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Nick Caserio Conference Call Transcript - 10/24/2011
Q: What college game did you end up going to over the weekend?
NC: I'm sure you guys will be able to figure that out with all the research you do so I'll leave it up to you.
Q: I'm just curious on Mike Wallace. This is a guy who's obviously developed nicely since coming out of college. What did you see from him coming out and what do you see differently from him now than what you saw when he was coming out?
NC: Coming out he was a big, fast receiver. His production, just in a relative base - I think he had back-to-back 30-catch years. Some of that was the offense, some of that was some other factors but since he's been in the league, since year one up until this point, he's really improved just as an overall receiver. I think he was big and could always run. He's just become more consistent in all phases - route running, catching the ball, understanding coverages, just understanding how the defense is playing. Really these last couple years, including this year, he's played at a very high level. He had a real productive year for their offense last year. I think he's averaged, I want to say, 20 yards or close to 20 yards a catch since he's been in the league, so he's always been a big play receiver who can attack the third level part of the defense - the vertical part of the defense. He's done some other things just with the underneath route running and he's improved. It's a credit to him and a credit to the Pittsburgh coaching staff for what they've done with him.
Q: Aside from going to an unnamed college football game, how productive were you during the bye week? What were you able to do?
NC: I think collectively as a staff you just go back through. I think we're kind of in the heart of the - just from a scouting perspective on the college front, kind of at the heart of that season. There's been about six, seven or eight games so you have a significant body of work from the players who will be draft eligible this year. We try to stay in contact with our scouts. All of the players that have been evaluated have been written and those reports have been submitted, so just sorting through that information in addition to our pro scouting staff working on the Steelers. So it's really just a balance of everything, kind of a continuation of the normal process of what we do throughout the course of the year. You just have a couple extra days over the weekend where you don't have to be somewhere. I think it comes at a nice time for everybody, but really it just continues - maybe not at a breakneck pace for everybody as it normally is, but you're sorting through a number of things like you normally would.
Q: Terrell Owens is apparently holding a workout. Would you attend that or is he someone the Patriots would potentially be interested in looking at?
NC: Yeah I think he is no different than a lot of the players that have been on the street. We'll evaluate those players, who is available, look at our situation and make a determination if that's something that would make sense for us. He is no different than however many free agents are out there currently.
Q: You said that you are in the heart of the college evaluation season. Has anything really stood out for you during this college evaluation season?
NC: No, not necessarily. Really, once the season is over there will be an influx like there is every year of underclassmen, so they always factor into the equation in some way, shape or form when they actually make themselves eligible. But it looks like there's a lot of good teams, there's a lot of good players, so we'll just work through the process like we normally do. Hopefully by the end of April we will be prepared and ready to go.
Q: How interested were you in drafting Cameron Heyward and how does he look so far as a pro player?
NC: Yeah, Cam was a really good player coming out of Ohio State - a real consistent, dependable player for them, good playing strengths, good size, a pretty good athlete, played on his feet. Up to this point, it looks like they've played a lot of people on their defensive front. Now with [Aaron] Smith being put on Injured Reserve, there's a chance he'll play a little bit more, but they have a veteran defensive line like the [Brett] Keisels and the Chris Hokes and Casey Hamptons of the world. Then they have guys like Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward who's been working into the mix a little bit more. Cam was a steady player at Ohio State coming out and he's given them some productive snaps to this point in the season and there's probably a good chance that he'll play a little bit more as the year progresses with the injury to Smith.
Q: The Steelers have gotten a lot of production from their young receivers. How have they been able to get production out of their young receivers quicker than the Patriots?
NC: I think every team and every situation is different. We aren't familiar with what other teams are doing. We just know what we're doing. But both of those players I would say, if you include [Mike] Wallace - [Emmanuel] Sanders was a high-production player at SMU. Antonio Brown was a high-production player at Central Michigan. I want to say he had three consecutive years of 90 catches or more. It looks like he's gotten a little bit more opportunity this year, he's improved. I think it all depended on the team situation and the players making the most of their opportunities, which those players have and conversely, there are some other players at that position or other positions that they're given the opportunity and they don't necessarily take advantage of it. I think it's really relative to the individual team. That position in general, there's a few more multiples and dynamics that are in place that you don't see in college that you see in the NFL. In reality, there are a lot of these receivers coming out of college that don't see a lot of press coverage or man coverage. [In the NFL], the cover's a little bit tighter or the window's a little bit tighter. Depending on the offense there's a little bit more adjustments that the receiver has to make post snap. So I think every team and every situation is their own team and they have their own approach to doing it. Those guys have done a nice job and they've taken advantage of the opportunities that have been presented to them.
Q: Any transactions for us today or is it going to be a nice quiet day?
NC: I don't really think there's too much in the hopper just yet. We'll see how the week goes. We've kept you guys pretty busy over the last few weeks so maybe we'll keep it quieter early in the week, we'll see.
Q: How important is it to keep the quarterback position stocked on a year-to-year basis?
NC: The reality is that you want to keep as many positions stocked as possible because the reality is that whoever the player is in that next spot, whether it's the backup tackle, the backup guard, the next corner, he's really one play from going into the game. Any player that we bring into the program the expectation is that at some point, they're going to play. Is it going to be sooner than later? Situations and that will dictate when that player actually plays. So I think it's important for all players young and old to come into your program and develop, learn your system, get yourself ready to play and then take advantage of your opportunity when that situation comes. There has been examples at the quarterback position, there has been other examples along the way so I think it's important from a team-wide perspective to make sure you have players and they understand the ramifications and importance of, ‘Look, you're one play away from having to go into the game and play so you can't take anything for granted. So prepare yourself as if that's going to happen.' Maybe that doesn't happen until the last week of the season or maybe it happens sooner, so some of that may be a little bit out of their hands. The most important thing from a player development perspective is that the player comes in, learns your program, understands the expectations, understands what is expected of him. This way, once he is put into position he can go out there and help the team and the organization.