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Kansas City QB Matt Cassel, 09.30.09

Q: How does your knee feel?

A:  It is getting better each and every week.

Q:  Does it still bother you a little bit?

A:  I wouldn’t say really bothering me.  It is just a process of getting back a little bit in your comfort zone because you take three weeks off from anything and you just kind of get back into the groove a little bit.

Q:  Last year in New England – obviously your breakout year – you have a lot of veteran leadership around you with that team.  What has the adjustment been like now playing on so much of a younger team?  A lot of those guys are younger than even you are.

A:  Right.  We do have a young team I think.  We do have some veterans in the locker room that really uphold the leadership role like Mike Vrabel and Brian Waters and Mike Goff and those kinds of guys.  But overall we really are a young team.  So we are developing a chemistry and the young guys are learning how to work.  And it is a different regime than they are used to.  So it is just a lot of change going on right now.  We just have to start establishing our identity a little bit.  Because I think everybody is searching for that win or what is going to be the key ingredient when you can’t force these things.  You just have to let it happen and just keep grinding away.

Q:  What do you see being the Chiefs’ identity?  Is it going to be that ground game with Larry Johnson?  Is it going to be more of that passing attack?  Right now you are throwing the ball accurately but you haven’t really put up too many yards?

A:  I think we are still trying to figure out our identity ourselves.  So we don’t know exactly what we are just yet.  Until we figure it out and start winning games I think it will be a process of going through both.  I think Larry Johnson is doing a great job of running the ball.  Against Oakland we threw for 241.  Last week we had a little bit less production because we didn’t throw the ball as much.  We only threw the ball 18 times last week.  And I think we will have a fair share of our balance of what we are going to be doing.  And again, that comes up to Coach Haley and the game plan and what he thinks is going to give us the best opportunity to win.

Q:  Speaking of last week, you guys had some trouble – you really struggled on third downs.  How does that concern you?  Is that more situation, the play calls?  What really led to that?

A:  I think really for us we just have to better on third down, period.  We can’t go out – nobody can win ball games going out and going 0-11 on third down.  Isn’t that the stat?  We have got to convert on third down.  And I think we converted a few fourth downs but at the same time whatever we have to do we have to be more competitive on third down.  And that keeps your offense on the field, keeps your defense resting.  So we have to get better in that area.  And it is something that I’m sure we will emphasize this week.

Q:  Moving on to the Giants, this defensive backfield – it has been a bit banged up since the start of the season – no Aaron Ross, no Kevin Dockery.  Now Kenny Phillips goes out.  What do you see from these guys who are playing?

A:  There are an active group, they are a physical group.  And they are not scared to come up and hit you.  The corners do a great job of getting into your face and trying to disrupt your pass patterns.  Obviously a lot of these quarterbacks – when you watch film against the Giants – you know that their front four is the heart and soul of their defense.  They put a tremendous amount of pressure on the quarterback.  You don’t have much time back there.  You have to get the ball out quick.  And I think the corners do a good job of recognizing that and understanding that they need to do their job.  And so they play well together.

Q:  Talk about the pressure they put on the quarterback.  The Giants, this year, only have 3 ½ sacks but they have managed to get to the quarterback.  What about that defensive front makes it so effective and confusing for you as a quarterback?

A: They just have a number of great players over there from Tuck and Osi and their three-technique as well.  So they have Cofield – so you have a number of guys up there that can play ball and push the pocket and do such a great job.

Q:  You had Amani Toomer during training camp.  What did you see from him?  Were you surprised that he didn’t make it?

A:  I don’t make the decisions in terms of personnel or anything like that. I think Amani is a great player and he has proved that for a long time. And he is a veteran guy who came in, worked hard and did a great job for us and showed some veteran leadership. And for whatever reason sometimes it just doesn’t work out. And they went in a different direction.  But I have a lot of respect for Amani and he is a friend of mine and I think he is a great player.