Q: Can the way you won the game at Denver last year carry over to this year?
CASSEL: “I really don’t think last year has anything to do with this year at this point. It is a completely different team, both us and them from what they were last year. Last year was great and it built some momentum as we went into last off-season, but in terms of where we are now it is going to have no merit going into this game.”
Q: Oakland stacked up to stop the run. Do you expect teams to do the same and follow that blueprint?
CASSEL: “It will be interesting to see how they approach us. We know that we have been running the ball well and they did a good job last week. We knew going in that they had a big physical front that was going to try and challenge us physically. They did a good job stopping the run all day, that just puts the balance on us, the quarterback and the receivers to go out and make plays and take advantage of those one-on-one opportunities on the outside.”
Q: Can other teams do these same things to stop the run or does Oakland have the type of personnel to do it?
CASSEL: “I think that teams have tried to do that. Buffalo was a good example as well, they tried to stack the box and play a lot of man coverage on the outside and we were able to get a few big runs here and there. In terms of last week, they have great personnel and they have a lot of speed at the linebacker position and their front four was probably the most physical front four that we will play all year. They just did a good job but we have to continue to try and run the ball because that is something we do well.”
Q: What is the game plan when facing a guy like Broncos CB Champ Bailey?
CASSEL: “With a guy like Champ Bailey you have to go into the game, as a quarterback, with great respect for a guy that has been to many Pro Bowls, has been playing for as long as he has and at the level that he has. You go in and know his strengths, he has tremendous ball skills but at the same time, you can’t be scared to go after him if the route takes you there. You have to say, ‘hey, this is the coverage that we are getting, let’s go there and see what we can do.’”
Q: Will offensive coordinator Charlie Weis gameplan for an elite corner?
CASSEL: “I think from one week to the next you look at the personnel that they have and you try to take advantage of some mismatches that you can try and create on the offensive side of the ball.”
Q: Were you surprised that this team ran into a penalty filled game?
CASSEL: “We did, we got kind of mixed up in the penalties and some of the turnovers that we have been doing such a great job with, taking care of the football. I think this week there is an emphasis on getting back to doing what has made us successful up to this point.”
Q: Has your relationship with Broncos coach Josh McDaniels changed now that you are competing against each other?
CASSEL: “I think it has changed just because you normally don’t call the opposing coach of an arch rival and say, ‘hey! What do you think of this? And what do you think of that?’ I do get to talk to him and catch up with him in the off-season but when it gets to season it is pretty much all business and I have a job to do and I know that he has a job to do.”
Q: Coach Haley said you two exchanged some words on the sideline after the INT in Oakland. He said you were more of a vocal leader. Are you more vocal now than you were last year in the locker room?
CASSEL: “I think in some cases I am, there is no doubt about it. It is just the passion and the eagerness to want to win. I was upset with myself more than anything else in that situation because you never want to give the defense an opportunity to make a play on the ball, especially when you are in field goal range and you have an opportunity to put some more points on the board and further your lead. I was more mad at myself but as we went into the locker room it was just one of those situations to let the guys know that we are up 10-0 on the road and we just have to go out and play a good half of football.”
Q: What do you remember hearing about Kansas City/Denver both wanting you to come play for each of them?
CASSEL: “I just know that there was a lot of speculation out there and a lot of rumors. That had been going on for awhile ever since I was franchised at that point. I know there was a crazy time and I was just eager to find a home. Looking back now I just feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to come here and be a part of this franchise and get this thing going in the right direction.”
Q: It seemed like it would have been a comfortable thing to do following your old offensive coordinator some place?
CASSEL: “It is a good question, but to be completely honest as a player it was more one of those situations of me just wanting the opportunity to play again and be a starter. I felt that I had the ability to do so and anywhere that I was going to go, I was going to be happy about.”
Q: How do you feel about how it has worked out and the organization that you are in?
CASSEL: “Like I said before, I feel blessed and lucky to be a part of this organization and it has been fun so far this year to kind of get this thing turned around. We know that we have a lot more work to do but I think at the end when it starts going in the right direction and we accomplish some things, it is going to be all the more worthwhile.”
Q: Will Coach Haley get more input from you this week since you have more familiarity with Josh McDaniels?
CASSEL: “There hasn’t been any extra emphasis up to this point. I am sure if he has any questions he may try and come and ask one of us.”
Q: Their defense has had some injuries, what do they look like on tape now?
CASSEL: “Watching them I think the first thing that stands out to me is how veteran their secondary group is and that starts with S Brian Dawkins and CB Champ Bailey. I don’t think they have one guy in the secondary that is under nine years vested and that is pretty impressive when you look around the league because you don’t see that a lot. These guys are experienced, they have great route recognition and I think that is a strength of their team right now and something going into this game it is something that we have to be aware of. In terms of their defensive fronts, they have changed it up going 3-4, they have been 4-3 and right now going into this game it is kind of the unexpected.”
Q: How is playing in Denver different from playing in Oakland?
CASSEL: “Oakland was an interesting place to play to say the least. A lot of friendly people out there and they are all cheering for you. They want you to be the best and I am sure it will be the same as we go into Denver this week.” (Laughing)
Q: What separates an above average quarterback from a below average quarterback?
CASSEL: “I think as a quarterback taking care of the ball is important. You have to make plays and you also have to be accountable when it comes down to crunch time. When you get the ball and you have two minutes to go and you are down and have to score, I think that is a lot of times what good quarterbacks are judged on.”
Q: Was the Buffalo game a good game for you with that being said?
CASSEL: “I think so, I think it was a good stepping stone for me in the right direction. Hopefully there will be many more of those to come.”