CASSEL: “There are a lot of different things going on out there. Every day the defense is putting in new schemes and we are trying new stuff. Yesterday the defense had a better day than we did and today we just came out and we executed better. That is kind of, sometimes, what it comes down to.”
Q: Where are you guys this year compared to where you were last year?
CASSEL: “I think we are moving along. Everyone has been out there and we are pushing each other. I think that we are, on both sides of the ball, more competitive than we were last year at this time. We have a good direction of what we want to be and like I said, at this time of the year we are tying a lot of different things. We are running the ball a little bit, we are emphasizing the passing game, and we are in a lot of different situations. We had two-minute today, we had some Red Zone today and coach has been putting us in a lot of different situations and making sure that we cover everything.”
Q: Do you feel like you have an identity now as opposed to last year when everything was so new?
CASSEL: “I think we understand that we can be effective with multiple personnel groups. As you go into the season you start game planning and you can have a different identity from one week to the next in order to take advantage of what the defense is doing.”
Q: How different is the offense this year working with Charlie Weis?
CASSEL: “There are many similarities, but there are also many differences. Some of the terminology has changed and at the same time there is a heavy load that has carried over from last year, as well.”
Q: You had a long hookup with WR
CASSEL: “Dexter has done a great job for us so far. He has come in and worked hard for us and he is obviously an explosive athlete who has some wonderful physical characteristics that we like. He had a lot of success in college and hopefully that transitions well for us this year and as we move forward.”
Q: How have you developed as a quarterback working with Charlie Weis?
CASSEL: “Charlie pushes you each and every day and he is a guy who doesn’t let anything slip by. He is very meticulous in how he coaches. Yesterday, like we were talking about earlier, he was very tough on us because we can’t let that happen. We can’t have any lulls and that is important for us as we move forward. As a quarterback, that is what you need. You constantly need someone to push you and strive to get better even when you have a good day.”
Q: Can you talk about your former teammate QB Tom Brady and the advice he has given you in regards to working with Charlie Weis?
CASSEL: “Tom is a dear friend of mine and I talk to him constantly, not just about Charlie, but also about life in general. He has talked a lot about Charlie and said that Charlie has been one of the big keys to his success over his career especially when he was a young quarterback. What he has said about Charlie is that he is going to push you and push you and push you and it is just to make you better. At the end, all the yelling and sometimes getting on you is all for the betterment of you as a player.”
Q: How do you respond when a coach curses or screams at you? Is it like Chicken Little with your head cut off?
CASSEL: “You just have to take it in stride. What point is he trying to get across? What message is he trying to get to you as a player? From there, you have to take that as positive coaching and the negative part you kind of have to let go by and move forward.”
Q: What have you seen from the tight end position?
CASSEL: “We have a lot of different guys getting in and out of that position right now and they have done a good job so far. They have all been competing and they are doing a good job.”
Q: What are the tight ends doing more specifically? Can you talk about each guy?
CASSEL: “It is hard to say right now. You are asking them to block one play, we have run force on another, they are getting out and running a bunch of different patterns, so I am not going to break down each and every guy and their physical characteristics. Right now we are out there and we are just working hard to get better.”
CASSEL: “They have a lot of explosiveness in the middle of the field. You see Eric Berry come down a lot in the man-to-man coverage and he has been doing a great job of covering down on the tight end. He has shown some of the explosiveness that made him one of the top picks in the draft. You also talked about the other safety and they are both in there and they are both doing a good job. You definitely notice it when you are on the field as a quarterback.”
Q: How is your timing with your receivers coming thus far?
CASSEL: “You know we have done a good job. It is a work in progress like anything, but at the same time, each and every day in practice we have been getting better at that position. Hopefully we can build on that and hit full stride as we get into the season.”
Q: Does it take time to get everyone on the same page after returning from a break after your season?
CASSEL: “There is no doubt. I think you take four months off from organized team activities and then you get out there and start working with your guys again, everyone is getting a feel and we are trying to put in new plays and implement somewhat of a new offense so everyone is learning new terminology and getting a feel for one another again.”
Q: Is the identity of this offense an offense that changes depending on who the opponent is?
CASSEL: “Absolutely, I think the NFL in general is a game of matchups and mismatches more or less. You have to take advantage of those mismatches from one week to the next. If Charlie sees that we can run the ball well this week and thinks that is advantageous for us as an offense then I am sure we will run the ball 25 times. He told us just the other day, ‘I’m not afraid to run the ball 20 times in a row if that means that we are doing the right things and moving the ball.’ He is also not afraid to throw the ball 25 times in a row either. I think he mentioned last year when they threw the ball 25 straight times because he thought that was advantageous. I think it is about taking advantage of what the defense is doing and that is how your identity will change as an offense.”
Q: What are your thoughts on RB
CASSEL: “I have really started to get to know Thomas over these last few months and I love the guy. I can’t say anything bad about him. He is a great leader, an exceptional leader and he comes to work each and every day with his hard hat on and he never complains. When you get him out there on the field it is the same thing. He comes to work, he pushes the young guys, he is a mentor to a lot of those guys and I think it has been great for Jamaal (Charles) who is obviously an outstanding talent. To have a guy there who has been through long, grueling seasons year after year and to have him be a guy that Jamaal can go to and talk to and do those things. It has been exciting and I am sure Coach Haley and Coach Weis will figure out a way to get both of those guys on the field.”
Q: What are you expecting with mini-camp? Do you feel there is a new level you have to meet coming into it?
CASSEL: “I think as you go into mini-camp they try to get you a second and third rep on some of this installation that we have been putting in every week. You get another look at it or another rep and it becomes repetitious. That is what we are looking for as we go into mini-camp and build off what we established in these first 11 or 12 days of OTAs.”
Q: Is there one thing that QB Tom Brady told you about Charlie Weis that really stood out?
CASSEL: “I think something that stood out to me and that I am learning more and more is that he is a competitive son of a gun. He comes out and if something doesn’t go right it is because he wants to compete and he wants to win every single period and he will let you know that. That is something that really has stuck out to me since we have started working together.”
Q: What did Brady tell you about changing diapers?
CASSEL: “It has been a hardcore experience these last couple weeks changing diapers. I would have to say football is a little bit easier (laughing). My wife Lauren and I welcomed a baby girl about a month ago and it has been an amazing experience. Fatherhood, I didn’t know what to expect going into it, but what a blessing.”
Q: Did Brady give you any advice on changing diapers?
CASSEL: “No, he didn’t give me any advice; he just let me figure it out on my own.”
Q: What is her name?
Q: Which is harder, being a father or working with Charlie Weis?
CASSEL: “That is a tough one. Changing diapers is difficult, but I would say working with Weis sometimes.”
Q: How important is it to have Coach Weis working closely with you every day?
CASSEL: “There is absolutely no question about it that having Charlie here on a daily basis is making me a better player so far. I just need to build on that and he is going to be constantly there throughout the year to continue to push me and make me better as a player.”
Q: Does WR Dexter McCluster play bigger than he is?
CASSEL: “That is a good question. I don’t know. We haven’t had the pads on yet so I haven’t seen him get hit but he is definitely quick and I think if you are bigger than him, I think he is probably quicker than you.”
Q: Are you anxious to see him get hit?
CASSEL: “No, I hope he stays upright all the time.”