Q: What have you gotten better at personally through this camp?
CASSEL: “There are a bunch of things that I feel like I have gotten better at throughout training camp. In particular, I think we have worked on a lot of different things in terms of the physical aspects and footwork was something big for me.”
Q: As the quarterback, how important is it to open up the field with deeper passes to be able to get that intermediate route?
CASSEL: “I think in every offense you want to have the ability to make big plays. Also, when you get those big chunk plays it makes it a lot easier to not go for second and third down each and every time. You want to have the ability to (make big plays) and there have been a few times where we have kind of missed opportunities throughout the preseason to have that happen. As we move forward, hopefully that will become a positive for us.”
Q: How much more confident are you now than you were a year ago?
CASSEL: “I feel like I am a lot more confident this year. A lot of that has to do with my familiarity with my teammates, my surroundings, the coaching staff and what is expected of me. It also goes back to Coach (Todd) Haley now understanding what he expects out of his players and out of me as the quarterback of his team.”
Q: Did you not feel that you knew last year what the coaches expected out of you?
CASSEL: “I knew what I expected out of myself and I knew as the quarterback of this team what I wanted to do and how I wanted to be perceived in the locker room but at the same time, you are still getting comfortable with your surroundings at that point. Coming into this year I think I had a better overall understanding of being in this position.”
Q: Looking back at your years as a backup quarterback, how important was training camp and this time of year for your development?
CASSEL: “Being a backup quarterback during this time of the year was pivotal. It was extremely important because this is where you get most of your snaps, this is where you get on the field and get that game action. I have said it before; there is no substitute for that game-time speed and the speed of the game. Even if it is preseason, everything is running about 110 mph faster than when you are out there practicing. You just can’t simulate that. It is a big thing for a lot of backups.”
Q: When you are not playing games during the regular season and you are not getting first team snaps in practice, can you realistically get a lot better during the season?
CASSEL: “I believe you can mentally be prepared and there is no doubt about it, if you push yourself as a player you can mentally stay involved. That was always something I prided myself on because I wasn’t playing a lot, but always felt like I was ready because I prepared myself mentally and physically during the week.”
Q: What gives you the most confidence right now?
CASSEL: “I have a lot of confidence in where this team is going and what we are doing. Like I said before, on the defensive side of the ball and the offensive side of the ball, if you look back to where we were last year, I think we have made a tremendous amount of progress. I really do, especially offensively. I look at this team and a lot of people ask the question, ‘Do you think you can win?’ And I say, ‘absolutely.’ With the guys that we have on our offensive side of the ball, I absolutely feel that we can be a very productive offense and that we can win ball games.”
Q: What does this offense do best?
CASSEL: “That is a very good question. Right now I think in preseason we have been trying a lot of different things. To go into what we have not done well/what have we done the best, I don’t know if I can answer that question now without reviewing everything and going through what we have done.”
Q: How vanilla have you guys been?
CASSEL: “I think when you look at the preseason itself we haven’t really gone into a game in which we game planned and broken down all the film and gone into it. It is preseason and we understand that but at the same time you always want to go out there and be productive.”
Q: How different is it having an offensive coordinator running the offense instead of the head coach?
CASSEL: “I think Coach Haley did a great job as the offensive coordinator last year, I really do. He was our offensive coordinator last year and he was in all of our offensive meetings. As we move forward into this year coach (Charlie) Weis has taken over that responsibility and he has done a great job.”
Q: As a quarterback do you have to go back and start over every year to make sure your footwork is good?
CASSEL: “I think everything with a quarterback starts with your footwork and your mechanics and it puts you in a good position to make accurate throws. From there everything else comes along with it. I think it is something that I always take a lot of pride in is having good mechanics.”
Q: Have you experienced any tiring in your throwing arm as a result of training camp/preseason? Have you ever gone through something like that?
CASSEL: “No, I mean camp is camp so you know you are going to be throwing a lot of balls, but you just have to take care of yourself. Whether it is ice or whatever you have to do, you have to alleviate the problem by just getting on top of it and working with the trainers.”