Q: Do the players really understand the rivalry here? Do you realize how much the fans hate the Raiders?
CASSEL: “I think you get a sense of the rivalry, the competitiveness and as you said, the fans you can definitely see a little bit of a grudge there. As I have lived here the last two year I have seen it more and more.”
Q: What is the strangest thing you have seen out there?
CASSEL: “There are a number of different things that happen out in the parking lot as we come into the stadium. I probably shouldn’t talk about that. While you are in the stadium there is definitely the infamous Black Hole and you look over and there are costumes and people screaming at you. But what a great atmosphere for a football game.”
Q: What did it mean to you personally to lead that game-winning drive at the end of the game?
CASSEL: “For me it was a big step and anytime you get that opportunity to go down in the closing minutes of a ball game and have that last chance to put the team in a position to win it, I thought it was a big step for me in the right direction. I am just excited that we were able to work together and move down the field and get the win.”
Q: Richard Seymour, your former teammate, is he still playing at the same level that you have known him to play?
CASSEL: “Absolutely. You watch the film and you turn it on and he is a guy that stands out play after play. He is big, he is physical, he pushes the pocket and it is something that I have been around for a long time in New England and now being able to watch him over the last few years, you can definitely see he still has that competitive edge.”
Q: When you are watching the tape this week, what have you seen that is different from last year? Why are they better?
CASSEL: “They are playing together; they are playing really good football in terms of being physical. Their front seven is playing really well and then also they are mixing and matching their defensive scheme a little bit differently than what they have in the past and they are giving you a variety of different looks which is a little bit more challenging from what I have seen in the past from them.”
Q: Coach Haley has been consistent in saying that you are not a good team yet, but a team in transition. What are your thoughts on what this team needs to do to call yourself a good team?
CASSEL: “I think that is a difficult question because I think there are a number of different factors that come in to answer that question. Todd has a good understanding for how he perceives this team and what a good team is and us as players know that there is a lot of work still to be done during the season to really become a good team. We know that there is a lot of season left to be played so until you are in the playoffs, until you win your division and do those types of things, I think we are still working to be a good team.”
Q: CB Nnamdi Asomugha may not be available this weekend. Does that affect how you approach things?
CASSEL: “I think week in and week out you always look for advantages that you can take, looking at personnel or certain schemes. I think the coaches as we go through the week will try to come up with the best plan for us to be successful.”
Q: WR Randy Moss is looking for a team right now. What is your opinion on where he could end up?
CASSEL: “I have a lot of respect for Randy. He was a teammate of mine for a few years and a guy that I really enjoyed being around. He is a professional and a guy that works extremely had and did a great job for us. I have nothing but positive things to say about Randy Moss and I wish him the best.”
Q: Did you petition to Scott Pioli and Todd Haley to get this guy here?
CASSEL: “That is really is not my job. Of course I think Randy is a good guy and you always say, ‘I’d like to have this guy,’ (laughs) but at the same time, that is not my job. My job is to try and prepare to the best of my ability this week to get ready for the Oakland Raiders.”
Q: What was he like in the locker room?
CASSEL: “He was fun. He loved to crack jokes and we had a lot of fun.”
Q: Does this feel like a pivotal game this early in the season?
CASSEL: “Absolutely it is a pivotal game. I think going into this game you look at the records of both teams and where we are at in the division, I think as we move forward this is a game that can either separate us or keep us in the pack.”
Q: Can you talk about C/G
CASSEL: “I thought Jon Asamoah did a great job. He stepped in and we didn’t miss a beat. Unfortunately (G Ryan) Lilja came down with an injury and wasn’t able to play, but Jon stepped right in. For a rookie in his first start and not knowing whether or not he was going to play until right before the game, I thought he handled it with tremendous character and tremendous composure and he did an outstanding job for us.”
Q: Do you think that has anything to do with the veteran leadership surrounding him?
CASSEL: “I am sure it is very comforting to have guys like C
Q: This game features the first and second ranked rushing offenses. Are you anxious to see who is going to out run who?
CASSEL: “I am always anxious to see that. I think it starts with my boots, my play fakes after I hand it off and going down field to help block, I will definitely get down there (kidding). With all joking aside, it will be fun and as I talked about earlier, it is going to be a big physical game and we know what kind of game this is going to be. I have said it before, but we will have to bring our hard hats and get ready to go.”
Q: You have gone 119 consecutive passes without an INT. Do you think about that much? What are your thoughts on that streak?
CASSEL: “I just try to go out and do my job and part of my job is taking care of the football. Up to this point so far I have been able to do a good job of that and hopefully that will continue. You don’t really think about that. As long as I am doing my job and taking care of the football I think I am putting our team in a good spot to win ball games.”