Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio addresses the media during his conference call, on Monday, January 10, 2011.
Q: You guys have done a lot of shuffling with the roster the last week or so. Is this what it's usually like at the end of the season or have you had to work at it more this year than in previous years?
NC: I think it all depends on the situation. Each week, we just kind of look at the team as a whole, and whatever moves that we have to make, then we go ahead and make them. Maybe there was a little more activity toward the end of the season, but we just do what we need to do on a weekly basis just to make sure that if there's a player that's out there that can help us in some capacity, whatever that may be, then we'll look at it. A lot of it is contingent upon who's healthy, who's available, et cetera. At points, there are different weeks [with] maybe a little more activity as a result of what happens in the game the previous week. We just have to figure out collectively what we can do to prepare for the game, and that's what we'll do.
Q: Can you assess your defensive line as a whole where it stands now?
NC: We made the move the other day with Mike Wright, but there are a number of guys who have played a lot of football for us this year. Vince [Wilfork] has been out there. Gerard [Warren] has been out there. Myron [Pryor] has come back. It was good to have him for the last game and he had a chance to practice last week. Landon [Cohen]'s come in and made a contribution since he's been here. We just work with the players that we have and just try to figure out the best way to utilize them on a week-to-week basis. The defensive staff does a great job with that and that'll be the case this week. So, it's been a combination of a number of different guys, some guys that don't have as much experience in our system relative to some other guys that do. And those guys, whatever they've been asked to do this season, they've stepped in. In whatever role they've been asked to play, they try to do that to the best of their ability, whoever they are. So, we'll continue with that approach here moving forward.
Q: One of the guys who has played more of late on the defensive line is Kyle Love. What have you seen from his progression and his contribution?
NC: I think as the year has progressed, Kyle has made some improvements. He's a big guy; he's strong. For his size, he's certainly nimble and he moves well. I think a lot of it, with his particular situation, is understanding how to play the techniques on a consistent basis - the certain matchups that are involved [and] who you're playing against on a week-to-week basis. I think Kyle has made some improvements over the course of the year, and it's shown up in practice and it's carried over into the game, which is encouraging. So, hopefully that will continue here this week in practice and into the game on Sunday.
Q: I know Brandon Deaderick is back for this week. Do you believe now that whatever the problems were with Brandon Deaderick are over or fixed since the suspension?
NC: We'll find out. I know Bill [Belichick] made a comment last week about that particular situation. I really don't have anything to add to it. He's here, Brandon's here. We'll start practicing tomorrow, and we'll ask him to prepare for the game just like we ask any other player. If he's ready to play, then he'll be given his opportunity. So, we'll see how it goes here this week.
Q: What are your thoughts on what you've seen from Sebastian Vollmer this year?
NC: Sea Bass has had a real consistent year. He's been out there since day one. To my recollection, I don't think he's missed a practice. I think he missed one last week, but that might've been the first one all year. Sea Bass has been a consistent performer really since he's arrived. He's improved. He's got a pretty unique skill set. He had to play left tackle last year. This year, he's predominately played on the right side, but he's got good size. He's a good athlete for his size. He's a smart guy. He studies. He understands what we're trying to do offensively. He works well with that entire group. They work well together. He and [Dan] Connolly on the right side, now it's been [Ryan] Wendell later in the year, but all those guys, they work well together. They communicate. Sea Bass has had a pretty steady and consistent year. He works hard at it. It's important to him. His performance has been fairly consistent throughout the course of the entire season.
Q: You just said that Sebastian has a unique skill set. Is it because he's able to play seemingly so well on both ends of the line? Can you elaborate?
NC: [With] some left tackles their skill set is more conducive just to playing on the left side, doesn't necessarily translate over and carry over to the right side, and vice versa with right tackles. But, for his size, he's athletic enough to go and play on the left side. And he combines that with good playing strength, which on the right side, it's sometimes a little bit more of a factor. But, there is still a playing strength component on the left side. To be able to flop back and forth like that, if necessary, I think he's able to do that. For example, D'Brickashaw Ferguson with the Jets, he's one of the better left tackles in the league. There's no question about it. Whether or not he can play right tackle, he hasn't, but I think his skill set is certainly some of the attributes that you see with him, [like] a lot of the left tackles, he possesses: he's long, he's athletic, he can get out in space, he can get out to the junction point. Which, conversely, a lot of the best pass rushers usually are on the offensive left side or the defensive right side because, for the most part, that's the blind side of the quarterback. So, that guy on the left side has to have maybe a little bit more athleticism because there is that speed component on the left side when playing left tackle that you have to deal with. So, hopefully that answers your question.
Q: At the start of Bill Belichick's conference call, he was asked about the matchup between Rex Ryan and himself. He sort of broke it down that he probably has a little quickness on Rex, but maybe Rex has a little bit more strength and power. When you broke down the tape, what did you see?
NC: I'd say that's pretty accurate. I don't think anybody wants to see those two race or line up against one on another on the field. It might take a long time. The most important thing is how our players prepare. Each coach will prepare his team. In the end, the players are the ones that are out there on the field on Sunday, and they're the ones that are going to be making the plays. Maybe on the side we can see how Rex and Bill would do, maybe at halftime. Maybe that can be a good halftime show or something like that.
Q: Would you race Mike Tannenbaum as well just for entertainment value?
NC: Sure, if Mike's up for it. I'd be more than happy to. Hopefully, I don't embarrass myself.