From M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
Friday evening was not one of those performances that Matt Cassel will remember many years from now.
When he’s sitting on the porch at the Old Quarterbacks Home and telling stories to his great-grandchildren about his career he won’t remember facing the Baltimore Ravens and throwing for 73 yards on a six of 14 attempts night for a decidedly mediocre 59.5 passer rating.
But Cassel was thrilled.
“It was nice to get out there and get hit again,” Cassel said. “It allowed me to get into the flow of the game.”
That included getting smacked around a few times by the Ravens pass rush; he was sacked once.
“It just gets your body acclimated for playing football; that’s football is all about,” Cassel said of dealing with the contact. “You don’t really feel like you’re out there until you get hit, and especially because at practice we were those cute yellow jerseys.
“They take care of us so much, so you know that you’re out there playing football again and it’s football season when you take those shots.”
Last week in the pre-season opener, Cassel was in for eight snaps and did not throw a pass. Against the Ravens, he only had to wait through two running plays to get his first attempt of the season, a 3rd-down throw to WR Dwayne Bowe that went for 14 yards and a first down.
Cassel didn’t hit the next three throws, but TE Tony Moeaki didn’t help matters by dropping a throw to him. Eventually, Cassel hooked up again with Bowe on a pretty 26-yard gain down the right sideline with a perfect throw and a great catch.
After that, he connected on throws to FB Le’Ron McClain and RB Dexter McCluster, plus one to WR Steve Breaston and a final completion to Bowe.
It wasn’t a memorable night, but Cassel felt like it was a start.
“Everybody has a job to do,” Cassel said. “Fundamentals can be something as simple as me working on my drop back. It’s something that we have to continue to work on. If we can get better at the basic fundamentals, then we’re going to be better.”