Q: Did you envision yourself being at this spot at this point of the season?
CASSEL: “I can’t say early on that I really could envision where we are at this point but I think that we have made progress throughout the year and we have guys that push themselves. I am happy with where we are at right now and hopefully we continue to make progress as we move forward.”
Q: All teams want to improve as the season goes on. How were you guys able to actually do that?
CASSEL: “I think that it starts with an identity and it starts with the run game up front. It has been something that has been consistent with us throughout the entire year. I think it starts with the offensive line as well, they have done a tremendous job and everything kind of piggy backs off that. In the passing game, the play action, all of that comes off having a good run game and it being able to put us into manageable situations.”
Q: It seems like you guys have had the lead a lot in games. Can you talk about that?
CASSEL: “I just think that you can remain balanced. Sometimes when you get behind in any game you can become one dimensional because maybe you might have to throw in order to get yourself back in the game. As long as you are able to keep it manageable or a close game, you can maintain your balance as an offense. You can run, you can pass and you can do those things.”
Q: Do you want your teammates to remember the loss to Denver a few weeks ago to add fuel to their fire?
CASSEL: “I hope it does for a lot of us. It was a bad taste in our mouth and again this is a division rival and a big game because it is our next game but also because we are fighting for something and it is fun to be in December this time of year and fighting for something. Hopefully we will come ready to play come Sunday.”
Q: Do you think the last game at Denver was a turnaround game for this team’s passing offense?
CASSEL: “I think if there was one positive that we were able to take away offensively from that game was that we were able to give ourselves a little bit of confidence in the passing game and realize that we can throw the ball if we need to. It has definitely given us confidence as we have moved forward and you have seen a little bit more production from us in the passing game these past few weeks.”
Q: So that game may have been the game that sparked this streak?
CASSEL: “We always try to find positives and hopefully that was a positive thing we can take away from it.”
Q: Do you feel more comfortable to draw plays up or alter plays now that you have had some success throwing the ball?
CASSEL: “I think this offense in itself has a lot of ‘check with me plays’, as we like to call them. It might be a run-pass option and so I felt pretty comfortable doing that throughout the course of the year and they continue to put me in situations that do that. It hasn’t changed.”
Q: How often do you go to the line with the ‘check with me’ plays?
CASSEL: “I don’t really know but there are some throughout the game plan that just come up from one week to the next based on what the coaches are seeing.”
Q: How much do you change the game plan or is it just about executing better than you did the last time?
CASSEL: “Well, it is a great question that you ask. It is just two weeks removed from when we played them last and it is one of those things that there will pry be some carry over in what we do from a game plan standpoint. Also, watching the film there hasn’t been much transition and they aren’t playing something completely different defensively. I am sure there will be some carry over but we will see as we move forward in the week.”
Q: Why doesn’t every team have a 300 plus pound guy running the football?
CASSEL: “It is hard to get out of their way a lot of times, that is the problem. For the dive you are really stepping back (laughing). DT
Q: What is the key for you in the play-action pass?
CASSEL: “The key is that it starts with the sell. The play-action sell starts with the guys up front and also the running back. We are trying to get that pull on the linebackers and give them the feel that we are actually going to run the ball and then hopefully we can get the ball behind them.”
Q: For you, how do you do that? Is it shoulders? Is it just turning your body? Do you like that it can sometimes turn you completely away from the field where you lose sight?
CASSEL: “I think there are a number of different actions that you use in play action. It is not just fading away. Sometimes we have a right action and it varies from one play to the next. For me it is just as soon as I get my head around, get my eyes on the defense and make sure that I go through my reads properly.”
Q: Is there any quarterbacks that you study and try to pick up tips on?
CASSEL: “I think one of the best that I have watched constantly is Peyton Manning. He does such a great job with the sell and the play action and also the head bob afterwards. He does an outstanding job of selling it.”