Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, December 14, 2010.
Q: How long have you guys been looking at Eric Moore? Did you come close to signing him before he went to the UFL?
NC: He was somebody that you talk about during the preseason scouting process and some of those players on other clubs that you evaluate who may or may not make the roster. I would say he fell into that category. He was a player that our department had done work on along with a number of other players. He was productive during the preseason for Carolina. He didn't make their roster. We actually visited him in September - I want to say the first week of September - he just didn't happen to work out at that time. And then he went ahead and took the initiative and wanted to keep on playing. He went down to the UFL and played for the Florida team. And then when their season was over, we were able to get some things worked out, brought him back in, worked him out, and then we made a decision to sign him to the roster a few weeks ago.
Q: When you look at him now, do you see him more as a pure defensive end type or do you think he could stand up and play outside in a 3-4?
NC: I think the thing that he did well [was] he had some pass rush ability. He's played primarily in his career as a 4-3 defensive end. He's got good size. He's 6' 4", 260 pounds. He's got good playing strength. There are some things that he does well. As a coaching staff, we'll just decide on a week-to-week basis where he fits best. He played on the edge there a little bit the other night in Chicago. He played a two-point stance, and there were times where he would line up over the guard. Matter of fact, his sack I believe came over [Roberto] Garza when he rushed on his edge. We'll go through practice on a week-to-week basis and just figure out based on the game plan, based on the opponent where he fits best, whether it's him or any other player. I think there are some qualities that we like, and that's the reason that he's here and hopefully, he can continue to improve and help our team and make a contribution moving forward.
Q: It sounds like you had him on your radar prior to him going to the UFL. How much did his playing in the UFL play into your decision to bring him in?
NC: There are different players. There are different stages. As a matter of fact, when we bring players in during the fall, you'd be surprised there are some players that even though they're not on the roster, maybe they haven't been with a team since training camp, they come in and they're actually in pretty good shape. A lot of players, they work hard [in] whatever program that they have, what they feel is best for them. The fact that he had continued playing obviously in game conditions and game situations, I'd say there are certainly some positives there. But the reality is with any player, if they're in shape, then you get them here, we'll teach them the techniques and the things they need to be successful on a week-to-week basis. I think it says a lot about the kid, and he wanted to work, he wanted to continue to play. He made the most of his opportunities down there. To this point, it's only been one game, but he's made the most of his opportunities here. Things change in a hurry on a week-to-week basis, so it's all about how you perform on any given Sunday.
Q: Was the 2010 draft real crucial for you given some of the needs you had?
NC: Every year you take the same approach in the offseason. You sort of take inventory of where your team is at that point in time, coming off the most recent season. In the end, we just try to put together the best team that we possibly can. And you go through a process, a pretty integrate, a pretty detailed process. You start with your own team and then the pool of players, obviously they come from a number of different of areas. Our goal is to find players that we feel can help our team win. Whatever position those players play then so be it. I don't think our philosophy changes on a year-to-year basis. I think the approach is the same and the process is the same. And you go through and you pick the players in the end that you feel can help your club, regardless of the position that they play. It's early. I think some of those players have made some contributions, but I think the most important thing is just the consistency moving forward and the improvement moving forward because what you don't want to see is a player [who] comes in and he maybe performs at a certain level and [then] maybe he declines for whatever reason. You want to continue to see improvement moving forward. We're happy with the players that are on our team. That's why they're here. We'll approach the offseason and the draft like we do any other year.
Q: Speaking of the NFL draft, how close were you to taking Clay Matthews? How much do you agonize over that decision to make the trades?
NC: Clay's a good football player. If you go back and actually look at that USC defense, there are a lot of good football players on that team. They had [Brian] Cushing. They had [Ray] Maualuga. They had Matthews. They had [Kaluka] Maiava who the Browns had taken. I think the Packers are happy that they have Matthews. And we're certainly happy with the players that are on our team.
Q: Some players thrive in some systems, but might not in other systems. Would Clay Matthews be doing the same thing in the Patriots system as he is with the Packers?
NC: There are certain things that are probably similar in terms of playing on the edge of the line of scrimmage. He plays primarily from a two-point stance. Even when he rushes, he plays from a two-point stance. I would say the things he's doing for the Packers, I would say there are probably some things that he would do if he were on this team. He's a good football player. I think if you line him up in any system, he's going to be a good football player whether it's our team, the Packers [or] any other team in the NFL. He has a lot of good qualities. He's tough; he's physical. He runs well. He's athletic. He plays on his feet and he's been a good player. We'll have to block him. We have to block a lot of good players every week. We had to block [Julius] Peppers last week. We have to block Cameron Wake. There are a lot of good football players that we have to block on a week-to-week basis, and I would put him into the mix certainly.
Q: Is Chevis Jackson a guy that you had seen for a while or how do you view his contribution? How do you view his signing?
NC: Chevis is a player that we scouted coming out of LSU. We actually went down there and spent some time with him and worked him out there in that process. He played a lot of football for Atlanta and Thomas Dimitroff. [He] played quite a bit actually as a rookie. He has a little bit of position versatility. He's played on the perimeter. He played the star for Atlanta when he was there. He's got good size. He's a pretty instinctive player. He's got good ball skills. He tackles. He's got size and his instincts and position versatility. He's here, and he'll go through the process this week. We'll make a decision by the end of the week what players we feel give us the best chance to win. He's a smart football player. He's been productive in the league, [and] he's had some experience. So, we're happy that he's here and we'll see how he does moving forward.
Q: What stands out to you about Matt Flynn from when you evaluated him coming out of the 2008 draft and what he's done to this point?
NC: He played quite a bit his senior year. He was an athletic guy. He moved around well. He's a baseball player, so he's athletic. I wouldn't say he's as athletic as Aaron Rodgers, but he moves well. He can throw outside of the pocket. He was a good leader for their team, made good decisions with the football, was fairly accurate with it. I think they drafted both he and Brian Brohm at that time in that same year. He ended up sticking as a backup quarterback. They have a lot of confidence in him. They put him in there when Aaron [Rodgers] went down. He played well in the second half. They moved the ball. They turned the ball over there at different times. He's a good leader. He's athletic. He's got some qualities that you look for in a quarterback. He played well in the preseason when he was given his opportunities. We'll prepare for both of them this week and we'll see on Sunday who is out there playing.
Q: Any roster moves today that we can be expecting?
NC: Not quite at this point. I think we've got a couple things to iron out, but we might have something for you later on today or possibly in the morning. We're still going through a few things at this point.