Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, October 26, 2010.
Q: What did you see out of Sergio Brown coming out of Notre Dame that made him a desirable player to sign as a free agent?
NC: He's a big guy. He's got good size. He had good straight along speed. He's a good tackler. He played safety at one point and then he ended up playing a lot of the slot position or the nickel position. So there was a little bit of position flexibility and versatility. And then he'd played in the kicking game as well, so I think there were some attributes that we liked that we saw on tape that we thought he'd be a player that we might want to work with moving forward. We didn't draft him, but we did sign him as a free agent. And then he made the most of his opportunities to this point. Hopefully, he will continue to improve each week. The most important thing is to improve and prepare for that opponent. He had some opportunities last week where he made the most of those. And now, it's a new week. Hopefully, the improvement will continue on his end.
Q: Darnell Jenkins is now making I think about 250,000, which is a lot for a practice squad guy. Any competition for him all throughout the season?
NC: I think any decisions that we make about players, we'll keep that internal. Jenkins is a player that we like. He came in last year, I want to say midway through the year toward the latter parts of the season, and he performed real well in practice. He gives our defense fits. He worked hard in the offseason program. He's improved. And that translated over into the preseason into training camp. We're happy to have Darnell, too. We're happy to be working with him. Like Bill [Belichick] has alluded to at different points, everybody that's on the roster, at some point could be getting an opportunity. And the most important thing for the players is to prepare themselves and be ready. We're happy with Darnell. We're happy that he's here. And we'll be happy to continue working with him.
Q: As far as the offense goes, obviously it was a struggle especially in the first half. Were guys open? When you looked back at the film, did you see receivers open that weren't being hit? Or where did it break down?
NC: I think it was just a combination of things. That's a good defense that we played against. They're the top rated defense in the NFL. We had our opportunities. There were times that we were able to capitalize [on] them, and sometimes where we didn't. In the second half, we were able to get into a little bit better rhythm, move the ball a little bit and have a little bit more success, have the 17-play drive, had a 9-play drive there in the second half. I think the most important thing is just to continue to play it one play at a time. Some plays are better than others. But the more plays that we can string together, the better off the offense is going to be. I think we need to play better. We need to coach it better. That's where practice comes into play. Hopefully, we have a good week of practice for the new opponent. A little bit different defensive scheme. Now we're going to play against a little bit more of a four down team now it seems. We've played a lot of these 3-4 teams here over the past however many weeks. So this will be a little bit different challenge for us against a good defense. We really have to do our homework and prepare. They've got a lot of good players on that side of the ball. So we certainly have a lot to prepare for this week. Hopefully we go out there and execute on Sunday and put points on the board because in the end, that's the job of the offense, to put points on the board.
Q: Do we have any movement on the Logan Mankins front?
NC: Nope, nothing to report on that front.
Q: Last week you must have been impressed after the call when you gave us a hint on the practice squad guy. We snuffed it out pretty quick. You've got that spot open again. Any movement there?
NC: Yeah, you guys were all over that. We're actually in the process. It's a little bit further away than where we were last week. We still have some moving parts. If all goes to process by tomorrow we'll have someone. It's not real clear-cut at this point. There are still some moving parts, but we should have someone by Wednesday. If not tomorrow, then we'll have somebody by Thursday.
Q: You guys have not had a practice squad quarterback for a couple days. Has Brian Hoyer thrown a lot more than he did last year? Can that help, or does it hurt not being able to work with the actual Patriots offense?
NC: I think any reps that the players get in practice are good, even when guys are on the scout team. Even there you're servicing the defense. Even though it's an opponent concept, you try to treat the play as if you're running the play from the offensive perspective, so he can still go through his progressions, he can still go through the protection calls, he can still make the mic identifications, any route adjustments that there might be. There's a certain degree of flexibility that's involved, and there's also opportunities in practice, whether it's in the two-minute drill, or his reps with the offensive unit. Brian gets a number of reps during the week, and I think as long he's throwing the football, working on his mechanics, working on his fundamentals, those don't change day-to-day or week-to-week. Brian's a smart player. He absorbs a lot of information during the week. He understands what we're doing offensively, and he's prepared to play just like any other player at any other position. He maximizes the reps and when he gets in practice he gives the defense a pretty good look when he's mimicking the opposing team's quarterback. Brian does a good job in a lot of different areas for us.
Q: When you're considering making a trade, has there ever been a time where you've stopped because you were going to face that team later in the season whether it's a divisional opponent, or Randy Moss this week?
NC: I think there are always a lot of factors when you make a decision as it relates to the team, and in the end our decisions are based on what we feel is best for the football team at that given point in time. That's how we approach it, and I'd say that's going to be consistent today, tomorrow, next month, moving forward. Whatever we feel is best for the football team, then that's what we'll do, and then we'll move forward.