CASSEL: “It ends quickly, there is no doubt about it. The way that it ended, you can never leave with a great taste in your mouth.”
Q: What is the next step for this team?
CASSEL: “We just have to continue to be consistent and obviously have some big games next year. We have to continue to grow from what we did this year, learn from our mistakes and then put together another winning season.”
Q: What role do you feel like you will play in the off-season to makes sure nothing gets disrupted?
CASSEL: “I think now that we have laid a foundation over these last two years hopefully there will be some consistency. For me, being now in my third year and knowing the routine and what Coach Haley expects out of us, I think it is just going in and making sure guys are accountable, staying on top of my work and trying to continue to improve myself.”
Q: The offensive terminology didn’t change a lot this year from last. Did that help you?
CASSEL: “I think it was huge because I think you are able to build on what you did the year before and if you continue to do that, it gives you room for improvement, room for growth. It also helps because you are able to get familiar with the system itself. Again, you fix the things that you need to fix and then you continue to grow on the things that you did well.”
Q: How would you feel if the team decided to draft some “new toys” for the offense?
CASSEL: “You know how I am going to answer that question. It is not my decision, but the guys upstairs make those decisions and as a quarterback I just go out there and trust that they are going to put me in a position to succeed.”
Q: Will you have any input with where the team decides to go with the offensive coordinator position? Will you be in meetings or anything like that?
CASSEL: “I don’t really know that at this point. It is so early in the off-season, it hasn’t even been a day. I don’t know if they will come to me and ask my opinion, but we will see when we get there.”
Q: Do you have anyone in mind?
CASSEL: “Not really to be completely honest with you, maybe Pete (Moris). Pete looks like he is a great candidate (laughing). No, but I really haven’t put any thought into it at all, I have just been concentrating on the season. As we start to get into these next few weeks of the off-season I am sure I will have a little bit more time to think about it.”
Q: What happened with WR
CASSEL: “That is a tough question to answer because I can’t pinpoint one thing or another. A guy that you probably want to ask that question to more so is Coach Haley because he makes the decision on who suits up and who goes out.”
Q: What happened in the games that WR
CASSEL: “I think they did a great job against him in the Raiders game, obviously but also yesterday. They tried to control the run game with their front seven and a lot of times they were able to roll a safety over the top of him, put a corner right in front of him so he was double teamed most of the day. Out of the first five or six passes that we threw, he was the primary target on all of them. They just did an outstanding job of covering him. Their zone droppers did a great job of going up underneath him on play-action pass. They did a very good job of trying to take him out of the ball game.”
Q: Are there many defenses that you have seen that just take seven?
CASSEL: “Not really. This is one of the teams that we have played that are the most physically dominate with their front seven. They are built to stop the run. They are all big, they are all physical and their linebackers are built to stop the run as well.”
Q: How much do you think you can benefit from an offensive coordinator that works specifically with quarterbacks?
CASSEL: “I think it is important. It is also important to bring in somebody that tries to push you to be better and watches you and has an opinion about what you are doing whether it be footwork, arm action or certain reads. And then also be able to teach the offense in a manner that he is able to get his messages and a very clear understanding for why he is putting in the concept and making you understand it to be successful.”
Q: How hard is that for a guy to truly understand what it takes to make a QB improve?
CASSEL: “I am sure that it is rare, but obviously you see it happen in the NFL and there are guys that can do it. Sometimes it is a young guy that you never thought was going to be that guy and just stepped up and had a tremendous understanding for defenses and the offense and has done a great job.”
Q: So just because you haven’t heard of a guy doesn’t mean he can’t be terrific?
CASSEL: “I agree with that statement.”
Q: Can you tell us if Charlie Weis was calling all the plays yesterday?
CASSEL: “Yesterday we were operating as normal. I didn’t notice any difference. We have been doing that throughout the year where I just get the call in from Nick Sirianni, who is our QBs coach and we go.”
Q: So you are not aware of Todd Haley taking any play calling responsibilities away from Charlie Weis?
CASSEL: “Not at all.”
Q: Through the year coach Haley has called some plays right? It wasn’t 100 percent Charlie?
CASSEL: “Absolutely. Through the entire season if Todd feels strongly about something he will speak up and say, ‘I want this’ or ‘I want that.’ That is kind of how we go.”
Q: Was it your impression that the two of them worked well together throughout the year?
CASSEL: “Absolutely. I felt like they worked well together all year and there was a good working relationship inside of the building. It actually benefitted all of us having two guys that have had a lot of success at the coordinator position working together.”
Q: If Nick Sirianni is the guy in your ear, are you aware of whom the play calling is coming from?
CASSEL: “I have no idea, honestly, because Charlie is up in the booth and I know they are all on headset but the only voice I can hear is when he clicks in and goes, ‘hey, we are going to do this right now,’ or ‘go to play 16 and flip it.’”
Q: Just Sirianni right?
CASSEL: “It is never anybody else because there is only one person that can handle it.”
Q: Do you crave stability at the offensive coordinator position or have you been able to take the various coordinators and pick up certain things from all of them?
CASSEL: “I think that you learn something from each and every one of them and also as a quarterback you always look for stability but at the same time you know that in the NFL there is constant change no matter what team you are on. I believe that going though that over the last few years has really been an eye opening experience for me that says, ‘hey, you can succeed with whoever is out there.’ Everyone of them have great qualities about them or they wouldn’t be in that position.”
Q: Is that something the young guys have trouble understanding? The fact that you will carry some stuff over but it won’t be the same team?
CASSEL: “I think you do start from scratch in many regards, like this year we have a completely different team than what we were last year. Then again, I do believe that there is a foundation that is set and there is a core group of guys that will be back next year. While the team might change, hopefully there is enough stability and carry over that we can keep that edge that we built on this past season.”
Q: What do you need to improve on between now and next season?
CASSEL: “I think as a quarterback there are always things to improve on in the off-season. As I did last year and as I have done every year I will go back and watch the entire season and then write down notes and then set up my agenda for the off-season whether it is working on footwork or mechanics, anything like that. A lot of times it will be mental and me wanting to get better at seeing safeties or get better at recognizing defenses in this particular case.”
Q: How long will it take before you get into next season? Are you going to take time to decompress?
CASSEL: “I will probably take two to three weeks and let my mind diffuse a little bit and then I will get back at it. Again, it will start with watching the film and doing some light workers and then get going again.”
Q: Will you watch the playoffs?
CASSEL: “Of course, I will watch the playoffs. It is always fun for me to watch great teams play and watch great players play.”
Q: Have you seen highlights from yesterday’s game?
CASSEL: “No, I don’t think that they have come on since I have been here.”
Q: Are you interested in seeing them?
CASSEL: “No, not really. I’ll probably have to take a few weeks to watch that one, too.”
Q: How much improvement do you think this team made?
CASSEL: “We went from four wins to 10 wins and we were in the race to win a few more there. It is hard to win ball games in the NFL. I say that all the time, but I truly believe that. This team came a long way from where we were last year and hopefully we can continue to sustain that into the future.”