EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) – The greatest friend to a new head football coach is a good quarterback.
Does Mike Zimmer have one in Matt Cassel?
“He’s gone to two playoffs with two different teams, been to the Pro Bowl,” Zimmer said. “I don’t know if he’s more ready to be a starter now. I just know he’s had some great years.”
The team practiced inside Wednesday because the rain fell outside, and it is inside the doors of Winter Park that he needs to be very good. Not just in the practice facility but in the locker room.
He needs to convince those around him that he is indeed capable of being their leader. He needs to make believers, convince his teammates they can trust him, that he’s a student of the game.
“For me, it starts with coming in and working, showing these guys that I’m in it with them,” Cassel said. “From there it’s about making sure you’re prepared each and every day.”
So far so good, but this is the NFL, and Cassel has been just good enough to start in his career. So he’d better be good in the locker room.
“Matt is pretty outgoing and pretty talkative anyway,” Zimmer said. “He’s usually the one that kind of takes charge in there.”
Because there will be a time where things don’t go well, when the fans will want Teddy Bridgewater and it’s Cassel’s wish that it’s never an issue.
“You can’t play that way, you can’t worry about, ‘If I make a mistake, what’s going to happen next?’” Cassel said. “You’ve got to go out play the game to the best of your ability.”