Veteran QB Matt Cassel Eager to Work with Marcus Mariota


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Quarterback Matt Cassel knows his role with the Titans.

A veteran of 11 seasons in the NFL, Cassel doesn't have thoughts of beating out Marcus Mariota for the starting job in Tennessee. On Thursday, Cassel spoke glowingly about Mariota, and said he thinks he can be a "superstar" in the league.

"Your mindset,'' Cassel said, "is you have to be prepared to play. But I also do understand the situation here. It is not one of those things where you are going in to compete for the starting job. You are going in to get yourself better and learn a new offense and get yourself ready to play.

New Titans QB Matt Cassel arrives at Saint Thomas Sports Park to sign his contract. (Photos: Gary Glenn)

"But at the same time, you have to do whatever you can to help the team and the organization. Sometimes when you are in the back-up role it is understanding how to help the other player be the best he can be."

Cassel, who has played for the Patriots, Chiefs, Vikings and Cowboys during his NFL career, right now is in line to compete with Zach Mettenberger for the No.2 job with the Titans. Alex Tanney, who played in the season-finale for the Titans in 2015, will also aim to get himself noticed during the offseason, and in training camp.

Cassel, who has thrown for over 17,000 yards and 101 touchdowns in his career, has certainly noticed Mariota. He said he plans to help him any way he can. While in town on Thursday, he was already obtaining information about how to get in contact with Mariota, who started 12 games in his rookie season in 2015.

"The one thing I can see, especially watching his games last year, is he didn't play like a rookie last season,'' Cassel said of Mariota. "I thought he managed the game really well, I thought he made throws when he needed to make throws, and I know the results weren't exactly what they wanted, but he is going to grow tremendously from Year 1 to Year 2.

"He has all the physical tools and I think he has a great head on his shoulder and the right mentality to play the position and have a long and successful career."

Mariota broke rookie records for most touchdowns (19), completions (230), passing yards (2,818) and passing attempts (370) in his first NFL season.

Cassel, who played at Southern Cal, watched Mariota during his playing days at Oregon, where he won the Heisman Trophy. Cassel started 15 games for the Patriots in 2008 when Tom Brady suffered a season-ending in the preseason, and he started 15 games each in 2009 and 2010 with the Chiefs. looks at the NFL career of QB Matt Cassel. (AP Photos)

"Where I am in my career, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to come in and help Marcus in whatever way I can. He is a Pac-12 guy, and I have a lot of respect for him,'' Cassel said of Mariota. "I really like his attitude and what he brings, and he also has unbelievable ability. I think he has a chance to be a superstar. I thought it would be a great fit for me in terms of being able to come in and help in whatever capacity I can."

Cassel said he didn't necessarily discuss with coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Jon Robinson the competition for No.2 job with Mettenberger, a 2014 draft pick who started four games for the Titans last season, and has started 10 games over his first two NFL seasons.

Cassell started seven games for the Cowboys last season, completing 119-of-204 passes for 1,276 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions, with a passer rating was 70.3.

"They didn't really go into that,'' Cassel said. "Speaking with coach Mularkey and Jon Robinson, we had great conversation, and I think the organization is headed in the right direction and has great leadership.

"My job is just to come in and make the team better.

"As for the team, I just thought it was a good fit for me, a good fit for my family in terms of Nashville,'' Cassel continued. "I have heard nothing but great things in terms of the city itself and a place to raise a family. And then you look at the team itself, it's a young team that's in transition."

As for where he is physically, Cassel said he feels great.

At 33, he's already looking forward to 2016. In the meantime, he'll be busy at home. Cassel has four children, ages 5, 4, 2 ½ and five months.

"I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't feel good,'' Cassel said. "So I still feel like I have football left in me, and my body has held up pretty well. At least that's what the doctor who gave me the physical today told me."


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