Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, October 6, 2009.
Q: Do you have an update on the status of Brandon Tate and Tyrone McKenzie?
NC: They're working hard. They're going through the rehab process. I think they're at different stages in terms of where they are in their recovery, so they're working hard and when they're ready, they'll be out there practicing.
Q: Based on where Tate is, is it safe to say he'll have a chance this year?
NC: We'll see. You know, we really won't know until he's out on the field. He's working hard with the trainers. I think since he's been here Brandon's been really diligent with his whole workouts and his rehab. He's in the meetings all the time, so he's processing information. He's taking in the information along with the rest of the receivers and the rest of the offense. So in addition to what he's doing on the field, there are things that he's doing off the field where he's preparing himself so that when the opportunity does arrive when he's ready to go, then hopefully he can go out there and perform at a level that he's comfortable with and that we're comfortable with.
Q: How will this game be for you since you are so close, personally, with Josh McDaniels?
NC: Sure, no question about it. Josh and I have known each other a long time and we've had a great relationship through the years, whether it was going back to college….and really, he was responsible for me being here in New England. If it wasn't for him, I'm not sure if this opportunity would have come up on this end, so we'll always be friends. I think the most important thing is we're on opposite ends of the spectrum this week - and I'm sure Josh feels the same way - but our goal is to go out there and play well against the Broncos. I'm a Patriots fan this week. When we're not playing Denver, I can be part Patriot fan, part Bronco fan on a personal level, so I'd say that's kind of where we are on that.
Q: How did he help you get to the Patriots?
NC: Well, he had been hired first in February of 2001, and even since we had left college we had stayed in contact with one another. I'd been coaching in college as a graduate assistant. He and I maintained a dialogue and he had mentioned - It was some point in the spring in 2001 - that there could be an opportunity with the organization in the personnel department, as a personnel assistant, working for Scott [Pioli]. I came up and interviewed for the position and that's kind of how it all unfolded that way, so I think that's kind of the tie there, as far as it relates to Josh and I and me being here.
Q: Did you have any opportunity to go with Josh to Denver, or did you guys know you were going to go your separate ways?
NC: I'm thrilled to be where I am in New England. I have a great opportunity. I've been given a chance to work in a number of different areas, so I'm happy to be where I am. We still have that relationship, but I'm thrilled to be in New England and doing the things that I'm doing here.
Q: Is there any one quality that you think will allow Josh to be a successful head coach?
NC: I think with any coach when you go into a new situation, I think the most important thing is you try to be honest with your players and you communicate well. In the end, you're trying to give the players something they can use to be successful on a day-to-day basis and then as it translates over into the game. I would say that Josh is a great communicator, he's smart, he has a good football mind. Obviously they're 4-0 and they started off this season well, so it looks like they're moving in the right direction.
Q: Assuming you were a Browns fan, but even if you weren't, what was your impression of Bill Belichick?
NC: I was a Browns fan growing up. I wouldn't really say that I had formed an impression of Bill. I know that they went - I can't think of whenever that year was - they went 11-5 and ended up making the playoffs. Obviously some things happened, whether it was the following year when the organization kind of…I mean, I wouldn't be able to comment on anything directly as far as my impression of Bill. I just knew that the team was successful and they won games and they went to the playoffs, so that's probably about the extent of it from my perspective.
Q: The reason I ask is because he was a young coach at that time and I think there is probably a correlation with what Josh McDaniels is going through with the Denver Broncos in terms of establishing credibility. Maybe there's a correlation with what Bill did with Bernie Kosar and what Josh did with Jay Cutler. Do you see any similarities there as to if Josh is learning the game the way Bill had to in Cleveland?
NC: I think it would be hard for me to comment on some of those things because there are a lot of things that I don't know what goes on in Denver. That's between Josh and his players. It would probably be tough for me to comment on another situation. I think the most important thing is, like I alluded to a little earlier, as a young coach, I think the most important thing is you're trying to put your program in place so that the players, coaches and the rest of the organization is in a position where they can be successful on a day-to-day basis. And however the individual approaches it, that's their prerogative and that's their decision.
Q: You've had a pretty sizeable advantage in time of possession. How important of a statistic is that and is the offense at its best when it's got that advantage?
NC: Well I think the most important thing offensively, is that your whole goal is to score points. However long that takes, however long you have the ball, I think the most important thing is to get the ball in the endzone, whether it's a short drive, whether it's a long drive. In the end, if you score more points than the other club, that's the most important thing. You look back a few weeks ago, with the Miami/Colts game, Miami controlled - I don't know what it was, 80 plays - but they ran a significant number of plays. But in the end the Colts ended up winning the game. I think - in the end - the most important thing is to score the most points, and to be on the winning side of the ledger at the end of the game.
Q: Now with a quarter of the regular-season finished, can you now look to see where this team is?
NC: Well, I think there are some things that we've done well. There have been some things we've come up a little bit short on. I think the most important thing in what we're trying to do offensively is just to establish a consistent level of play on a game-to-game basis and a play-to-play basis. I think some of the shortcomings we've had at times have been self-inflicted. So it's one play here; it's one player there. I think when you look back through the first four games, I think that's the most important we're trying to correct. If we can just eliminate some of those minor mistakes and clean up some of the details, then I think we can go forward, and feel a little bit better about where we're going.
Q: When Josh McDaniels replaced Charlie Weis, he was able to kind of put his stamp on the offense. I know it's only been four game, but between Bill O'Brien and yourself, have you been able to put your own stamp on the offense, or is it still more of what Josh was doing?
NC: Obviously, the system's been in place for really going back to 2001 with Charlie, and I think the offense constantly evolves every year. I think what you have to do is just sort of take a look at your team, and take a look at the different pieces, and see what you have in place. Then, you just figure out on a week-to-week basis and really because we're a game-plan specific team, so really it comes down to: 'OK, for this particular game, what do we feel we need to do? What do we feel gives us the best opportunity to win?' Whatever that is week-to-week, then that's what we'll do. I'd say there are some things that have carried over through the years and I'd say there are some things that have been altered. For the most part, I'd say some of the core concepts have been in place for quite some time now.
Q: Any thoughts on not seeing Joey Galloway out there on Sunday?
NC: Well, we went with four receivers for the game. We felt that was the best way for us to play. Joey [Galloway] had played the weeks before, he's been productive. I think Joey's worked hard since he's been here. He's getting more and more familiar with the system. Any player that is here on our team, we feel they can help us at any given point in time. We went with four receivers this particular week, and that was the decision that we made.