Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, November 16, 2010.
Q: Last week, we were talking about the kicker a little bit, and then Shayne Graham comes in and makes two field goals and misses an extra point. Does the missed extra point speak to anything or are you happy with his performance?
NC: I think Shayne came in last week, had a good week of practice. It's been a while since he's been with a club. He'd obviously been in training camp, but there was a little bit of a gap there in terms of him being with a team, so there's an element of timing, working with the holder, working with the snapper that comes into play. He came in, he, Matt [Katula] and Zoltan [Mesko], they worked well together during the week. He went out there and he did a pretty good job. Pittsburgh's not the easiest place to kick. All things considered, he handled everything fairly well. I think the most important thing just like any position is you hope there is improvement moving forward, so he'll have another week of practice to get ready and kick in our stadium. There might be some different elements that are in play, but I think he's off to a decent start to this point.
Q: Specific to Jerry Hughes, the Colts defensive end, when you guys were scouting him, what was the projection in terms of how he would fit as an outside linebacker in the Patriots system?
NC: With those players, those defensive ends in college, you just have to figure out the position where they best fit. Hughes was a guy, he played primarily on the left side of the defense, so he was across from the right tackle most of the time. He was athletic, he had good speed, he is a little bit under sized maybe relative to some other outside linebacker types, defensive end types. But I think he sort of fits from a Colts perspective. You look at [Robert] Mathis and [Dwight] Freeney just in terms of the prototype or the type of player that they look for, which is the case with most of those edge players. For 4-3 teams, they're going to play defensive end. And just 3-4 teams just have to figure out whether they can actually play outside linebacker and do the things that position requires. Similar to what we really saw last week with [James] Harrison and [LaMarr] Woodley, who are another example, they're a little bit undersized relative to some of the other outside linebackers, but they play it equally as effective as anybody in the league. I think there were some things that you could see him do. I don't think there was a question whether or not he could play outside linebacker. I think until you actually have that player in your program, and they start working in the system and seeing what they can handle, then you see how good of a fit it really is. I think he had some things at the position that we look for along with some other guys. Jermaine [Cunningham] was in that category as well along with a number of other players at that position.
Q: Kind of like you guys, the Colts have success for a ton of years in a row. When you look at how they've built themselves as a franchise, are there any similarities, aside for the quarterback, to how you guys have done it?
NC: I think we're two different teams just in terms of structurally how they put their team together. Some of the players that fit our team really don't fit their team and vice versa. I think in the end you just have to identify whatever your philosophy is, whatever you believe in, whatever types of players fit your system, and you have to go out and find them accordingly, which they've done a great job of that through the years. There's no question about it. I think you've had a lot of stability. Bill Polian is one of the most respected personnel men in the business. And he's been at it a long time. They get good football players. I think this year's a good example for them as well. Like a lot of teams, they've had a lot of guys that have been injured and it's sort of next-man-step-up philosophy. And they've been able to keep pace with the rest of the league. They have a lot of good players, some of the top players really at their position when you look at the quarterback, when you look at the receiver, when you look at Dallas Clark when he's healthy, [Dwight] Freeney and [Robert] Mathis. I think there are different ways to go about it. What they've done is been successful. How we go about it, our philosophy is what we feel is best for us and it's different. I think they're examples that you can have success doing multiple ways. And we've been fortunate that it's worked for ourselves to this point.
Q: Can you make a comparison with Mike Wright to another defensive lineman? He's an interesting guy in that his role changes from week to week.
NC: He's really kind of a unique player. He's got good playing strengths. He's got good quickness. He's athletic. He presents some problems on the interior because of his quickness, so he's kind of a unique player. It's hard to necessarily pinpoint one particular player and say he's similar. I think the other thing is Mike works really hard at his craft since he's been here, really since day one. He's tough, he's athletic, he probably runs as well as anybody for somebody his size in the league. He's got a combination of strength and quickness that presents problems on the interior when he moves inside. I guess another player that we had like that you can probably use is Jarvis [Green], in terms of they play defensive end in base defense, but then they move around a little bit in sub or at times you might find them on the nose. So I'd say Jarvis is probably an example of the type of player that we've had here that in some respects is similar to Mike.
Q: On the other end of the spectrum, Darius Butler. How long do you take to decide what you have? For a guy who was starter for the first couple of games, is there still a belief that he can be the player you thought he could be a couple of months ago.
NC: Yeah, Darius has played a lot of football for us this year and last year. He's got a good skill set for his position. It's a week-to-week thing. Certain players are going to be active for the game, and it's a week-to-week thing. The most important thing is to come in and work hard to prepare for the game. We like Darius. He's on the team. Anybody that's in our program we believe in and have faith in. The reality is you only have X amount of players that you can bring to the game, so I think when Darius is called upon and he is given the opportunity, the most important thing for him is to be prepared. We're happy that we have Darius and that he's here and we're going to continue working with him.
Q: Any roster moves today that we can expect?
NC: No, unfortunately we've got a full practice squad. Right now, we're moving forward. This is probably a little bit different week relative to the past few weeks. Nothing to report here today, but as anything, things can change on a day-to-day basis, so we'll take it as it comes.