Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, October 13, 2009.
Q: I'm curious what your thoughts were on Chris Johnson coming out of the draft. I think some people were surprised when he went in the first round, but I'm curious how you evaluated him and what you saw coming out.
NC: He was an explosive player coming out of college. You could see the speed. I know he ran well at the combine and he plays fast on tape. He was good with ball in his hands. He had good quickness. He was good in the passing game as well. I think the question was, 'as a two-hundred pounder, how well would he be able to hold up?' In the first two years, he's proved that he has been able to handle the load. They split the carries to a degree between he and LenDale White, but he was an explosive player. I think he had, if I remember correctly, there was some injury - not necessarily concerns but something that popped up. But, he was good with the ball in his hands and a lot of the things you're seeing now really showed up on tape at East Carolina.
Q: How different is the next week with the trade deadline? Is there more discussion for you over the next week or is it a date that sort of passes by because you don't see a lot of deals?
NC: I think it depends. I think each club looks at its own individual situation and makes a determination whether or not there's something available. The reality is, unless you talk to clubs and see who's available, it's hard to transact a lot of business. So, I would say the discussions this time of year maybe aren't as high as maybe during the preseason as you get closer to the cut line. I think if there's any opportunity your team has to improve the roster, then you'll go ahead and investigate that. But the reality is you sort of have to have a partner on the other side in order for a transaction to take place. So, I would say the discussions are fairly normal this time of the year. Obviously, it's a date everyone's aware of and each team I'm sure has their own approach and philosophy with how they deal with it.
Q: Will you discuss the signing of Junior Seau that Versus has now announced and how you ended up with him and where you think he will contribute?
NC: We haven't announced anything as of yet. Really the only thing we've done with Junior is we gave him a physical and we worked him out last week. So from our end, that's really all we have to announce.
Q: Speaking specifically only of that physical and what you have seen, did he [Junior Seau] look like himself and what did you see?
NC: Well I think Junior keeps himself in good shape. There're a lot of players in his situation whether it's Junior, whether it's Antwan Lake - who we had worked out earlier in the year - or some other veterans who have been out of the league. The reality is, we're just trying to see where the player's level of physical conditioning may be and whether he's in good enough shape to make it through a practice or whatever it might be. So, he looked like he's kept himself in shape and that's where we were. We wanted to make sure more than anything from a physical standpoint, with the medical information that he was healthy.
Q: Can you clarify when he took the physical and when he worked out?
NC: I think it was last week, or a week ago. I don't remember the date of the top of my head, but it was a week or two ago, I believe.
Q: One of the things that Brady talked about yesterday was the offense not being in sync and him still battling to be on the same page with - whether it's [Wes] Welker on the third down or whatever it is. Was there something in your guys' mind where you said, 'we'd like Brady to be this far along after five games' or do you guys think that it might take some time for him to get back into it?
NC: I think when you look at any player, you're looking to see if there's improvement on a day-to-day basis. Whether that's - and there's a number of opportunities for players to improve - in passing camps and training camp and once you get into the regular season. So, I think in the end, you want the players to play to the best of their ability. It's hard to put a timetable on anything and say, 'By this date, you expect this.' The hope is that you go out each week and prepare and prepare well enough so that when you go into the game everybody can execute as a group. There were some things offensively that were good and there were some other things that we certainly can improve upon. But the reality is, I think there were a fair amount of good plays and we also had some bad plays and they came at some inopportune times. So in the end, you're just looking collectively at the group for execution and for that execution to continue to improve from a week-to-week and a game-to-game basis.
Q: Was there anything if you could do it over again that you would redo in the game plan in the second half? Or is that more execution than game plan?
NC: I'd say it was more execution. There were plays to be had. It's a matter of one player doing his assignment. The reality is that if all eleven are not functioning as a group, if there's one breakdown, it can have an impact on the larger whole. I think there were plays to be made. We had opportunities and we didn't make them. Really, the hope is that we can improve the execution so that when that situation does arise again this week, next week, or whenever it might be, that if we're in a similar situation, that we can go out and make sure the play is executed properly in the way that we want it to be done.