Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, October 11, 2010.
Q: Nick, you guys spend obviously a lot of the offseason and through the camp preparing for an offense with Randy Moss. How do you go about game planning now without him? Do you go back and use old plays for instance? How does that manifest itself?
NC: Really our approach won't change offensively. We're a game plan team, so we put in a game plan week to week based on the opponent. We'll put the players in the position that we feel are best and try to maximize what we do offensively relative to what the defense does. So we'll go about this week like we normally do from an offensive perspective and try to prepare ourselves for a good defense that we're going to face on Sunday.
Q: Do the actual plays change? Or does just the game plan change?
NC: The offense isn't going to change. What we put in in the spring, what we worked on through training camp. We're not all of a sudden going to go back and make up new plays. We have a foundation that's in place. We've installed an offensive system. So like we do any week, week to week we look at the team. We figure out, 'Okay, this play works against this coverage. This play works in this situation.' So from our perspective, nothing is going to change from a game plan standpoint in terms of how we go about it.
Q: Nick, how much time did you spend over the off weekend watching the rest of the league and catching up on some of the general things that are happening around the NFL?
NC: Did a little bit of everything. Had a chance to catch up on some college games over the weekend, which was good to see some of those players. Had a chance to see some of the games yesterday as well. It looks like every week you have to be prepared regardless of who the opponent is. It's such a competitive league. Games are going to come down to x amount of plays. Whether it's in the Raiders game, a couple blocked kicks ended up being turned into points. Turnovers or penalties. There's always five or six critical plays in every game that are going to make the difference. It looks like it's going to be competitive for the duration of the year. Our perspective is to take it one week at a time because you really can't afford to look beyond that because the league is too competitive. There are too many good teams. So you have to make sure that you maximize your opportunities and maximize your chances on each Sunday. And this week, it's the Ravens.
Q: Is it a little odd watching Raiders games? Do you always check and see how they did considering your first round draft pick is dependent on their performance?
NC: We just watch every game to see if there are certain plays that show up, whether it's the Seattle game, whether it's the Philadelphia-San Francisco game, whatever it is. You're just watching a game. You're watching the league. Whatever game those plays happen to show up in, that's what you're looking for.
Q: How do you see this offense evolving or changing without Randy Moss?
NC: There are going to be other players that are going to be given opportunities. Like we do every week, certain players are maybe going to make more plays than others. We have a lot of confidence in the players that we have on this team offensively. There is a lot of time that's been put in through the spring, through the camps, through the preseason into the regular season. Our players, we expect them to show up to work hard, to prepare each week, and to go out there and to play to the best of their abilities. Hopefully our players will do that and the outcome will be positive.
Q: There have been some reports about your potential conversation about Vincent Jackson? Others about maybe bringing Deion Branch back? Where do those conversations stand? Are you guys looking for another receiver at this point given Moss is no longer here?
NC: I would say conversations that we have about players, we keep internally. I would say they are continually ongoing. We look at a lot of players this time of the year whether it's players that are on the street, whoever's available. Whatever means and whatever mechanism that there is that we feel to improve our football team, we'll explore. That's how we approach it. I would say, what we're doing today is no different than what we do at any point during the year. And any talks with any players, we keep everything internal.
Q: Is Taylor Price ready to step in and be active now?
NC: We'll see. He's making some progress. We like Taylor. He's got a good skill set. He's big, he's physical, he has good hands. There's certain things at the position that I think he's continuing to learn. There's a lot more components that come into play for him. Number one because he's a rookie. Number two, the offense that we are using is a little bit different than he used in college. I think he's moving in the right direction. We'll start practicing here on Tuesday. And every day, every player is judged on their performance, and then we'll make the decisions come game time with the roster, with the 45-man roster on which players we feel give us the best chance to win. I think he's worked hard, he's moving in the right direction. How it all shakes out here moving forward, we'll just have to wait and see.
Q: In terms of another situation, I'm curious if the bye week offered any movement with Logan Mankins and his situation. Has anything changed there?
NC: There's nothing to update on that front.
Q: I'm curious if you've heard from anyone else around the league with your haul of draft picks for next year, the multiple picks in the first, second, third and fourth rounds. Not necessarily heard from them about trading those picks, but maybe the envy the league as you sit there with that haul next year in the draft?
NC: I don't think we're really too worried about that at this point. Our focus is on the season. Once the season is over, we'll address the draft and prepare for that accordingly. We haven't received any calls as of yet. Everybody is worried about their own team, and just preparing for their game each week.
Q: What has impressed you most on Aaron Hernandez?
NC: He's a good player. He's athletic. He's versatile. He's got good toughness. He has good football instincts. Even at Florida, they moved him around quite a bit, asked him to do a few different things. He's been able to learn at a good pace along with [Rob] Gronkowski as well. And then flipping over defensively, [Devin] McCourty and those guys, they've seem to pick up some things quickly. Hernandez is versatile. He's smart. He understands concepts, what you're trying to do in the passing game. He's made some plays. Hopefully that will continue moving forward. I think the most important thing now is just the overall consistency on a week to week basis, individually and then collectively as a unit. Speaking offensively, hopefully that will continue here for the rest of the season.