“Hey, it is what it is, man,” he told me a few days ago. “You play this position; you’re going to take your lumps, and it’s not something that bugs me. It’s not something that I let get to me. You’ve got to be strong when you play this position.”Here are a few facts about Cassel, whether you choose to believe them or not: He’s not as bad as the vocal majority has indicated this offseason. He has certainly not shown an ability to be an elite quarterback, and it’s debatable that he’s even a good one. But he’s not close to the trainwreck that popular opinion seems to now suggest.
“It’s a challenge, but that’s what life is about,” Jones said of his required wait before joining padded practices. “Coming in here a couple of days after everyone started camp is a challenge for me, but then I also find out that I can’t practice for three days.“So right now I’m really getting into my playbook and watching extra film. Even when I’m out on the field, even though I can’t get in I’m watching the reps on the sidelines and listening to the calls that they are getting. I’m listening and then going back to my playbook even more.”
This year, the return of Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry from ACL surgery is sure to pump new vitality into the entire unit. Tackles Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey are still young enough to improve, and second-year defenders Allen Bailey and Justin Houston are showing good promise. Plus, Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Jackson is squarely within his physical prime.But the biggest hope for meaningful improvement rests squarely on the back of a rookie who managed a meager 22 tackles and one sack his entire senior season at Memphis.
“I’ve been a few different places, and I’ve taken bits and pieces from all of the offenses,” said Daboll, who also was quarterbacks coach with the New York Jets for two years, including Brett Favre’s stay in 2008. “At the end of the day, you have to do what suits your players, and you have to use plays they’re good at.”Quinn, who enjoyed the best stretch of his career in 2009 when he started nine games at Cleveland and threw 150 passes with seven touchdowns and no interceptions in a four-game span, was happy to reunite with Daboll.
“Coach Daboll is really smart,” Quinn said. “So he’s going to exploit weaknesses he sees on film or things they do maybe coverage-wise. On top of that, he’s creative. He’s going to come up with stuff that other teams or other coaches may be scared to do, but he’s not.
“He comes up with some creative plays and different packages that a lot of times surprise teams.”