Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio addresses the media during his conference call at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, September 21, 2010.
NC: I just want to send along our condolences to Josh [McDaniels] and the entire Broncos organization over the loss of Kenny McKinley. I'm sure it's not an easy time, an easy day for them, but our thoughts and prayers are definitely with Josh. It just puts everything in perspective when something like that happens. At a different time in the year we went through something similar, but our thoughts and prayers are definitely with Josh as they deal with this situation.
Q: Have you gotten a gage on how they are handling this situation as an organization and a coaching staff?
NC: I have not. The extent of it has really just been a message to this point. However they're going to deal with it, I'm sure that they'll figure it out. And they know that we're here to provide support, and if there's any questions. Josh is a real smart individual, and there are a lot of smart people out there, so I'm sure they'll do what's best for their club in terms of handling that delicate situation.
Q: What did you see from Danny Woodhead that made him a guy you wanted to sign?
NC: Each of the past two preseasons he's been productive when he's been on the field. He's played multiple positions. He's short, but I wouldn't say that he's necessarily small, if that makes sense. He's a shorter, stockier type build. He's good with the ball in his hands. He's got good quickness. So there are some things that he did as a player that we liked. That's why we signed him, and we'll see what he looks like once he's here. We'll start working with him here this week, and see what sort of progress that we make. He's a really productive player, albeit at a small level of competition, but his production was astronomical. And typically with smaller school players you like to see them produce at a very high level, and he did that at Chadron State.
Q: Has he done much pass blocking and pass protection as a running back in his pro career?
NC: A little bit. Last year the Jets used him at different points during the season out of the backfield, so he ran routes from the backfield, he pass protected to a degree, they handed him the ball during the preseason, so he's carried the ball. He was a running back in college, so he's done a little bit of that to this point. We'll see what he can handle, and see what he can do and then put him in the best position that we feel is best for the club.
Q: How attractive was position flexibility with him? How much does he bring on special teams?
NC: I think all those really factor into it. I think with any player, the more things they can do, that's certainly going to enhance their ability to make a contribution. As an offensive player there's a certain role, and then whatever you can do in the kicking game that, obviously brings another element to the table as well. In the end we're looking for players that are versatile, that can do multiple things, and really your expectations are that they can do 'A,' but you really don't know how much they're going to be able to handle until they get here, so we'll get him in the mix and see how it goes.
Q: Was he active in the kicking game with the Jets?
NC: Yeah, he's been used a little bit. We'll put him in here, he'll practice, just like we do with every player, and we'll make the decision like we do week-to-week about who's going to play and who's going to be at the game.
Q: What have the past 24 hours been like for you in trying to deal with the Kevin Faulk situation?
NC: I think its business as usual. I think anytime you come off the game on Sunday you go back, you look at the game, you look at the performance of the team, you sort of take inventory of where you are, how you came out as a team, who's healthy, what you might be dealing with, and it's really just day-to-day and then you're on to preparing for the next opponent. So, in addition to that, teams go through and they do workouts during the course of the year to try to keep yourself ready with your short list or emergency list or what have you. I'd say that yesterday and today haven't been any different than they were the previous week or any other regular season game for that matter. You move forward, you prepare for the next week, you prepare for the next opponent, and you deal with the players that you have on the team that are healthy and are ready to go. When the players that are injured, or whatever their situation may be when they're healthy, when they're out there then they're ready to go, you deal with that accordingly. I wouldn't say that it's really been any different than any other week.
Q: In the draft process, did you guys look at CJ Spiller?
NC: We did our due diligence on CJ [Spiller]. The draft, you never really know how it's going to shake out, so you want to make sure that you're prepared and that you do your homework. But there's no question he was a productive player, not only as a running back, but as a returner. They used him on kick off returns; he did punt returns as well. He was a multi-purpose back. He caught the ball well. You do your homework, you do your due diligence on the player because you never really know what draft day is going to bring. He was an explosive player, was an exciting player at Clemson, and he showed that at different points during the preseason. Maybe not as much in the regular season to this point, but when he has the ball in his hands he's hard to tackle and he's good in space.
Q: What was the thinking behind trading Laurence Maroney?
NC: I think there are a lot of factors that always go into decisions that we make. I think Bill [Belichick] alluded to this last week. We made a decision to move on, and we felt that was the best thing to do for the club at that point. And that decision is no different than any other decision that we make with respect to a player. That's the decision that we made. We're moving forward. Laurence [Maroney] is moving forward. And that's where we are.
Q: Does that indicate that you believe BenJarvus Green-Ellis will have equal production as Maroney?
NC: I think the reason we made the move is because we felt it was the best thing for the club, and that we're comfortable with the players that we have on the team moving forward. If that changes then we'll adjust accordingly, but where we are now we feel good and comfortable about the players that are on this team currently.
Q: How rare are players with Kevin Faulk's skill set in terms of picking up blitzing and pass protecting?
NC: He's a unique player. There's no question about it. Blitz pick up, there's a lot that goes into it. It's not just line up in the backfield and you block this guy. You change the protections. There's a lot of components and multiples that go into it, so there's a protection component, and then let's say your blitz pick does not come, then you're into the route; understanding coverages, etc. He's proven year-in and year-out how valuable of a player that he is, and nobody respects Kevin Faulk more than our team and our club, and myself included. He's a unique guy. [Brian] Westbrook is probably another guy that's similar in that respect. But there are a lot of factors that go into playing that position, with blitz pick up being just as important really as carrying the ball, or catching the ball for that matter.