Thursday, October 2, 2008

Asked and answered: Matt Cassel, Patriots quarterback

Matt Cassel completed 19 of 31 passes for 131 yards with one touchdown and one interception against Miami two weeks ago; he'll be making his third career start against the 49ers on Sunday.

He's still trying to find a way to connect with Randy Moss, who has six catches for 47 yards in Cassel's two starts after catching six passes for 116 yards and a touchdown in the Pats' season opener.

What have you seen out of San Francisco's defense?
They're a very experienced defense, especially in the secondary with (cornerback Nate) Clements, (cornerback Walt) Harris), (strong safety Michael) Lewis and (free safety Mark) Roman. They are all very experienced. They have a lot of team speed on defense. (Linebacker Patrick) Willis definitely adds to that, and Takeo Spikes. They're a physical group with a lot of experience.

How much did the bye week benefit you in terms of getting more comfortable with the offense?
"It's good any time you can get out there and work on things that may you're a little deficient in and also build on those things you've done well on. It's always good to have that week, and we were able to utilize it."

After seeing the Saints have success throwing the ball against the 49ers, do you think you'll be able to throw some deep passes against them?
"We hope so. Hopefully, we'll have the opportunity to do so, but you never know going into a game. You never know from week to week how one team is going to attack you versus another team. We are going in with the game plan that we have, and hopefully, we'll get some opportunities."

Do you feel a need to get Randy Moss more involved in the offense?
"You would always like to get Randy involved. I don't really have much to do with that other than the fact that I go through my reads; I let the coaches game-plan and do things to get Randy the ball."

What are you doing to build chemistry with him?
"Just continue to work hard. It will happen. We are growing together, and our chemistry is growing together. We'll be fine."

Is there a temptation to just throw the ball up for Moss because he has the capability to make plays on his own?
"No, not as a young quarterback. You have to go through your reads and you have to make smart decisions because if you start forcing it into double coverage, you'll get into bad habits and that's when bad plays happen. As much as you would like to get the ball to him as much as possible, you still have to smart with the football -- especially as a guy in there trying to make the right decisions with the ball."

How different is it now that you've got the spotlight on you as the starting quarterback?
"It's a lot different especially in this regard (with the media), and then when you go out in practice, you have to have a different level of focus because every day you have to go out and be on top of it, 100 percent. The team now relies on you to be the guy that leads them into good situations."

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