of putting together a great plan to start the game. Everybody came out and executed well. We were very efficient. It was run-pass. We gave them different looks and guys just stepped up. It was a great start for us.”

You had a lot of time [to throw the ball]. Can you talk about the pass protection? “I think the offensive line has done a great job for us all year. I continue to say this, but our success starts with them – whether it’s in the run game or the pass game. They gave me a tremendous amount of time today. I was able to sit back there and go through my reads. It was a wonderful thing.”

What kind of accomplishment is it for this program that you could clinch a division championship by the end of the day, depending on what happens to the San Diego Chargers? What does that say about this program after what you guys went through last year? “It’s a huge accomplishment. It’s a huge turnaround for us [after] being 4-12 and going through the year we did last year. I know there was a ton of adversity and all of those things were difficult to handle at times. But, to be here with 10 wins and one win from a division championship, it is remarkable to say the least.”

At the end of the third quarter, we thought you were getting a curtain call. Brodie [Croyle] went in. Todd [Haley] said that you were going to go back in, that you weren’t done, that they wanted you to clean something up. What did you need to clean up? “Coach just made the decision that we needed to fix a few things on the sideline, so he brought me off and we talked about [it].”

Define, what’s “fix a few things?” I don’t want to get into specifics right now about what we were going over and all of that. But, [he] wanted to talk about a few specific things as we move forward and we did. Then, I went back in the ball game. We talked about things I was going to do when I went back in.”

Talk about some of the pass plays to Jamaal Charles. “Jamaal’s been a guy that has continued to grow in the passing game throughout the entire year. He continues to get better and better. Today, was a great example of that. If you can get him the ball in space, he does some great things and really increases your stats in passing yards. So, you’ve got to love that. Throw him short passes and let him do the work. But, he continues to grow as a player. He’s outstanding and he just keeps getting better and better.”

I know you want to win every game. But, last spring, in the off-season program, how out of reach would 10 wins out of the first 15 games have seemed at the time after winning just four games last season? “I don’t know if we ever thought of it in that manner – 10 wins being out of reach. We knew there was going to be a lot of hard work ahead of us to accomplish that feat. Thankfully for us, everybody embraced the challenge. [They] came in and worked hard in the off season, in the camps and throughout the year. And, it’s put us in a great position.”

On the play of Dwayne Bowe: “He got going today. It was another outstanding performance by him. He made some outstanding catches, especially the one on the sideline at the end of the game. He’s been a playmaker for us all year and a guy that I’ve looked to and depended on. He’s continues to show.”

On Dwayne Bowe’s touchdown. “It was just an in-cut. I was able to put the ball on him and he did the rest. He ran a great route and he was open.”

Compare last week with this week. Last week you didn’t really practice. This week, you got all the reps. Can you talk about how significant that was and [how that led to] you being so efficient today. “I think that getting back out there and also having another week to heal [helped]. Each day, the doctor said it was getting better and better. I felt good last week and I feel better today.”

Were you reluctant to come out? “As a quarterback, you always want to be out there on the field. But, you also have to respect the fact that Coach makes a decision and come off [the field] when he tells you to.”

Can you talk about the chemistry between you and Dwayne Bowe? “I think Dwayne has done a tremendous job this season of becoming a leader of that receivers group. You can see him in meetings being attentive and really understanding what we are trying to get accomplished, and then also practicing well throughout the week. I think that a big part of his success is the way that he prepares and the way he practices because he’s done an outstanding job all year of going out and giving 110 percent effort in practice. Everybody always says, ‘Practice preparation, become game reality.’ And, that’s really been the case for Dwayne this year.”

With what you went through with the surgery and then coming back last week and having the game you did, how much did that reinforce your leadership and your confidence? “I think for myself, I’ve always been a confident guy. I always try to go out and do my best. I don’t think that surgery changed my approach or anything else in terms of how I would go out and perform.”

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