Bill Belichick has a way of brainwashing his players in terms of dealing with the media. Regardless if it is a ten year veteran or a rookie in training camp, all New England Patriot players are extremely vague when dealing with the media. Every player states that they will take one game at a time and not look past an opponent. Patriots players also reiterate the notion of team over player, no matter the stats of the game.
For Matt Cassel, a four year veteran getting his first start since the glory days of high school, it is no different. In a conference call with the South Florida press before the Dolphins come into Foxboro Sunday, Cassel refused to give into the media. After getting his first win in the NFL in a division game, he was still going about his business.
When asked about how he handled the pressure, Cassel answered he was mentally focused as if it was just another game. He learned the defense as well as he could and went out and executed. When asked about being a backup in college and the NFL and now becoming the starter, Cassel stated it has been difficult at times but he has learned a lot after being stuck behind three great quarterbacks. Cassel was also asked about how the players around him have helped him. In typical Patriot fashion, he mentioned his wide receiving corps, his running backs, and his offensive line as the reasons for his success.
Coach Bill Belichick felt alright with Cassel under center against the Dolphins. “Of course it’s different than when Tom(Brady) is in there, but Matt played alright,” said Belichick.
“We changed the game plan a little bit, but the defense is what hurt us this week,” said Belichick. The defense gave up 38 points to a sub-par Dolphins offense.
The interview overall was a little disappointing. The question of whether it was Matt’s time to solidify his legacy was not needed. He is happy for the opportunity, but one win is not going to satisfy him. Of course he wants to make a name for himself, who doesn’t? The question on whether he has pinched himself was not needed either. Also, the question on if he learned pocket presence from Tom Brady was unnecessary.
The interview should have gotten more into on what he has done during the week of practice to improve on his mistakes. They should of also asked the question if Matt and his receivers have become more comfortable with each other after a few weeks of practice. It is extremely important for the QB and WR’s to be on the same page to be successful, but there was no mentioning of it in the interview.
As for Matt’s answers to the questions, it was the same old song and dance. Happy about the win, things that could have been better, and changes that will be made to better execute next week.