Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, September 29, 2009.
Q: Just from the film you've seen, how much do the Ravens look like the Jets you saw two weeks ago?
NC: Well, I think you are talking about different players. Some things are similar, some things are different. There's a little bit of carry over maybe from some of the things they did with Rex [Ryan]. There have been some differences. In the end, I think we have to prepare this week for the Ravens. Having played the Jets, did that help us? I don't know and - in the end - it's going to come down to us executing better offensively against the looks that they present to us. There are some good players over there on that defensive side of the ball, whether it's the front seven in [Terrell] Suggs and [Haloti] Ngata and [Jarrett] Johnson, [Trevor] Pryce and Ray Lewis, and then at the secondary with Ed Reed, [Dawan] Landry and their corners. I think at each level of their defense they certainly present some problems, so we'll prepare hard this week. We're in the process of going through their first three games in the regular season and their preseason games, and we'll try to put together the game plan that we feel gives us the best opportunity to compete on Sunday.
Q: I was wondering if you could talk about what's special about Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. What makes them go?
NC: Ray plays with such passion and such energy. It really doesn't look like he slowed down all that much. He's around the ball a lot. He runs well. He's instinctive. He makes a lot of plays, and I think Ed Reed is kind of a unique guy. He plays a little cat and mouse with the quarterback. He's so athletic, he's so rangy, that you really can't afford to hang the ball up there in the back half of the field because chances are he's going to come down with it. Or if he doesn't come down with it, then Landry is going to come down with it, or [Fabian] Washington will come down with it, or [Domonique] Foxworth. Those two particular players that you mentioned - Lewis and Reed - they are probably as good as there is in the game today. It looks to me like they haven't really slowed down all that much, even though they're a little bit older.
Q: What has contributed to Myron Pryor playing more than a guy like Ron Brace?
NC: I think each week, everybody gets their opportunity. This week Myron happened to be on the field a little bit more. Myron, like our other young players, has worked hard. He's put himself in a position and I think the way the game was going ... That's probably a good question for Dean [Pees]. But the way the game was going, there might have been a little bit more of a role for Myron. But Myron's worked hard. He's got himself healthy. He's got himself back out on the field. He had some good plays. He had some bad plays. Every player is going to have their opportunity at some point. We can't sit here and say when that's going to exactly be, I think that's up to them. It's their job to be prepared when their number is called, [and] go out there, and perform to the best of their ability.
Q: In thinking back to the draft with Pryor. I know you saw footage of him going up against [Buffalo Bills guard] Eric Wood in one game and I know that caught your eye. What was it about Pryor that you guys liked and what contributed to falling to the sixth round?
NC: Just talking specifically about the things we liked, Mike [Reiss], I think he'd been a productive player against good people in the SEC, or whether it happened to be against Louisville. But whoever he played against - despite being a little bit shorter - he had good playing strength, he understood how to play with leverage. He has quickness, so enabled him to get on the edge, and push the pocket or rush the passer. As far as why he went in the sixth, maybe he was sort of a "tweener." What's his role going to be? I can't exactly figure out why he fell, why he ended up where he was. I think we're glad to have him, and hopefully he will continue to improve, and give us some positive plays when he's on the field.
Q: Do you recall anytime in camp that he stood out and you thought to yourself: "Whoa, if we could always hit with sixth-rounders like this, we'd be doing pretty well?"
NC: Well, I think you draft a player, you sign a player, and in the end their performance will dictate how well they do. Our expectation is that, whomever the player is: they come in, they work hard, they learn the system, and then when the decision is made, they go on the field, then that's when it takes place. Well, there were some signs from Myron that he showed during camp. Obviously, the injury sort of held him back here a little bit, so he missed two or three weeks of camp, which for any young player that's never any good. But he's worked hard. He's put himself in a position to make a contribution, and really that's the hope for most of the people we have on the team, and that's why we ultimately bring him in.
Q: Does it give you a source of pride at all that Myron Pryor was a sixth-round pick and Julian Edelman was a seventh-round pick and they have been contributors?
NC: Well, I think it's just a tribute to those players that they've worked hard. They've come in, they put the time in, and they've made the most of their opportunities. So I think it's more of a tribute to those guys, whether it's those guys, a guy like Terrence Nunn, or whoever it might be. In the end, look, we bring the players in and our expectation is that they'll work hard, they'll understand the system and that they make the most of their opportunities. How it all shakes out in the end - to a degree - that's really out of our control. It's up to the player, but they're the ones that - if they want to make the decision hard for the coaches - their job is to play well, and the job of the coaches is to put them on the field. However that works itself out, then that's how it unfolds.
Q: You brought in five receivers to work out last week. Was that because there was a concern of the depth at that position or just updating your files?
NC: I think that's more of a case of due diligence. Those workouts had been scheduled ahead of time, so I think it's part of the process that you go through during the course of the fall; whether it's to update your records, update the medical information, maybe the player's been out of camp a period of time, or maybe he hasn't been in a camp, so you're trying to get an update on what his physical conditioning level might be. If you do sign a player and put him out there to practice, you know that he's going to be able to make it through. So I would say that was more due diligence than anything else, and it's just part of the process that goes on throughout the course of the league I would say this time of year.
Q: Was the Terdell Sands signing related to Vince Wilfork's injury? Or did you want to add depth at that position and can you also talk about him as a player?
NC: I think that's more of a situation similar to Kendall Simmons - let's say, when we signed him during training camp - who had been out of football a little bit because of the injury. I think [with] Terdell, the mindset was, he's been a productive player, he has good size, he has good playing strengths. So there's an opportunity for us that we felt, here's a guy with experience who's played competitively. He played 400 to 500 snaps last year. I would say those two situations were similar to the standpoint of there's a good football player who's had some production in the league, so we felt there was an opportunity for us to add that particular player to our roster, so we went ahead and made that move. I would say it was separate to anything else that happened [whether] Vince [Wilfork was] in the game, or whatever it may have been.