Pariots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, September 8, 2009.
NC: I think we've got a lot of balls we're juggling here. I think we're excited about Monday. [We've] been busy preparing for Buffalo, juggling the roster, practice squad, a number of those things. There're a lot of different things we're sorting through right now and we're definitely excited about the opportunity for our club and our team to build on what we did in the preseason, so I think that's kind of where we are right now.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the changing complexion of this roster with all the movement, especially in your first year in this position?
NC: There's always a lot of change that takes place, especially this time of the year. In the end, what each club - and just speaking for ourselves - what we try to do is just try to identify those players that we feel give us the best opportunity to win come Monday, in this case against Buffalo. I think there are always a lot of moving parts. There are a lot of decisions that have to be made, some more difficult than others, but you try to construct a 53-man roster and also keep in mind how that's going to work as it relates to the 45-man game day roster. I think it's exciting for every team that's involved because each team and each year is different. Where we are right now is certainly different than where we were last year. I'd say it's exciting. It can be hectic at times, but I think we feel good about where we are heading into the game on Monday and I would say this too - where we are right now, that could change at any point in time because I think it's constantly evolving. There are different players that might become available at different points in time, so part of our responsibility is to evaluate those situations, evaluate those players, and if there is somebody that we feel is a good football player that we feel we can bring on to the club, then we'll go ahead and look at that. I think that Kendall Simmons is probably a pretty good example of that with the move we made here a few days ago.
Q: In your short time here, is the Richard Seymour trade the hardest you've had to do from an emotional standpoint? And can you talk about some background on that?
NC: You know, that's not really a subject that I'm going to get into. I don't have any comment about that. I think we're really focused on Buffalo and still putting together the roster. As a matter of fact, we've made a few practice squad transactions here over the past few days. So between putting together the roster, putting together the practice squad, meeting with the offensive staff and , my involvement with them, I think there're a lot of balls that I'm juggling right now, so that's not a subject that I'm really going to get into today.
Q: But does what happen with Richard Seymour change the way you approach Vince Wilfork and a possible contract extension?
NC: Like I said, I don't really have any comment. I think what we do as an organization, we'll discuss it, but as far as it relates to anyone in particular, I don't really have any comment about that here today.
Q: With the loss of Richard Seymour and him not being here the next two years, have you guys come to some sort of realization that you need to think more about the long term, since you didn't get as many players in the '06 and '07 draft as you normally do?
NC: I think really what we're worried about right now - I'm worried about Buffalo. I think that's where the team's focus is. That's where our focus is and I think the players that we have on the roster right now, we feel comfortable with who's here, so as far as anything longer term, I think that's difficult to comment on. I think we're really worried about the players we have here, the players that are going to get ready to play against Buffalo. I think that's really where most of our attention is focused as we sit here today. Speaking for myself, I would say that is certainly true.
Q: Do you feel that your defense is as good going up against Buffalo without Richard Seymour?
NC: I think we have good players on this football team. I think we realize there are definitely challenges that we face that the Buffalo Bills offense provides. This is the first year kind of this no huddle, up-tempo style. They've been productive during the preseason, so I mean we certainly have our hands full preparing for them offensively. But having said that, we feel good about where the club is, where we are. I know that coach Pees can probably speak a little more as it relates to the defense, but I just think where we are as far as heading into the game against Buffalo, we're going to prepare the best we can. We're going to prepare our players the best we can and we're going to put ourselves in the position to hopefully go out there Monday night and be successful, and hopefully we end up on the right side of the ledger.
Q: How pleased are you with the progress of Ron Brace and Myron Pryor?
NC: Those are two young players that have come in here. Ron has probably been out there a little bit more than Myron has. I think they've come into the program, like most of our young players, and they've worked hard. I think there's obviously a learning curve associated with some of the younger players, but I think they have worked hard. They've put themselves in a position where I think they have an understanding of some of the things we're going defensively. They have some experience in the preseason, so I think they're moving in the right direction, as are guys like Julian Edelman or some of our other younger players. They wouldn't be on our roster if we didn't feel good about the progress and the direction that they're headed. How that all shakes out moving forward, we'll have to wait and see.
Q: Is there a player on the defensive line that can do the five techniques as well as Richard Seymour?
NC: I think if you look at our defensive front, I think Dean [Pees] is probably the one that can comment a little more about the defensive line and who's doing what. I'm not in those defensive game plan meetings. But I think we have versatile players who can do a little bit of everything. That's probably a question you can direct to Dean because it relates a little bit more to the defense in terms of their approach and what we're doing this week.
Q: You signed a guy from the Cowboys who has played quarterback and receiver. Is he your 3rd string quarterback right now and are you happy with where the quarterback situation is behind Tom Brady?
NC: Speaking about Isaiah [Stanback] first - right now he's the third quarterback that's on the roster. We just signed him here [yesterday], even though he's on the practice squad. Isaiah is a player that when he was coming out of college a few years ago out of Washington, we felt that he could actually play the position. Now, since he's been with the Cowboys he's played receiver, he's done a number of other different things, but we liked the things that he did coming out of college, so our thought process is to work with him at the quarterback position and see how that progresses. As far as it relates to the other two players that are on the roster, obviously with Brady we kind of know what we have there. I think [Brian] Hoyer is somebody that, being around him on a day-to-day basis, he's worked hard, he's smart, he understands the system, he makes quick decisions. I think he has a grasp of some of the things we're trying to do offensively. I think it was good to see him in live situations in the preseason just to see how he handled some of those situations. Obviously, I think he handled them fairly well and we feel comfortable with where we are with him and where we are with the position as it currently stands here today.
Q: You guys gave up draft picks for Greg Lewis and Alex Smith and presumably did your homework on them, so what happened here that they didn't work out?
NC: It's unfortunate. I think those are two players that we liked and obviously we traded for them. Both players worked hard, and I could probably speak a little bit more directly to Greg, having worked with him a little bit more on a day-to-day basis. Those decisions are difficult to make and in the end, we have to make decisions that we feel are best for our club and that give us the best chance to win on game day. I think there are some moving parts as it relates to the different roles that some of the different players may play, so those are tough decision. I think we liked both players; it's just unfortunate that we didn't really have a spot for them right now.
Q: Do you feel like you misjudged them then when you acquired them initially? You said you liked them and they worked hard...
NC: I think it's difficult because both of those players we feel could help us. But like I said - and I talked about this a little bit earlier - when you put together your 53-man roster, you sort of have to look at the different roles that they play, whether it relates to their role on offense, whether it relates to their role on defense, whether it relates to their role in the kicking game. Some players might have a little bit more versatility as it relates to the total construct of the roster, so you have to factor that into the equation. It's unfortunate that it did not work out and we have to move forward and that's all we can really do.
Q: Do you think a guy like Sam Aiken can play maybe more receiver than you thought he would?
NC: I think Sam...obviously, he's a versatile player. He has good skills. I think he showed the other night in the Giants game some of the different things he can do as a receiver. He's a versatile guy. He has a role on the team obviously on special teams. He has a role on the team offensively. We're confident in what Sam can do, so that's where we are with him.