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Q&A with Matt Cassel 9/21

Posted Sep 21, 2011

OPENING REMARKS: “It obviously didn’t go the way that we wanted it to this week. I think the team has been in here and trying to – both individually and collectively – trying to figure out what we need to do better. There’s obviously a number of different areas in which we’re trying to improve and work on. Again though, when you look at the season as a whole, we know that we’ve got a big game coming up this week against the San Diego Chargers and we’re doing everything within our power to get ready for that game because we know it’s a division opponent. Again, it’s only two games into the season and we know that we have an opportunity to hopefully make some strides in our division this week.”

Q: How much do you feel now that the pressure has shifted on to you to make things happen?

CASSEL: “I think if you play the quarterback position on any team, you feel the pressure week-in and week-out, with players or even if you lose some players. Unfortunately, we lost a great player in Jamaal [Charles], but that just is going to mean that somebody else is going to have to step up within that group, and it also is going to have to mean that everyone else is going to have to raise their level of play, including myself.”

Q: How do you balance the temptation of doing as much as you can but not trying too hard which causes mistakes?

CASSEL: “That’s a good question. As a quarterback, there’s a fine line between taking risks and then not playing smart. You always want to play within the offense, but you don’t want to be afraid to take chances. Again, there’s some times where it works out great and then there’s other times when you take a risk and it’s not very smart, but you always try to maintain that consistency of staying within the offense, within yourself and playing to what the coaches want you to do.”

Q: You guys were a pretty good offensive team last year. How do you explain what has happened the first two games of this season?

CASSEL: “It’s hard to explain. I think the No. 1 thing that we haven’t done this year that we did last year is take care of the football. It starts with me; it starts with anybody that’s handling the football. We’ve had a number of different turnovers. In this league, it’s a turnover-driven league, and if you’re in the minus turnover column at the end of the day, more than likely you’re going to end up with an ‘L’ at the end of the day. So, we just need to improve that, and I think that alone will help this offense and help us improve.”

Q: Is San Diego pretty much the same type of defense you’re used to when you’ve faced them?

CASSEL: “They are. San Diego is a big, physical group, and they’re one of the more physical groups that we’ll play all year. They’re a veteran team, there’s no doubt about it. They’ve got some new faces out there, but they still have some of the familiar guys out there with [Eric] Weddle and with [Shaun] Phillips and those guys, and their secondary is an experienced secondary with [Antoine] Cason on the one side. We just need to continue to go out there and be ready and prepared for a physical game and play 60 minutes of football.”

Q: How do you safe guard against losing confidence with the way the last couple weeks have gone?

CASSEL: “I think with any football team you have to have a short memory and you have to keep pushing forward. That’s what this group is doing and you can see it when these guys come in on Mondays and Tuesdays that we’re trying to do everything within our power to put those two losses behind us and move forward. I think everybody is doing a great job of it, it’s just we have to get on track and it starts with this week and one game at a time.”

Q: You talked about filling the role with Jamaal. How do you see that going?

CASSEL: “I don’t make those decisions on who is going to fill in for that role. Again, we’re going to miss a guy like Jamaal. Jamaal is a great player and there’s no doubt about it. But at the same time, I look back at my own career and that’s how I got my start, is somebody went down and nobody expected me to play and I was able to fill in for a guy that nobody thought you could fill in for. So, somebody else hopefully will be able to fill that void that we have with Jamaal going down. I don’t know if it’s Dexter McCluster or Jackie Battle, but we do have a lot of depth at that running back position.”

Q: Can you grade how you personally have played through these first two games?

CASSEL: “I don’t want to get into specifics or anything like that. I think that you do some good things [and] you do some bad things that you want to correct and work on, and that’s part of football. I think that it’s really more of a collective effort that we’re trying to concentrate on right now because it’s not one area or any specific area that this team needs to work on. We need to fix a lot of different things and we’re working to do that.”

Q: What does Le’Ron McClain bring to this offense?

CASSEL: “I think McClain is a versatile player. He can catch the ball and he also had some carries last week and did a great job carrying the football. Even going back the past few years when he was with the Ravens, he had one year where he almost rushed for 1,000 yards, so he’s a guy that adds versatility and we’re happy to have him on our side of the ball.”

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