Matt Cassel on Sideline Exchange with Coach Haley: “We’re two passionate people that both want to win, and sometimes things like that occur.”October 3, 2011 – 1:00 pm by Michael Bean
And then there were two. Two winless teams in the NFL that is. Take the Kansas City Chiefs off that last after their Week 4 home win against the hapless Minnesota Vikings. For Matt Cassel and the Chiefs, the improvements started to show in the second half of their Week 3 loss to the San Diego Chargers. On Sunday, they were able to build on some of that momentum and play well enough to win for the first time in 2011. It wasn’t exactly a perfect performance for Cassel and the Chiefs offense. There were struggles and frustrations, which manifested themselves on the sidelines at one point during a heated exchange between Cassel and head coach Todd Haley. But as Cassel explains, that’s just two competitors in the heat of the moment desperately wanting to win a football game.
Cassel joined WHB in Kansas City to talk about the relief of winning their first game of the season on Sunday, the Chiefs establishing confidence and momentum during the second half of their Week 3 loss to the Chargers, carrying that over to their Week 4 win over Minnesota, what led to the heated exchange between himself and Coach Haley on the sidelines, how that’s just two competitors being caught up in the heat of the moment, how the Chiefs were able to set up the long passing play to Dwayne Bowe, and how he plans to watch Monday Night Football this evening as a first dose of preparation for Kansas City’s Week 5 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.
How much of a relief was it for the Chiefs to win their first game of the season on Sunday:
“Well it just feels good to get a win. I think it was a complete team victory, everyone contributed — special teams, defense and offense — and it was a good win for us. I know the season hasn’t gotten off to the best start, but at the same time we continue to battle, we continue to get better every week, and it was a step in the right direction for us yesterday.”
If the Chiefs established some momentum and built some confidence during the second half of their Week 3 loss to San Diego that they were able to carry over to Week 4:
“We did. Again, that was something that we talked about last Monday as we went in and made our corrections. We talked about how we competed on Sunday and that we needed to build off what we did in the second half, and it kind of carried over for us in this last game.”
On his heated exchange with Coach Todd Haley on the sidelines:
“The play was just exactly as you described it. It was a screen pass that was sniffed out, and instead of throwing the ball to a guy that was covered or have something worse happen, you throw that ball away and move on to the next play. And then as far as what happened after that, I think it’s just football. There’s a lot of excitement, there’s a lot of energy, there’s a lot of emotion that goes into this game every Sunday. And I think between Coach Haley and myself, we’re two passionate people that both want to win, and sometimes things like that occur. But it’s just part of the game.”
On if the Chiefs were intentionally setting up the big play down the sideline to Dwayne Bowe with lots of short passes earlier in the game:
“It was one of those plays that was not even on our call sheet to be completely honest. My hat goes off to the coaching staff — Coach Haley, Coach Muir and everyone that was involved with making that decision on the sideline. Because we had completed a few passes in front of these guys and we saw that their technique was to try to start to jump some of these eight to ten yard burst routes as we call them. So they drew it up on the sideline and said we’ve got this opportunity if we get the right coverage, and they called it at the right time. We got exactly like we wanted, I gave a good pump-fake, and the guy bit exactly like we were hoping or anticipating. And Dwayne jumped open on the sideline. It was great.”
If he had any idea that play was going to be called soon, or if the first time he heard it was when it was signaled into his helmet from the sidelines:
“No it was something we had actually talked about a series or a series or two before it happened and how this might come up. So we talked about it, we talked about how we wanted to attack them, and it just happened exactly like we were hoping. So it couldn’t have been better coaching on our part.”
Will he watch the Chiefs Week 5 opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, play on Monday Night Football against the Buccaneers this evening:
“Absolutely. I’ll watch that game. I’m guessing I’ll watch it a few times this week. They’re obviously a defense that we’re going to have to get prepared for because they also have two great edge pass rushers with Freeney and Mathis. They’re a team we’re familiar with, we played last year, and it will be fun to go to Indianapolis, I like playing there, it’s a fun stadium and a nice atmosphere.”